Cocktail trends

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Drink to Dethrone the Espresso Martini

Will this Drink Dethrone the Espresso Martini?

by David Klemt

A coffee cocktail sitting on top of a bar

If we’re to take what industry pundits and cocktail aficionados are saying, 2024 may be the year that the Espresso Martini falls from grace.

Alright, that may be a bit dramatic. However, maybe we won’t read about how the Espresso Martini is having yet another “moment” this year.

Instead, it’s possible that 2024 will be the Year of the Carajillo.

This incredibly simple cocktail is receiving as muchif not morehype than the Negroni Sbagliato did in 2022. Only this time, bartenders may not roll their eyes whenever they hear someone mention it.

Before I dive into the Carajillo, a bit of clarification. I’m not anti-Espresso Martini. It isn’t like I think I’m above enjoying one of these not-Martinis from time to time. And I’m sure it makes registers ring plenty at bars around the world.

However, it seems like we’re told we’re in the midst of the Espresso Martini’s latest moment every time fall or winter comes around. Look, this is a modern classic that has been around for decades. It’s not “having a moment,” it has simply reached ubiquity.

So, the idea that a perhaps lesser-known coffee cocktail can have its moment this year is exciting. (And a bit of a relief.)

Let’s cannonball into the Carajillo!

Not So Simple

When you do a cursory search for the Carajillo you’ll encounter quite a few absolutes.

For example, there are people who say the drink only and always consists of hot espresso and Licor 43. You may read that the ratio is always one to one.

However, there’s more nuance surrounding the Carajillo.

This deceptively simple cocktail comes to us from Spain. From what I can find, it’s often a cold drink that varies from country to country, region to region. In Spain, it’s commonly coffee and brandy in a two-to-one ratio. Order one in Cuba and it will likely be a rum cocktail rather than brandy. In Mexico, while Licor 43 is said to be the standard, it’s not uncommon for mezcal or a coffee liqueur to accompany the coffee.

Now, as I’ve said, you’ll come across sources that say a Mexican Carajillo is espresso and Licor 43. So, let’s go with that recipe for now.

It’s a simple build: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add two ounces of hot espresso or other hot coffee and two ounces of Licor 43. Shake until well chilled, then strain into a rocks glass. The shake should form a foamy head. Some people garnish with three coffee beans.

Make it Yours

Of course, there’s room to play with this recipe. You and bar team can change the ratio, change the garnish, experiment with glassware, replace the Licor 43 with another liqueur, add an ingredient…

As an example of the latter suggestion, Cazadores produces a coffee liqueur, Cazadores Café. This can replace Licor 43 or work alongside it.

Just know that if you replace the original liqueur, you’re missing out on a blend of 43 botanicals. That means your Carajillo will taste much different than the standard Mexican build. In that case, is it still a Carajillo?

Well, that’s up to your guests to decide, I suppose.

There are bars that make their Carajillo with cream, brandy, and Licor 43. Some serve theirs with a small bowl of sugar so guests can sweeten them to their liking.

At some bars, the build calls for heating the liqueur or base spirit with lemon and sugar. Others make Carajillos with mint and amaro.

So, you and your bartenders can do what has been done with the Espresso Martini: Alter the Carajillo to create your signature version. You can also simply serve the traditional build.

Or, and this is my recommendation, you can serve traditional Carajillos and offer one or more signature variations.

Cheers!

Image: Jeppe Mønster on Unsplash

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af&co. x Carbonate: 2024 Trends to Watch

af&co. x Carbonate: 2024 Trends to Watch

by David Klemt

Paddle and ball on pickleball court

Marketing and creative agencies af&co. and Carbonate Group‘s 16th annual Hospitality Trends Report provides in-depth insight across several categories.

This is an in-depth, insightful report operators should review in its entirety. The “Sweet Sixteen” edition of this yearly report is available for download here.

There are two interesting details toward the end of af&co. and Carbonate’s report. First, a list of 2023 clients. Second, an explanation for the design of the report itself.

This makes sense: Carbonate is a creative agency that works in the hospitality space, after all. Further, af&co. is a hospitality industry marketing agency.

Now, I won’t be sharing every trend or insight found in these two agencies’ report. Rather, I’m highlighting a number of items across four of the report’s six categories. Again, I think operators and leadership team members should download the report for themselves.

Food

While af&co. and Carbonate identify specific cuisines and items that are trending, it’s their 10,000-foot view of food that I find most compelling. In terms of the big picture, “rigid” adherence to authentic cuisine is falling out of favor.

