As the blossoms flower and spring appears what are the latest drinking trends as witnessed by Cocktails in the City so far in 2019?
Without a doubt there has been a huge swing to cleaner, lower abv style spritz drinks. Less sugar, less garnishing and fewer ingredients seem to the style of choice for many of the partner bars of CITC so far so what is driving this?
Who's really behind this change, is it the consumer, the bartender or the brands?
In reality these three elements are completely inter-dependant. A lot has been said about the changing attitudes to alcohol of millennials and generation Z. The younger drinker is adopting a more European attitude to drinking, drinking less, drinking with food and operators are responding with an increased focus on the daytime economy offering more choice with lower and non-alcoholic options.
SPRITZ DRINKS AND LOWER ABV
Delve into any cocktail menu and you might notice the increasing use of vermouths and fortified wines and the world's largest drinks company Diageo have recently acquired Belsazar Vermouth from Germany.
The success of the Aperol Spritz certainly must play a factor and St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur has consistently been one of the most popular brands at CITC across the UK and is seen in all the best bars.
At CITC London guests will have the first opportunity to try one of the biggest brand releases in recent years Ketel One Botanical in partnership with influential bar Nine Lives. A range of three lower abv variants including Grapefruit & Rose, Cucumber & Mint and Orange Blossom and Peach & Orange Blossom.
Promoting low calorie, zero sugar and no artificial ingredients these new type of products are perfect for the burgeoning brunch and image conscious consumer.
Grapefruit& Rose Ketel One Botanicals, Rose Cordial, Pear Soda.
Whisky brands from across the world are pushing the highball style of cocktail following its huge success in Asia. Long, refreshing with two or three ingredients these cocktails allow the flavours of brands shine through with just enough modifiers to make the category more open and accessible to guests that wouldn't be classified as typical whisky drinkers.
The Vault in Soho perfectly exemplifies the technique common in many of the UK's leading bars now which is to produce a single home-made ingredient that sets the whole drink but all the work is done back-of-house "mis en place" so the guest is presented with a very simple looking drink.
The Walkaway Highball
35ml Johnnie Walker Black, homemade coconut and caraway soda.
The influence of Asia can be seen more clearly with brand positioning of House of Suntory and their recent release of Toki. In partnership with the multi-faceted shoreditch operator TT Liquor we recommend guests try the seemingly simple yet delicious:
50ml Toki, 20ml Melonade (Honey Melon Liquor) and top with Cucumber and Watermelon Soda. Garnished with banana leaf
With the continued rise of instagram, feature walls and creating that moment it is no surprise to see flowers becoming more and more popular in the presentation and aesthetic of drinks in 2018/19.
One of the pioneers of this floral, botanical look is the Bourne and Hollingsworth Group who have recently launched a living bar bursting with herbs, flowers and botanicals for guests at their 10th floor bar B&H Garden Room.
Working in partnership with St-Germain at CITC we recommend:
B&H GARDEN PUNCH
St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Oxley Gin, lemon balm cordial, fresh lemon, real kombucha dragon, lavender bitters.
We invite you to discover the latest drinking trends, flavours and styles at Cocktails in the City at The Vaults on April 4-6th.