The National Restaurant Association's inaugural “What’s Hot in 2013 - Alcohol” survey of nearly 200 professional bartenders – members of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) – shows onsite barrel-aged drinks, food-liquor pairings, and culinary cocktails will be the hottest trends on restaurant drink menus. Already a strong trend on restaurant menus, local sourcing will also play a big role in mixology next year.
Here are the top 10 drink menu trends for 2013:
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
“It was great to work with the National Restaurant Association on this project,” said David Nepove, USBG national president. “How wonderful that a survey about cocktails was the result of key bartenders from across the country, as they are the individuals who are setting many of these trends and see them in action every day. The top trends have not only proven popular with guests, but also allow bartenders to use their creative and professional talents in flavor-making, giving full justice to the craft of mixology.”
Items that received the highest scores as yesterday’s news are: hard lemonade, non-alcoholic wine, “skinny” cocktails, dessert-flavored cocktails, white sangria, frozen cocktails, light beer, kosher wine, and boxed wine.
Items that received the highest scores as perennial favorites are: red wine, white wine, French wine, citrus fruit and olives as garnish, stouts, Scotch whisky, porters, and food-wine pairings.
Also included in the survey were questions about technology trends, attitudes toward culinary cocktails, and dining at the bar. Sixty-seven percent of the bartenders said that adding culinary cocktails to drink menus is a good way to build business, and 26 percent said culinary cocktails are fun to make because they let the bartender’s creativity shine.
Bartenders also said that dining at the bar is becoming more popular, and that social media will play a big role in attracting bar patrons in 2013.
In addition, more than half (51 percent) said they are seeing more guests dining at the bar rather than being seated at a table compared to two years ago; 36 percent said they have seen no change in the number of guests dining at the bar, and only 4 percent said that dining at the bar is less popular.
These and many other restaurant trends will be showcased at the 2013 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event, to be held May 19-20, at Chicago’s McCormick Place.
For complete What’s Hot in 2013 survey results, video and downloadable images, visit Restaurant.org/FoodTrends.