Chefs, in the agencies’ opinions, are taking a more modern approach to menus. Instead of following the “rules” of certain cuisines, they’re creating dishes and programs that defy labels. Of course, for those who feel the need to label, one could call this approach “contemporary fusion.”

Examples given are Good Luck Gato’s Okonomiyaki Baked Potato, and the Birria Dumplings at Little Bull.

Cuisine Trends

Of course, af& co. and Carbonate also zoom in on food. Their Cuisine of the Year goes to Korean.

Dessert of the Year goes to the Pavlova or Eton Mess. So, one can argue that operators should connect with their back-of-house teams about meringue-based desserts.

Other food trends include making pastries with buckwheat; getting inventive with mortadella; serving borek in snack and entree size; and Brazilian-style pizza.

However, it’s a presentation trend that stood out the most to me. Accompanied by a timeline complete with images, the agencies state confidently that we’re in the “Crescent Moon” era of plating.

Visualize a plate, then place all of the food along the edge, with roughly two-thirds of the space open. That’s the crescent moon presentation.

Beverage

A number of the trends in this section aren’t exactly new. That tells me that some are likely on the brink of moving from trend to ubiquity.

That, or they’re at risk of bumping against their expiration date.

Two trends that have been popping their fins out of the sea of cocktails for a bit make it into the af&co. and Carbonate report. One is clarified cocktails.

Spend a bit of time looking up cocktails on social media and you’ll see these are a bit divisive. Some bartenders are all for them, some appear to absolutely despise this trend. Guests, however, seem to like the novelty of well-known, opaque or translucent classic turning transparent.

Another drink trend? Culinary cocktails. For food-driven concepts, it makes perfect sense to encourage the bar team to work closely with the kitchen team. Offering culinary cocktails is one method of pulling a concept’s threads tighter, telling a more complete story.

Along those lines, the agencies identify another divisive cocktail trend: cheese.

Personally, cocktails that feature cheese aren’t my thing. However, these drinks are, at the minimum, going to grab a guest’s attention. And those who order these drinks aren’t likely to forget the experience any time soon, good or bad.

That last point is important for operators and their teams to remember. A negative experience can be more powerful and stick with a guest longer than a positive one. So, pursue trends with caution.

Hotel

One of the biggest hotel developments the Hospitality Trends Report identifies is the dual-brand hotel. This is also a trend with which KRG Hospitality is well acquainted, both through industry research and client projects.

So far, the most common approach tends to include two towers, a shared lobby and fitness center, and shared F&B concepts. However, there are properties that incorporate not only brand-specific design for each tower but separate the bars and restaurants as well.

Notably, Marriott opened the first-ever tri-brand hotel in Nashville in 2019. The hotel and resort colossus combined an AC Hotel, a Residence Inn, and a SpringHill Suites.

Another interesting hotel trend? Eco-friendly, pre-fab construction. An excellent example of this approach is Moliving. To learn more about this brand, check out Bar Hacks podcast episode 68 with Jordan and Hanna Bem.

Interest by consumers in supporting eco-friendly brands informs two other trends identified by af&co. and Carbonate. One of these is hotels and resorts including e-bikes among their amenities.

Another is rewarding guests for engaging in a number of green initiatives. For example, cleaning up the beach in front of a hotel, or helping to plant trees on or near the property.

Speaking further of amenities, hotel and resort operators are likely aware that if they have courts for racquet sports, they need to include pickleball.

Design

Operators considering a refresh or starting from a clean slate for a new space may want to work with a designer on the following approach: maximalism.

According to the 16th annual Hospitality Trends Report, this bold, playful design language is on the rise. Following this trend, af&co. and Carbonate think that maximalism is working particularly well for “concept-driven, design-forward” bars.

As far as colors and materials operators may want to ask designers about, the agencies suggest pink, bronze, gold, and velvet. These colors are warm and welcoming, exactly what a hospitality venue should be.

To download the Hospitality Trends Report, click here. Two categories not covered in this article are Marketing Ideas and Social Media Trends, so follow that link!

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DoorDash Names 2023 Global F&B Trends

DoorDash Names 2023 Global F&B Trends

by David Klemt

Chef torching salmon sushi

As we get close to winding down 2023 and welcoming 2024, DoorDash takes a shot at identifying the global F&B trends to watch.

