The Cocktail Trends We're Loving in 2013 Slideshow
June 13, 2013
What we've seen so far, and cocktail recipes to go with them
Our favorite subject this summer: tiki cocktails. And we just can't get enough of them. One new tiki bar opening in Chicago, called Three Dots and a Dash, opens this month under the next generation of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), RJ, Jerrod, and Molly Melman, and famed-Chicago mixologist Paul McGee. The lounge will reimagine the current expression of tiki in the U.S., with many cocktail ingredients made in-house including coconut cream, seasonal syrups such as grapefruit cinnamon and vanilla all-spice, bitters, and fresh-squeezed juices. And of course, that includes plenty of rum, too. McGee has put together a unique list of rum for the tiki bar, which is set to become the city’s largest selection (currently at 150 — and counting), with a heavy focus on rhum agricole.
Also into the tiki cocktail trend is the Washington, D.C. restaurant GBD. For the punch program, GBD enlisted the talents spirits specialist and punch aficionado Dan Searing and co-owner of Washington, D.C.’s Room 11. In collaboration with the GBD team, Searing developed four punch recipes that fit perfectly with the convivial spirit of the restaurant, including the Gin Punch with Tuthilltown Half Moon Orchard Gin and house-made apple scrub; the Rum Punch with Corsair Spiced Rum, orange sour, and pomegranate; and the Early Grey and Bourbon Punch with Smooth Ambler Old Scout Bourbon, grapefruit juice, and ginger sage honey lemon syrup. All the punches come in a vintage tiki container, too (of course.)
2013 is the year for savory, and salted, cocktails. One restaurant/bar that really has taken advantage of the trend is Sunshine Tavern in Seattle. Chef Jenn Louis and her husband, David Welch, own Sunshine Tavern together; while she helms the kitchen, he designs the bar program. Often, they’ll host a themed dinner focused around an artisan ingredient, such as Jacobsen Salt, a local sea salt producer that resembles English Maldon. To go with Louis' menu, Welch crafts salted cocktails that rely on the saline granules for their unique flavor, many of which are riffs on classics, such as the Sea Salt Martini. Welch subs out generic olive juice for a sea salt water solution, with Plymouth gin, orange bitters, and a cured anchovy garnish for a truly unique martini.
Everyone's two favorite things: beer and cocktails. At Alla Spina in Philadelphia, you’ll find several different varieties of Shandys, or beer cocktails, on the menu. On the beer cocktail list: a "Birmosa" with Peroni and mango juice; a "Brooklyn Bellini" with prosecco, Brooklyn Lager, cider and ice; and the "Red Velvet" with Monk’s Sour, Chinotto Soda, and Crème de Violette, and more.
On the list of more than 100 cocktails classified by spirit, the selection of beer cocktails at barmini are not to be missed. Among them are the Distillers Brew with dark rum, lime, ginger syrup, and hefewienzen; the Mezcaleros Brew with mezcal, kina, honey syrup, Belgian triple beer, orange twist; and the Rye Here with rye, lemon juice, maple syrup, kasteel cherry beer, and barrel-aged bitters.
Low- to No-Alcohol Cocktails
Finally, an era for cocktails that won't totally get you sloshed. Nowadays, bars are embracing low-alcohol to alcohol-free cocktails that are reminiscent of the Prohibition era. Some bars doing it well: OAK at Fourteenth’s libation menu is separated by alcohol content and the most popular portion is the low-alcohol cocktails. A few examples of OAK's low-alcohol cocktails include the Trail Ridge Road (with Crème Yvette, Crème de Violette, dry curacao, Dimmi, herbal bitters, and fresh lime) and the Venetian Cup (with Campari, Pimms No. 1, and house-made ginger beer).
On the no-alcohol cocktail trend, chef Lomonaco at Center Bar has made cocktail concept includes a full "Prohibition" portion of the cocktail menu, offering seasonal non-alcoholic cocktails. Additionally, he also includes a low-alcohol section of the menu. That includes a fresh Strawberry Coupe made with fresh juice and ginger ale, a Pineapple Cobbler with real pinapple, strawberries, club soda, and spices, and a Raspberry Cooler with raspberry syrup, agave nectar, and club soda.
Garden to Glass
The craft, artisanal trend that's swept the cuisine world in 2013 has also hit the bar. It's hard to find a bar that doesn't adhere to the local food movement — even hotel bars. In May, Four Seasons properites around the country were challenged to make cocktails made only of ingredients and spirits sourced within 100 miles of the property. The result? Some outrageously delicious and local cocktails. Some of our favorites: the 100 Mile Dash cocktail from the Four Seasons Houston, made with DASH vodka (made in Houston), rosemary-infused honey syrup, fresh Texas grapefruit juice, and garnished with a sprig or rosemary and a sugar-laced rim; and the Le Bleu Glacier cocktail from the Four Seasons Resort in Jackson Hole, Wyo., made with a huckleberry reduction, homemade organic cane sugar, Teton Glacier Vodka, dash of vanilla, garnished with local berries and local Wyoming smoked Cheddar.