The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2018

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Page 42 of 112

42  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2018 COCKTAIL TRENDS T rends can be hard to predict—after all, who would have believed ten years ago that vinyl records would still be popular in 2018? But if any member of the trade can uncover what bartenders have been mixing up behind the stick, it would be Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits. North America's largest wine and spirits distributor recently sent members of its sales and mixology staff to visit 55 accounts in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Chicago, where they drank nearly 250 cocktails to find out which flavors, techniques, and innovations might land on cocktail lists in a major way this year. According to Southern Glazer's Director–National Accounts Brian Masilionis, who compiled the flavor trend research, a strong beverage program can deliver a lot more than high profit margins. "Unique, trend-relevant bever- ages tailored to a given brand can also help concepts differentiate themselves from competitors to drive guest loyalty," he adds. Here are some of the emerging cocktail trends Southern Glazer's encountered in its jet-setting quest, with recipes from Southern Glazer's Mixologist Debbie Peek. Bitter-Facing Cocktails Although it's highly likely that sweet drinks won't make a mass menu exodus anytime soon, the popularity of IPA beers and coffee as a cocktail ingredient has shown that customers are seeking out bitter flavors across all seg- ments of the beverage sphere. Amari and other apéritifs are being introduced as cocktail accents, while tea and coffee are perfect for infusions or for impart- ing complex flavors. Housemade bitters can also prevent a cocktail from venturing too far into cloying territory. Garden to Glass Although farm-to-table cuisine has been a popular concept in the restaurant scene in recent years, the concept has been making its way onto cocktail menus recently as well. Fruit has always been a popular cocktail ingredient, but whether it's in the form of cold-pressed carrot juice or yellow peppers adding some color, vegetables have also been finding their way into drinks more and more often. Herbs typically used in food preparation can also be utilized creatively behind the bar. Adding Aromatics As mezcal and Scotch cocktails become more ubiquitous, smoky flavors have been a valuable tool for many a bartender. Smokiness, however, is a slippery slope: While it can provide that coveted layer of complexity, it can quickly overtake the drink if it's not handled care- fully. Ingredients that offer the mixologist control while also adding aromatic elements to cocktails are ideal, from smoked lapsang souchong tea to burning wood or herbs. Cafe & Tonic ◗ 1½ oz. spiced rum ◗ ½ oz. simple syrup ◗ 2 oz. cold brew coffee Add all ingredients to an ice-filled tall glass, top with tonic, and garnish with an orange peel. Peering—and Pouring— Beyond the Horizon SOUTHERN GLAZER'S WINE AND SPIRITS FORECASTS THE COCKTAIL TRENDS SURE TO MAKE WAVES IN 2018 by Izzy Watson Smoked Orange and Rosemary Old Fashioned ◗ 2 oz. bourbon ◗ ½ oz. simple syrup ◗ Orange peel ◗ Cherries ◗ Rosemary sprigs ◗ 3 dashes Angostura Aromatic Bitters Smoke rosemary sprigs and an orange peel on a wooden plank with a torch. Muddle syrup, orange peel, cherry, rosemary, and bitters. Add bourbon and ice, then stir and strain into an orange- and rosemary-smoked and ice-filled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a cherry and a rosemary sprig. Strawberry Thyme ◗ 1½ oz. vodka ◗ 2 oz. lemon sour ◗ 2 strawberries (quartered) ◗ 2 thyme sprigs Muddle strawberries, lemon sour, and thyme, then add vodka and ice. Shake and pour into an empty Old Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel and thyme sprig.

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