This is an exciting and insightful time of year for our industry. In the last quarter, different sources start publishing their data-backed F&B predictions for the year ahead.

Take, for example, Technomic’s Global, Canadian, and American trend predictions for 2023. Oh, and don’t worry—we’ll be taking a look at their predictions for 2024 soon.

Today, however, we’re checking in on DoorDash. Admittedly, I’m not the biggest fan of third-party delivery. It’s no secret I favor direct delivery for operators.

There’s no denying, though, that third-party delivery companies have access to valuable data. From the top food and drink orders to the dayparts seeing the most delivery and pickup order growth, they can help operators see shifts in consumer behavior.

So, I’m happy to take a look at what food trends DoorDash thinks operators should watch moving forward.

Before we jump in, I’m happy that DoorDash includes this cautionary statement in their article: “Finally, always consider whether or not a trend actually fits in at your restaurant.”

At KRG Hospitality, we couldn’t agree more. Jumping on every trend, as tempting as that may be, is unwise and can do harm than good. So, while the lists below identify trends that are gaining traction currently, operators need to be discerning.

Food Trends

Let’s start with a trend multiple sources identified toward the end of 2022 that appears to still be on an upward trajectory: pickles.

Seriously, it seems that people can’t get enough pickles. Pickle pizza appears to the current darling when it comes to this food trend. Speaking of pizza, DoorDash sees square pizzas as a trend to watch.

Another trend that multiple sources have been keeping tabs on is chimichurri. According to DoorDash, this condiment is finding its way onto all manner of food item.

Other food trends that operators should be aware of are bowls (deconstruct a sandwich, burrito, etc., and you have a bowl); oyster mushrooms subbing in for meat; higher-end tinned fish; and gluten-free menu options.

To be honest, I don’t think that last one is just a trend. At this point, offering gluten-free options or entire menus is mainstream.

Now, there are two more food trends I want to address separately. One, smaller menus. This is a trend I believe most operators can and should get behind. Shrinking a menu can result in lower food and labor costs, and a happier team. Making a menu smaller can also make a restaurant more nimble and engaging as LTOs may have more impact.

And then there’s aburi sushi, which is presented after the top of the fish is torched. This gives sushi a smoky flavor and brings in a different texture element.

To be fair, I’ve expected this to take off for the past several years. Now, it appears it’s taking hold and moving from fad to trend.

TikTok Trends

Yes, we have to talk about TikTok. There’s no question that the platform is a trend-producing powerhouse.

Clearly, TikTok has an influence on food trends. If you want to know what your younger guests want to try, check TikTok. The same goes for your guests who are highly engaged with social media influencers.

Below, the trends DoorDash sees taking hold.

  • Chopped sandwiches. Do you have sandwiches on your menu? Can your guests watch as your team makes them? You may want to create a chopped version of your signature or best-selling sandwich.
  • Pasta salad summer. Apparently, this summer was the Summer of Pasta Salad. Specifically, pasta salads made with fresh ingredients, and made without ingredients like mayonnaise.
  • Cottage cheese. According to DoorDash, TikTokers are putting cottage cheese in scrambled eggs, adding it to pasta sauce, and using it to make cheese toasts. I’ve personally tried the TikTok trend of using cottage cheese to make nacho cheese sauce.

One word of caution: TikTok trends come and go in the blink of an eye. So, operators need to hop on trends that work with their restaurant or bar before they’re already out of favor. It’s a daunting task.

To review this DoorDash report in its entirety, including beverage and grocery trends, follow this link.

Image: Ivan Samkov on Pexels

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People Aren’t Done ‘Improving’ the Negroni

People Aren’t Done ‘Improving’ the Negroni

by David Klemt

Negroni on edge of white countertop with reflection

It’s possible the infamous Sbagliato Negroni is just the opening salvo from bartenders hell-bent on taking on the traditional specs and build techniques.

Two “new” versions appear to be getting attention now. One is essentially a reverse cocktail. Additionally, it’s likely only really a “new” drink to North Americans.

The other, well, it’s something else entirely. Let’s take a look.

The Mariano, a.k.a the Marianito

This is the Negroni cocktail that’s probably new only in the sense that many North American drinkers are just now hearing about it. In Northern Spain, this is a go-to summer cocktail.

It’s also, like many reverse cocktails, low-ABV and therefore rather sessionable. Further, the Marianito is an excellent ambassador for aperitivo culture.

