Whether you're newly in to sour beers or just had your first barrel aged cocktail, you have your bartender to thank. The driving force behind what we drink, bartenders help us navigate the menu, deciphering everything from esoteric grape varietals to single malt Scotch.
So when the National Restaurant Association (NRA) just released their annual "What's Hot" culinary and drink forecast for 2013, I was excited to see a continued focus on local ingredients and products. In addition, the kitchen-to-cocktail trend is staying strong, with collaboration between chefs and bartenders at an all-time high. The NRA surveyed over 200 professional bartenders, all members of the United States Bartenders' Guild (USBG).
In the spirits category, bitters, mezcal, Pisco, "new make" whiskey scored high. For beer, cask and house brewed beers, along with microbrews were indicated as hot trends. In wine, it's no surprise wines on tap were ranked as the top trend, followed by local wines, non-tradition varietals and organic. For a detailed report, visit www.restaurant.org
Top 10 Drink Trends for 2013
1. Onsite barrel-aged drinks
2. Food-liquor/cocktail pairings
3. Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, fresh ingredients)
4. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor
5. Locally produced spirits
6. Locally sourced fruit/berries/produce
7. Beer sommeliers/Cicerones
8. Regional signature cocktails
9. Beer-based cocktails
10. Locally produced beer