Behind The Blue Door

Stylish Weekends | January 22, 2016 |

What’s next in the shaker?

Cocktail trends for 2016

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Speciality teas, Armagnac and Latin spirits may have been the go-to ingredients for bartenders for the past 12 months, but what’s going to be hot in the cocktail shaker for 2016? We asked a few of our favourite mixologists for their predictions.

Eaux de vie, poitin, cream and sweet-savoury

Andy Mil, head bartender at London’s award-winning The Cocktail Trading Company, is looking forward to a bumper year:

“2016 is going to be a great year for the cocktail world,” he told us.

“For the first time in a long time, the cost of items is dropping and the government is issuing a freeze on alcohol-related duty increases. With this is mind, people can expect to see a increase in unusual spirits such as eaux de vie and spirits de vie.

“These are spirits that are distilled out of the same produce they are fermented from – for example, a raspberry eau de vie would be distilled from fermented raspberry juice, instead of a raspberry vodka which is flavoured with the berry.”

“Poitin, the legendary Irish spirit, is making a comeback with a couple of new producers making some very tasty Irish potato spirits – one of my favourites is Ban Poitin.

“Cream is also making a comeback; not the sickly sweet creamy drinks of the 80s, but light delicate drinks using cream not to make them creamy in the conventional sense, but to add texture to a drink. We are using a cold smoked cream on our new menu launching January 2016.

“For 2016, sweet-savoury drinks will be of the moment, using vegetable-based purees and jams. Things like asparagus, peppers and artichoke, when mixed with bitters and sweet product, can create the most amazing contrast in flavours.”

Recipe to try: The Irish Examiner has, unsurprisingly, jumped straight onto the gentrification of poitin. Jonathan deBurca Butler experimented with a few cocktail options, including a Poitin Sour.

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The Cocktail Trading Company specialises in quirky presentation.

Homemade infusions

Chester’s popular quirky cocktail destination Oddfellows is predicting a move towards homemade infused spirits.

General manager Paul Cookson said: “We see our mixologists as on a par with our chefs and rely on them to take a raw ingredient to a new place. Some of our home infusions include; English breakfast tea gin, rosemary vodka, thyme gin and peppermint whiskey.

“As ever with Oddfellows and cocktails for 2016, it’s about rediscovering old classics but in an ultimately ‘odd’ way.”

Recipe to try: Opt for the Winter Julep, the Mint Julep’s warmer cousin; made from peppermint-infused Buffalo Trace bourbon, with brown sugar and hot water to taste.

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Revisiting the classics

A new year doesn’t always call for a new recipe. Adam Towner, who calls himself ‘a thin, fat controller’ of The Dead Dolls Club, which has bars in Peckham and Islington, told Behind the Blue Door that 2016 will focus on a reimagination of old favourites.

“Next year we are going to be keeping the classics alive and concentrating on the Negroni, a very simple blend that can change immensely depending on brands used,” he explained.

“We will be working with brands such as Regal Rouge instead of your classic vermouth and concentrating on a selection of London gin such as Butler’s gin and Sparrow gin, as well as looking at lighter versions such as Aviation gin for a more summer floral feel.”

Recipe to try: Jamie Oliver’s Drinks Tube presents a classic take on the traditional Negroni.

Japanese spirits & exotic flavours

For James Brown, training and development manager at Manchester’s Liquorice Bar, the future is looking exotic.

“I think as 2016 comes around we will see the continued rise in popularity of Japanese spirits such as Japanese whisky, shochu and sake,” he said, “This in turn will cause a higher demand for Japanese flavours and fruits such as yuzu, mikan and satonishiki cherries.

“More exotic flavours such as tamarind, mango, African blue bell and ginger will see a steady rise through 2016. As well as this, the health craze that has been evident will call for low calorie cocktails and superfood ingredients such as pomegranate, dark chocolate and acai berries.

“People are also becoming more conscious  of where the food is sourced, so from earth to drink stories will be expected.”

Recipe to try: Harper’s has plenty of sake cocktail recipes for you to turn your hand to.

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Inspired to get creative with these new cocktail trends? Serve up your concoctions in stunning glassware from Wedgwood.

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