To be fair, we probably shouldn’t be so reductive and refer to this cocktail as a Negroni riff. So far, I’m unable to uncover the story of its genesis, so I don’t know if the Negroni even inspired the Marianito.

After doing some digging, though, the Marianito apparently first appears in print in 1989. However, some people believe the drink likely traces its origins back to the 1950s. There are also two prevailing origin stories that focus on the name because…of course. This is how so much of cocktail history goes, and I love it.

One story is that “Mariano” is a portmanteau that combines the names of the most popular vermouths in Spain: Martini and Cinzano.

The other story? A waiter who drank little glasses of vermouth (often with a splash of gin or Campari) fell in love with the daughter of someone named Mariano. She didn’t feel the same way, locals in the area found, and they referred to his little drinks as “Marianitos,” after his father-in-law who never was. Not very nice, but alright.

At any rate, the Marianito is a popular summer cocktail. It’s also a year-round drink for many in Northern Spain. Particularly, apparently, in the port city of Bilbao. It’s also a cocktail that is often riffed on, so it lends itself to experimentation.

A Marianito Recipe

Notice this says “a” recipe, not “the” recipe. I’ve come across a few different builds claiming to be the “right” specs.

Some people add 50ml of sweet vermouth, some add 75ml. There are builds that call for vermouth rosso, and those that call for sweet vermouth.

That tells me one thing: bars in Northern Spain like to try and make the Marianito their own. So, experimentation is encouraged.

However, try the specs below before playing around with your Marianito:

  • 75ml Sweet vermouth
  • 15ml Campari
  • 15ml Gin
  • 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
  • (Optional) 15ml Pomelo juice
  • Orange twist and an olive to garnish

The Sushi Rice Negroni

This…is exactly what it sounds like. When building a classic Negroni, you add sushi rice when mixing it.

The theory is simple enough to understand: sushi rice “softens” the flavors of other ingredients. So, adding sushi rice to your build should soften or “round out” the flavors of your Negroni.

Before we get too far, no—the rice doesn’t end up in the glass.

For this technique the bartender adds anywhere from a few grains to two tablespoons of cooked sushi rice to a mixing glass. After that, the build is the same as the standard cocktail, including the final step: straining into a glass over large ice cube.

Interestingly, bartenders can play with using uncooked or cooked sushi rice. Theoretically, this would adjust how much “softer” the drink turns out. And, of course, proponents of this technique say it can be beneficial to cocktails beyond the Negroni.

However, at the moment, it appears that the Negroni once again finds itself as the subject of experimentation. I can only imagine what else bartenders will subject it to before the year’s end.

So, will you and your bar team try the sushi rice technique?

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This Year’s Big Trend: Moderation

This Year’s Big Trend: Moderation

by David Klemt

Two drinks in mason jars

Beverage-top media platform Ripples is reporting 2022’s big drink trend, focusing heavily on Gen Z imbibing habits.

The unique company produces devices that make it possible to print images atop drinks. With beverages of all types as their focus, the company is a great position to study drink trends.

Interestingly, Ripples focuses primarily on Gen Z drinking habits. However, the company’s data identifies an intriguing trend that transcends a single generation.

Let’s jump in.

Zero-proof Beverage Growth

At KRG Hospitality, we appreciate numbers; we’re a data-driven agency. Well, amongst all the stats Ripples latest findings reveal, two are massive.

First, in comparison to 2019, zero-alcohol products are up 166 percent. Second, the non-alcohol category is growing four times faster than its low-ABV counterpart.

Another impressive number? Non-alcohol spirits have grown by over 113 percent since 2020.

Per Ripples, Gen Z is driving the growth in the no-alcohol space. According to the beverage-tech company, this is likely due to social media presence.

I’m sure you read articles at least from time to time about Gen Z social media habits. Those written by their older counterparts make it seem like Gen Z doesn’t understand the risks of recording their every action.

Well, it’s highly likely that much of Gen Z would rather not have their drunken shenanigans on display on every social platform.

Values Drive Purchase Decisions

Beyond risk aversion, Ripples identifies values as key to Gen Z purchase and consumption decisions.

Generally speaking, members of Gen Z value transparency and authenticity. Brands that share those values are more likely to succeed with Gen Z.

And, again, speaking broadly, smaller, independent brands are often perceived as more transparent, authentic, and responsible. Large, mainstream brands are often seen as anything but green and responsible, never mind transparent or authentic.

