The Chilled 100 team lays out the top headlining cocktail trends of the year and what to expect in your glass in 2018.
As 2017 comes to a close, members of our team of experts have laid out what they believe will be the most memorable and impactful drinking trends that will be appearing across the country this year. From more Nordic influences to participating in the anti-waste movement to mixing Mountain Dew with Wild Turkey, members of the The Chilled 100 Team have the insight on what have been the most talked about trends this year, what is here to stay, and what’s new for 2018.
2018 Headlining Trends:
Anne Vaughn, Austin, Texas
In 2018, I expect to see a rise in the consumption of fortified wines both for being sipped on as they are, and and for use in cocktails. There seemed to be an increase in interest in sherry at the beginning of 2017, and the sidecar was more popular than ever this summer. Pineau des Charentes and other vin de liqueurs are making their way into our markets as well. It won’t be long until bartenders catch on to their versatility unique flavor profiles.
Anne’s Favorite Cocktail for 2018:
- 1 1/2 oz. Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
- 1/2 oz. Liqueur 43
- 1/4 oz. Gran Poppy Liqueur
- 18 drops Black Pepper Tincture
- (Run 4 oz. black peppercorns in a blender for a few seconds and let sit in 8 oz. of rum 151 in an airtight jar for 5 days, strain before use)
Preparation: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Stir and strain into chilled coup. Express with lemon oils. Lemon peel garnish.
“More Culture-Driven Establishments”
Benny Hurwitz, Washington, D.C.
With all the new bar/restaurant openings and all the talent out there, in 2018 I hope to see more culture-driven establishments where bartenders can learn and grow. Once you take care of your people and make them feel appreciated, you can teach them anything.
Benny’s Favorite Cocktail for 2018:
- 5 dashes Scrappy’s Chocolate Bitters
- 1 1/2 oz. Fresh Apple Cider
- 1/2 oz. Amaro Montenegro
- 1 oz. Ilegal Mezcal Joven
- Fresh Apple Slices, for Garnish
Preparation: Build in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with fresh apple slices.
Chris Morris, Houston, Texas
Not really a ‘cocktail trend’ per say, but what I’m seeing right now is bars focusing on having awesome food to go along with really great drinks. You’re seeing this combination of ambience, service, food & drink start to come together, and it’s awesome! I think Aquavit is going to continue to grow in 2018. You’re seeing an interest in it with a solid domestic option like Krogstad, and you have brands like Gamle that are showing the versatility of the spirit. It’s an easy sell for a vodka drinker who is put off by the piney notes of traditional gin, but still wants to branch out. And Vikings. Who doesn’t love Vikings!
Chris’s Favorite Cocktail for 2018:
- 1 1/2 oz. Bacardi Carta Blanca
- 1 oz. Mango Nectar
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
- 6-7 Medium Basil Leaves
- 1 1/2 oz. Champagne
Preparation: Muddle 3-4 basil leaves with simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add the rum and mango nectar. Add ice, and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds. Double strain into a tall glass over ice. Top with Champagne, and garnish with the remaining basil.
“Low Waste Cocktails, Cold Pressed Juices, Continued Tiki Movement & Frozen Cocktails”
Shaun Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia
Low Waste Cocktails: The anti-waste movement is happening, especially after the Trash-Tiki pop up tour of 2017 and Sustainability Summit held at Tales this year. Look for more bartenders to jump on board with ways to reduce waste and start working hand in hand with their kitchens and chefs and using creative ingredients this coming year.
Cold Pressed Juices: With the low waste movement and more and more bartenders working directly with their kitchens, look for more cocktails in 2018 incorporating healthy vegetables and cold pressed juices with delicious outcomes.
Continued Tiki Movement: Everyone predicted tiki styled bars and cocktails to be a big trend in 2017, don’t think for a second that it’s over yet and be prepared for this trend to continue. With bars like S.O.S in Atlanta and Rhum Food + Grog in Portland, ME having success, even Odd Birds in St. Augustine, FL helping the culture, expect more and more bars in smaller markets to be tackling this in 2018 and keep pushing it forward.
Frozen Cocktails: The popularity of the Frosé in 2017 was absolutely insane, I felt like it was everywhere (which is not a bad thing), and with more and more cocktail bars installing frozen drink machines expect this trend to continue in 2018 but look for more bartenders to be thinking outside the box and having fun with more creative frozen concoctions. Although I would never turn down a “Miami Vice” any day.
Shaun’s Favorite Cocktail for 2018:
Shaun’s cocktail won him a spot into the semi finals of the South East round for 2018 Heaven Hill Bartender of the Year. His drink was inspired and dedicated to his sister, Brooke Gordon.
Sorry Not Sorry
- 1 1/2 oz. Rittenhouse Rye
- 1/4 oz. Domaine de Canton
- 1/2 oz. Coconut Milk
- 1/2 oz. Blood Orange Juice
- 1/2 oz. Tepache*
- 1/4 oz. 18.21 Pumpkin Spice Shrub
- 3/4 oz. Real Pumpkin Puree
Preparation: Add all ingredients to shaker, short shake, then grate fresh nutmeg and cinnamon on top.
Take 1 pineapple and cut it down, add the rind and fruit to 32 oz. of water, add 2 cloves and 1 cinnamon stick, leave at room temperature for 3 days or until it starts to ferment. You’ll be able to tell from the foam starting to build at the top. Then strain and refrigerate.
Andrew Izrael, Charlotte, North Carolina
I’m seeing a large uptick in the consumption of Turkey Dews. Many believe that they will take the industry by storm. A good friend of mine, Josh Seaburg, has even gone on the record saying, “By 2020 Turkey Dews will have replaced 95% of all industry post shift shots because and to quote Matthew McConaughey best, ‘They are reeeeallll nice.’” I was a non-believer before I was shown the magical greenish- orange liquid light. I hear there may even be a limited run of challenge coins for them as well.
Andrew’s Favorite Cocktail for 2018:
Fortune Cookie Milk Punch
- 3/4 oz. Fair Game Apple Brandy
- 3/4 oz. Kraken Black Rum
- 1 bar spoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 3 oz. Fortune Cookie Cereal Milk*
- Fortune Cookie & Nutmeg, for Garnish
Preparation: Shake with ice- served over fresh ice and garnished with a fortune cookie and fresh grated nutmeg.
*Fortune Cookie Cereal Milk
- 1 Whole Zested Orange
- 4 oz. Simple Syrup
- 1 tbsp. Almond Extract
- 1 qt. Whole Milk
- 10 Fortune Cookies
Preparation: In blender add all ingredients and puree until smooth. Pour the entirety of the liquid through a fine mesh strainer to remove the large cookie particles. Lightly press the cookie pulp with back of a spoon or ladle to express out any excess milk taking care to not force any pulp through the mesh. Keep refrigerated. Good for up to 5 days.