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Craft cocktails have been on the rise for a few years now, and there is no sign that their popularity will be waning any time soon. The initial excitement of having fresh ingredients and unusual bitters has worn off a bit, however, and bartenders are looking back to the world of spirits for more interesting ingredients to build upon for making great cocktails. Beverage expert Gaz Regan has been researching drink trends for the past year and has a few predictions about what we will see in 2014.
Bitter components, particularly bitter and herbal liqueurs, are increasingly popular. This means that you’ll see more amaros behind the bar and may even be able to order a Ramazzotti and Coke when you’re out at a well-stocked cocktail bar.
Vodka is always going to be a cocktail staple, but it is not appearing in as many new drinks as bartenders reach for more flavorful spirits as the base of their recipes.
Whiskies are still popular – and their popularity is only growing. Irish whiskies haven’t seen as much mixing action in the past, but they are also finding their way into drinks much more regularly and you may see them featured more on future menus.
Scotch has not always been much of a mixing drink, but its unique flavor is appealing to adventurous cocktail mixers, who are using single malts and blends in drinks, though it isn’t as popular of a choice for mixing as whisky.
Gin, tequila and rum remain popular mixing drinks, and while gin has seen a big surge over the past couple of years, it seems likely that its popularity will remain steady over the next year with bigger surges coming with other spirits.
Cachaça and absinthe are likely to remain on the outskirts of the cocktail world for now, but bartenders are experimenting with them more as they look for unusual flavors to add to drinks and they could see a lot of growth – especially cachaça – in the next few years.