Ripples posits that small indies aren’t encountering daunting barriers to entry. So, small-batch, craft non-alcohol brands are apt to find Gen Z support.

Craft sodas, RTDs offering health benefits, and zero-proof cocktails in cans or bottles are flooding the market. And they’re finding success. In fact, according to Ripples, RTD sales are up 400 percent on Drizly since 2019.

The Big Trend

If you’re a listener of our Bar Hacks podcast you’ve likely heard our episodes with David Allison. If you haven’t heard them, they’re episode 46 and episode 67.

As the founder of the Valuegraphics Project, Allison isn’t a fan of focusing on demographic stereotypes. Instead, he recommends a focus on values in conjunction with demographic and psychographic data.

In part, the Valuegraphics Project approach encourages business owners and operators to identify and target their customers’ values. This is, according to Allison, far more powerful than focusing on age and sex. As important is the fact that demographics tend to divide us, and stereotypes are dangerous.

So, he and the Valuegraphics Project team probably wouldn’t like all the focus on a single generation in this article and Ripples’ findings. Well, there’s some good news and it pertains to what’s likely this year’s biggest drinking trend.

Across all generations, one drinking trend is common: Moderation. An interest in no- and low-alcohol beverages is shared among all generations.

In fact, according to Ripples, 78 percent of consumers purchasing zero-proof drinks aren’t doing so exclusively. These consumers are still buying they’re favorite full-alcohol beverages.

Takeaway

Leveraging the moderation trend is fairly simple. The growth of all zero-proof categories means operators can succeed with alcohol-free spirits, beer, and wine.

RTD cocktails—full-, low- and zero-proof—are selling very well and work in restaurants and bars.

In short, ensure you have low-ABV and zero-alcohol versions of your full-ABV drinks on your menu. Include these in a dedicated non-alcohol section.

Operators don’t need to be afraid of guests drinking more moderately. The stereotype that guests who choose zero- or low-proof drinks are bad for the bottom line simply isn’t true.

Image: Chris Curry on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Forward Progress: Trends by Venue Type

Forward Progress: Trends by Venue Type

by David Klemt

High contrast image of blue cocktail with lemon zest

One notable difficulty with considering new trends is that they’re not all necessarily a universal fit for all venue types.

For example, what may work well in an upscale restaurant perhaps won’t perform as well in a sports bar. Pursuing a trend that isn’t a good fit, obviously.

As any operator with experience knows, chasing fads and trends just to chase them can be costly. Doing so costs money (inventory, training, labor hours) and time deserving of better allocation.

However, failing to embrace any trends can also be costly. Watching a lucrative trend pass by can cost an operator guest engagement, perception, and traffic.

Take, for instance, the success of White Claw. Plenty of operators and consumers scoffed at the hard seltzer category as a whole at first.

Then, some people decided it was a drink category “for women.” As it exploded in popularity, hard seltzers proved immensely popular with men.

Basically, it’s an incredibly strong beverage alcohol category that resonates with a wide range of consumers. On some menus, hard seltzers are listed alongside beers.

So, hard seltzer, led largely by White Claw, showed itself to be a worthwhile trend to adopt.

Clearly, however, hard seltzer doesn’t resonate with all guests on all occasions in all types of hospitality venue types. For instance, generally speaking, a bucket of White Claws likely to be a top seller in a high-end restaurant specializing in seven- to nine-course meals.

Drink Trends by Venue

During Bar & Restaurant Expo in March of this year, Amanda Torgerson of Datassential presented 2022 drink trends operators should know.

One trend has essentially proliferated the industry. Really, it’s likely wise for us to all view this trend—hard seltzer—as mainstream now.

In the context of Torgerson’s presentation, Datassential is saying that hard seltzers are here to stay.

Among other trends, Torgerson shared Datassential’s data-backed view of drink trends segmented by venue category.

While every venue is unique and not every trend will work for every bar or restaurant in a given category, the results are no less intriguing.

Pubs: Dry-hopped beers, pastry stouts, and hard or spiked coffee.

Sports Bars: Mini-beers, hard seltzer, and reusable growlers.

Casual Bars: Seltzers with unique flavors, hard tea, hard lemonade, and drinks featuring local ingredients.

Upscale Bars: Negroni, wine-barrel-aged spirits, and flaming cocktails.

Nightclubs: Hard seltzers served with spirits, cocktails and punch bowls served with dry ice, and flaming cocktails.

