Are you one of those who favours a night in at the local pub with mates? Or maybe you’re one of those who wants a perfectly crafted cocktail that lights up, smokes with dry ice, comes served in an exotic fruit and with happy birthday flowers, and costs more than your meal. Or, perhaps you’re somewhere in between, someone who just wants a solid drink with a nice environment and a quiet place to chat.
Whatever your drinking style is, and wherever you prefer to partake in the revelry, it’s probably apparent that bars change (for better or worse), all the time. Okay, okay, so maybe not that 200 year old pub that the same people frequent night after night. But for most bars, clubs and restaurants, change is inevitable. Today we’re looking at the newest and hottest trends in bars, and what can expect to see in both individual drinks, and the bar as a whole.
Gin continues to reign
The past few years have seen an interesting resurgence in gin drinking. Previously dubbed as an old lady’s drink, gin has not only found popularity, but it’s also gotten… cool! Paired with elderflower, grapefruit peels, or even fresh flowers, gin has taken over the cocktail menus. Some bars are even using it as their main focus, serving up an entire menu-full of gin and tonic cocktails.
We’ll continue to see this trend for a while yet. Gin distilleries, like these ones in New Zealand, are still popping up all over to keep up with the demand. The flexibility of the spirit is what many bartenders are enjoying, as they can mix and match flavours with gin quite easily. We’ll also see visits to gin distilleries like we just mentioned go up over the next few years, just as local and niche brewery tours amped up over the last decade. Even large parties and events may use a gin only bar at their event hire, purely because of the versatility of the drink and the popularity of it.
Drinks straight to your door
We all have those nights midweek where we suddenly could really go for a glass of wine, but we don’t have any in the house. Imagine being able to pull up your Uber app and getting a bottle delivered straight to your door! Dangerous, isn’t it? This dream is actually a reality in some locations, like Melbourne, Australia for example. While with this service there are most definitely some restrictions, like only one bottle of wine allowed, and the purchase of a meal required,, there are plenty of other alcohol delivery services that are currently available, and more are on the way.
What we will start seeing as an exciting new trend is bars and restaurants adding a cocktail or wine list to their delivery menus. Just like you could grab a nice glass of Barolo wine with your Italian pasta at the restaurant, you will start to be able to have this entire experience delivered to your door. Craft beer and specialty cocktails alike will start popping up on your Uber menus, giving you the opportunity to pair drinks and food in whatever way you’d like, and without ever leaving your television and pyjamas!
A renewed focus on sustainability
If you’ve ever been to a festival or outdoor event, you have probably been saddened, or at least noticed, the amount of plastic cups on the ground or in the trash. This is a huge problem for big events like this, as they can’t exactly move to glass for safety reasons. It also affects bars, as many bars only allow plastic on rooftops or patios, and for good reasons.
Many bars are moving toward reusable cups and straws, even for their outdoor areas. Some are using either stronger plastic that can be washed or even taken home by customers, while others are getting creative with wood glasses and bamboo straws, which are made from recycled wood and can be washed and reused again and again. This can also drive a bit of profit from customers as many people will buy a certain drink because of the fun receptacle it comes in. Here are some other ways bars are taking sustainability to the next level.
Drinking to (or for) your health
Many drinkers are cheersing to more than just a good night out, they’re saying cheers to health! Ingredients like tumeric and drinks like cold pressed juices are making their way into specialty cocktails. While a turmeric latte might sound familiar to many of us, turmeric cocktails are now hitting the bars by storm. Alcohol will never be the best thing in the world for us, but this new trend is making drinking alcohol just slightly better for our health.
Shirley Temples, but for adults
Along to drinking for our health, a new and fairly surprising trend in bars is a larger and more exciting menu of non-alcoholic drinks. Gone is the standard Shirley Temple or other mocktails of our youth, here to stay is alcoholic free craft beer, cocktails and even teas and coffee drinks. Part of the reason for this trend is the new “sober curiosity”, which you can read more about here. More and more of the younger generation is making a conscious decision to either drink less, or not drink at all, which is allowing bars to capitalise on the change and create inspiring alcohol free menus.
The future of bars is here, and it looks a whole lot like a new focus on health and wellness, along with continued interest in craft and specialty cocktails. Head out to your nearest cocktail bar and see if you can spot one or two of these trends on the list, and give it a shot!