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Blogs & Inspiration

2024'S TOP BAR INDUSTRY TRENDS

Get ahead  of the curve with the drinks trends set to take 2024 by storm, with quick and easy how-to videos.

Author: Kaitlyn Stewart, Global Bartending Champion & World Class Judge

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

Minimalist cocktails, savoury drinks, fat-washing, high-tech techniques, and value-for-money experiences are all on the menu for 2024.

As 2024 unfolds, the world of mixology is set to be shaken and stirred by a fresh wave of trends. From minimalist masterpieces to umami bombs, get ready to experiment with new flavours and techniques. Global Bartending Champion, Kaitlyn Stewart, tells us all about this year's five most anticipated bar trends, featuring quick and easy how-to videos so you can recreate them at your own venue. 

1. MINIMALIST COCKTAILS: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY

This year, less is more. The minimalism trend is focused on the quality of ingredients rather than quantity – bringing three-ingredient cocktails back to the forefront of mixology. Like many recent trends such as hyper-seasonal cocktails, minimalist cocktails have been influenced by the rise of sustainability. By using fewer ingredients, each to their fullest potential, you can reduce wastage.

But minimalist cocktails don’t just benefit the environment. By using fewer ingredients in your drink, your guest can appreciate the quality and flavour of each more – giving all components of your cocktail the opportunity to shine.

BAR INSPIRATION: Artesian in London have several minimalist cocktails on their menu including their ‘soil’ cocktail, which is a twist on the dirty martini, made up of just vodka, sake, ‘soil scent’ and koji. An extreme amount of thought has gone into every detail of this cocktail, from the carefully selected ingredients, to its glassware and earthy aromatics which really highlight the liquid in the glass.

Want to try the minimalism trend yourself? Have a go at making Kaitlyn’s recipe below. 

Peruvian Pepper Tequila Tini

A blend of tequila, Fino sherry and Peruvian pickled pepper juice all in perfect harmony with one another to create a deliciously sweet and spicy serve.

Watch Now: Make a Minimalist Cocktail in Minutes

      

2. FAT-WASHING: OILS, BUTTERS & MILK WASHING

Bartenders have been manipulating the texture of their drinks through cocktail clarification since the 1700s, but recently an increasing number of mixologists are using more unconventional ingredients to change the consistency of their creations.

Fat-washing has become a very popular way to alter the texture of spirits and cocktails. It’s a technique that involves infusing an oily ingredient such as butter into alcohol, then freezing the liquid so the fat resolidifies and separates. The separated fat is then scraped off, and the flavour of the fat remains in the liquid, leaving behind a silky-smooth texture.

Milk is one of the most common ingredients to use for fat-washing but in 2024, expect to see bartenders use more uncommon cocktail ingredients such as coconut oil and sesame oil to elevate their drinks.

Ready to give fat-washing a try? Watch Kaitlyn’s easy step-by-step tutorial on how to fat-wash Tanqueray No.10 using coconut oil.

Watch Now: How To Fat-Wash with Coconut Oil

     

3. SAVOURY DRINKS: UMAMI BOMBS

Many of the world’s best bars are now using savoury, umami (the savoury fifth taste) ingredients to create complex flavour profiles in their drinks. Umami cocktail ingredients predicted to boom in popularity in 2024 include tahini, miso, mushrooms and seaweed.

BAR INSPIRATION: Paradiso, Barcelona, feature tahini and sweet potato in a smoky calvados and bourbon cocktail called ‘On Fire’ on their menu. The Savory Project in Hong Kong are using even more unusual cocktail ingredients like beef jerky and corn husks. 

TOP TIP: To create your own umami cocktails, look to your favorite foods for inspiration. Take Thai coconut chicken soup as an example – here you have the flavours of coconut, lemongrass, chilli, and coriander. These are all excellent ingredients to use in a savoury-style cocktail.  

One of my favorite savoury ingredients to work with is miso paste. You can incorporate it into an orgeat for a salty, nutty, umami flavour. This pairs amazingly in a mai tai style cocktail or whiskey sour, lending a depth of flavour and savory element to a sour-style drink.

Watch Now: Making Miso Orgeat

One of my favorite savoury ingredients to work with is miso paste. You can incorporate it into an orgeat for a salty, nutty, umami flavour. This pairs amazingly in a mai tai style cocktail or whiskey sour, lending a depth of flavour and savory element to a sour-style drink.

HIGH-TECH TECHNIQUES: SWITCHING

Bartenders are now taking a more scientific approach when creating cocktails, and one technique that’s gaining traction in the world of mixology is ‘switching’. This technique came on the cocktail scene around 2019 from the masterminds at Panada & Sons in Edinburgh, Scotland.

‘Switching’ requires an ultra-low freezer so the small amount of water in a spirit can freeze, be taken out and replaced by another complementary liquid. For example, Iain McPherson who invented the technique switched the water with a mix of orange juice and clarified grapefruit juice. By using this technique, it allows you to amplify existing flavours in your spirit, add texture and mimic barrel finishings. 

Top tips for switching:

  • Make sure you’ve purchased the right type of freezer (ultra-low).
  • Switch the frozen water with a liquid that either highlights or complements the flavour profiles in your spirit of choice. For example, switching in a green tea infusion into a dry vermouth to highlight the tannins and earthy undertones. 
  • Experiment with using clarified juices. Not only are they shelf stable, but they won’t change the colour or texture of your switched spirit.

4. VALUE FOR MONEY

With many people feeling the pinch amidst a cost-of-living crisis, another key trend is offering value for money.  

BAR INSPIRATION: Bars such as Swift in London offer an ‘Aperitivo Hour’ which gives people an opportunity to try their cocktails for a slightly reduced price during the after-work period. Coupette in London use Sundays as an opportunity to test out new recipes with their guests and brands help to contribute to the cost.  

These are both innovative ways to offer a more friendly price point in your bar rather than a blanket ‘happy hour deal’. 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Minimalist cocktails are trending. By using fewer ingredients, each to their fullest potential, you can reduce wastage and give each ingredient the opportunity to shine. 
  • In 2024, expect to see an increasing number of bartenders using more unconventional cocktail ingredients such as coconut oil and sesame oil to fat-wash their drinks.
  • Many of the world’s best bars are using savoury, umami (the savoury fifth taste) ingredients to create complex flavour profiles in their drinks. Umami cocktail ingredients are predicted to boom in popularity in 2024 include tahini, miso, mushrooms and seaweed
  • ‘Switching’ is a technique that’s becoming increasingly popular. The technique involves freezing the water in a spirit and replacing it with a different liquid such as grapefruit juice. This allows you to highlight existing flavours, add texture and mimic barrel finishings.
  • More bars are now offering value for money in response to the cost-of-living crisis. To offer more budget-friendly drinks, try testing out new cocktails with guests on less popular days of the week or running an after-work ‘Aperitivo Hour’ deal.

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