Casual Restaurants: Wine cocktails, elevated brunch cocktails, and tea-based alcohol beverages.

Upscale Restaurants: Flaming cocktails (smoked may be better), all-natural wines, and made-to-order cocktail cart presentations.

Hotels, Resorts and Casinos: Made-to-order cocktail carts, alcohol vending machines, and drinks made with cold-pressed juices.

Interestingly, a few of the above trends identified by Datassential appear in multiple venue types.

The main things for an operator to keep in mind is what will resonate with their guests and what’s authentic to their brand. When it comes to trends, one size doesn’t fit all and an individual venue’s mileage will vary.

However, the above list should at least show operators what Datassential sees resonating with guests in an array of venues.

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Bacardi Predicts How We’ll Drink in 2021

Bacardi Predicts How We’ll Drink in 2021

by David Klemt

Bartender making a cocktail

What will alcohol consumption look like this year? Bacardi has answers.

In association with the Future Laboratory, Bacardi’s second-annual cocktail trends report—a well-sourced 25-page document—is available.

As is the case when we begin a new year, we’re being deluged with trend predictions and reports. I’d say the Bacardi 2021 Cocktail Trends Report goes deeper than most.

The report is organized into five macro trends identified by Bacardi Limited. Let’s get to it!

Reinventing the Bar

I’m not presenting Bacardi’s macro trends in order. Instead, I’m starting with the trend arguably most relevant to operators: bar reinvention.

Industry experts have been pointing to the ease of access to knowledge along with consumer interest in learning more about spirits and cocktails as an important trends for years now. It’s no longer a trend—it’s standard that guests are better informed.

Like other sources, Bacardi predicts guests will seek out more personalized experiences. They also predict guests will want to connect more with bartenders. However, the brand goes deeper in their report.

Bacardi thinks to-go cocktails, cocktail and meal kits, and e-commerce will become standard. Going a step further, the report posits that some venues will create cocktail menus that will change according to weekly inventory; sommeliers will add spirits knowledge to their skillset; and that guests will be eager to try drinks they’ve never had before.

Perhaps most importantly, Bacardi predicts bar culture will become more positive and inclusive, resulting in gender stereotypes—including those inherent to bottle design—will fall to the wayside.

Purpose and Transparency

According to a study conducted by IBM and the National Retail Federation and cited in Bacardi’s report, a massive 70 percent of American and Canadian consumers think it’s important that brands are eco-friend or sustainable.

Bacardi predicts sustainability, transparency, and the authentic embrace of social causes will be crucial this year and beyond.

In response to climate change, sustainability, eco-friendliness, and the zero-waste movement, Bacardi plans to wipe out 80 million plastic bottles with their new biodegradable bottle design, rolling out in 2023.

Pointing to a statistic from ZypMedia—that 36 percent of consumers plan to keep buying from local businesses post-pandemic—Bacardi predicts hyperlocality will grow stronger in 2021. Operators who source more local items, including beverage alcohol, will likely find more support from consumers.

Mindful Drinking

Per a Bacardi survey, 22 percent of consumers across the globe are drinking alcohol less. More than half (55 percent) of “mindful drinkers” are drinking low-ABV options.

Bacardi predicts low- and no-ABV drinks to perform well this year. Spritzes, for example, is on the rise as a bar culture in its own right.

Per Bacardi, zero-proof spirits are getting the most attention of any other category, worldwide.

Mindful drinking is also affecting how spirits are made. Consumers, more conscious of their health because of the pandemic, are showing a preference for beverages free of artificial ingredients. Furthermore, Bacardi expects consumers to seek out drinks that have health-boosting benefits.

The report, as an example, cites a Global Wellness Institute finding that in 2019 alone, “U.S. sales of ginger rose by 94%, while turmeric and garlic sales were up by 68% and 62%.” Today’s consumer is seeking out functional cocktail ingredients.

Drinking by the Numbers

Bacardi’s report puts all the brand’s cards on the table. Operators looking to program or reprogram their menus will find this information helpful.

Consider the info below for delivery and to-go drinks since Nielsen finds that 40 percent of US consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits, 37 percent are interested in pre-made bottled cocktails, and 37 percent are interested in grab-and-go cocktails.

