Move over mojito & LIT, the scorched & the torched are here!
Say bye-bye to the mojito and the super-strong L.I.T. Here’s what the edgiest bars are going to be shaking, stirring, muddling and pouring in the months to come.
The wine spritzer is back. But this time around, it isn’t just a splash of soda in a glass of the house white. Bartenders are using the best bottles from their cellars and spritzing them with flavoured carbonated drinks, often making them in-house. Imagine peach-flavoured soda and Pinot Grigio on a warm afternoon.
Infused vodkas were a hot trend some seasons ago and meant dropping chillies, vanilla beans or cinnamon sticks into a bottle of vodka and waiting for weeks for the alcohol to pick up the flavours. Now, with molecular cooking techniques moving to the bar as well, it’s possible to infuse, say, a shot of bourbon with your favourite dark chocolate under a pressure in a nitrous oxide charger. Yes, it’s pretty scientific and the results are quick and amazing. Rosemary infused rum, bacon infused beer… the possibilities are endless.
Food trends usually spill over to the bar. So, it’s not surprising that mixologists are trying their hand at smoking, a technique which top chefs are employing to create extra flavour dimensions. Top-of-the-drawer drinks like single malts are flamed, the smoke trapped in a glass and the drink is served, infused with smokiness and releasing all its aromatics. It works on the same principle as warming your cognac, say bartenders.
Torched and scorched drinks
Fire and smoke are certainly hot in the hip bars this season. Mixologists are also torching and scorching ingredients to give their cocktails a twist. Orange segments brushed with maple syrup are being flamed, muddled and topped with the best vodka for a drink that packs a punch. It’s certainly a long way from the twist of burnt orange peel plopped into a Cosmopolitan.
How often have you sat and watched in dismay as the melting ice in your mojito slowly diluted your drink and took all the fun away? The best bartenders have found a way around that: use ice that’s packed with flavour. Frozen mounds of fresh juice are being added to alcohol for the ultimate tall drink.
Super fresh juices
Canned juice and cocktail syrups have been passé for a while now. Fresh, it’s got to be. But squeezed and stored won’t do either. The best cocktail bars will be squeezing that lemon, pureeing that strawberry while you watch and stir or shake it into your cocktail.
Bitters are the bold new bar staple and go beyond the dash of Angostura in a G&T. Flavoured bitters, such as orange, lemon and Aztec chocolate are making their way into cool cocktails and exotic herbal concoctions from South America are enjoying a surge in popularity. Keeping with the bitter is better trend, the Negroni is chic again as well.
Lower alcohol drinks
Bars are only too happy with the demand for lighter drinks, for it means people will drink more cocktails on an evening. It also makes it necessary for them to create drinks with the right balance and full flavour as customers want more than just a huge alcohol hit.
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