Flavor and Experience: Extreme heat (chilies), Super-sweet, Sour, Bitter, Smoked

Experiences: Pleasure, Nostalgia, Escapism, Quality over quantity, Light-hearted drinks, Flavor-filled indulgences

Most Popular Cocktails, Globally (Descending Order): Low-ABV, Other spritzes, Negroni, Classic cocktails with a twist, G&T (including riffs), Non-alcohol, Whiskey Highball, Espresso Martini, Old Fashioned, Vermouth cocktails

Premiumization Opportunities: Gin, Rum, Tequila

Top 5 Spirits (by Interest): Gin, Mezcal, Tequila, Vermouth, Bitter/Amaro Liqueurs

Top 5 RTDs in North America: Vodka Soda and flavors, Margarita, Moscow Mule, Low-ABV, G&T

Click here to read the report in its entirety.

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Does the Margarita Still Reign Supreme?

Does the Margarita Still Reign Supreme?

by David Klemt

Whatever’s happening here, I’m in…

The Margarita has maintained the title of Most Popular Cocktail in the United States year after year.

But is the classic cocktail still wearing the crown and clutching the scepter?

Most Popular 2020 Cocktails

Midway through last year, Google revealed the top cocktail searches in each state:

  • Alabama: Hurricane
  • Alaska: Whiskey Sour
  • Arizona: Paloma
  • Arkansas: Frozen Daiquiri
  • California: Paloma
  • Colorado: Hurricane
  • Connecticut: Margarita
  • Delaware: Screwdriver
  • Washington, DC: Old Fashioned
  • Florida: Cuba Libre
  • Georgia: Sazerac
  • Hawaii: Lemon Drop Martini
  • Idaho: Kamikaze
  • Illinois: Manhattan
  • Indiana: French 75
  • Iowa: Kamikaze
  • Kansas: Screwdriver
  • Kentucky: Lily
  • Louisiana: Bushwacker
  • Maine: Margarita
  • Maryland: Kamikaze
  • Massachusetts: Old Fashioned
  • Michigan: Cosmo
  • Minnesota: Oliveto
  • Mississippi: Painkiller
  • Missouri: Gin and Tonic
  • Montana: Blue Hawaiian
  • Nebraska: Old Fashioned
  • Nevada: Grasshopper
  • New Hampshire: Old Fashioned
  • New Jersey: Manhattan
  • New Mexico: Old Fashioned
  • New York: Manhattan
  • North Carolina: Bushwacker
  • North Dakota: Kamikaze
  • Ohio: Boulevardier
  • Oklahoma: Black Russian
  • Oregon: Old Fashioned
  • Pennsylvania: Whiskey Sour
  • Rhode Island: Cosmo
  • South Carolina: Tequila Sunrise
  • South Dakota: Screwdriver
  • Tennessee: Buschwacker
  • Texas: Paloma
  • Utah: Cape Cod
  • Vermont: Cosmopolitan
  • Virginia: Old Fashioned
  • Washington: Old Fashioned
  • West Virginia: Kamikaze
  • Wisconsin: Grasshopper
  • Wyoming: White Russian

Margarita Slipping?

As you can see, the Margarita was only the top search in two states, Connecticut and Maine. Perhaps their access to the Atlantic Ocean coastline motivated residents of those states to enjoy the refreshing classic that invokes summer and escapism.

Regardless, the Margarita didn’t even make it into the top three. Third place went to the Cosmo, Manhattan and Screwdriver in a three-way tie, with each the most popular in three states.

Second place went to Kamikaze, the top cocktail search in Idaho, Iowa, Maryland, North Dakota and West Virginia.

Before I get to the first-place cocktail—according to a snapshot of time by Google—I have to address the clear winner of the Most Unique Search title. Minnesota’s top search was for the Oliveto cocktail, shaken and strained into a rocks glass:

  • 2 oz. Dry gin
  • 1 oz. fresh Lemon juice
  • 1/4 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1/4 oz. Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz. full-bodied Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 fresh Egg white
  • Ice cubes

New Number One?

The Old Fashioned, clinching seven states, was the number-one cocktail…for about 30 days in 2020.

Much has also been made about a supposed surge in interest for the Gin & Tonic.

However, scouring the Internet for data and articles, the Margarita is still sitting comfortably on the throne. According to multiple sources, the Margarita is a to-go cocktail mainstay, it’s succeeding in the RTD space (meaning it’s performing well on- and 0ff-premise), and home bartenders are driving up sales of tequila and cordials.

Trends are fun but classics are classics for a reason. So, make sure your Margs, G&Ts, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans and other staples are dialed in this year.

Image: Menú Acapulco on Unsplash

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