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Diageo Reserve Global Cocktailian Lauren Mote is at the forefront of what’s shaping the future of the cocktail industry. So there is no better expert to take us through what’s hot for 2018. We explore everything, from sustainability to culinary cocktails, but more importantly how to bring these trends to life in your bar and stay ahead of the curve.

The boom of cocktail culture

Cocktail culture is skyrocketing internationally. Almost 9 out of 10 millennial drinkers (88%) enjoy cocktails on a night out. With Asia, the Middle East and Latin America now represented on the World’s 50 Best Bar list, the cocktail revolution is spreading around the globe. Bar staff are bringing new ideas, techniques and cultural influences, and the result is a dynamic, fast-paced industry where new concepts are emerging and inspiring people to drink better the world over.

How to stay ahead of the trends

It is crucial to understand, emerging themes don’t need to be new, they can just be an adaptation of “things people care about” - something that elicits an emotional response and causes action and evolution. We are in an exciting time of communication, education, and expert category knowledge. We are able to formulate more informed opinions that make an impact. Bar staff have the ability to create meaningful change more than any other profession in the world because we inspire more people on a daily basis.

This year at Diageo World Class, I had the opportunity to present the Trends seminar alongside Dre Masso, Matt Preston, Alex Kratena and Charles Joly. Below are some of the up and coming themes that will be making a mark in 2018 and more importantly some tips about how you can use them in your bar.

What’s up and coming in the world of cocktails

It’s all about sustainability

In a recent consumer poll, nearly one in two customers expressed a willingness to pay a 10% premium for goods produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. As well as helping the environment, sustainability can also make sound business sense for bar owners. Dre Masso commented: “The world is waking up to the impact their choices have on the environment, as sustainable methods and ingredients are becoming increasingly important. The mixologists who embrace this new reality are the ones who will flourish. There is an opportunity for the industry to get behind some ‘easy to execute’ initiatives. Sustainability covers more than just ‘waste’– we want to create an environment where ‘sustainable’ also describes our staffing programs and meals, too.”

How to use sustainability in your venue

Some of the best ways to bring sustainability to life in your venue are extremely simple. For example, you could start by getting rid of disposable napkins and straws. You could replace these straws with metal ones and instead of placing every cocktail on a paper napkin why not invest in stylish leather coasters that can be reused and look better with age? You could also look at the sustainability of your ingredients and look at ways you can reuse them. If you are using lemon in your venue why not make a syrup by using the lemon husks.

Signature serves

One of the original cocktail innovators, Giuseppe Cipriani, created the Bellini in Venice in the 1930s, and today the home of the Bellini – Harry’s Bar – is a must-visit destination for cocktail lovers. With people spending 5% more on luxury experiences than luxury goods, bar owners are set to thrive. Alex Kratena said: “The world’s best bars are already ‘must visit’ destinations for drink-savvy tourists. I expect to see a rise in signature serves in 2018 as bar owners come to appreciate the value in letting their talented mixologists free themselves from ‘what’s expected’ and strive to create unique drink experiences.”

How to create a signature serve

As signature serve can be anything from a completely new and innovative cocktail to a twist on a classic. The key factor that makes a serve a signature serve, is that it is unique to your venue. Think about the ingredients you are using, the presentation and how you will promote this serve to your customer, for example as a recommended serve on your menu. Decide on what makes your signature serve special and different and make sure you tell your customer about it!

Culinary cocktails

These are popping up in some of the world’s top bars, whether it’s a foie gras infused Manhattan or a ‘Margherita’ pizza cocktail (pioneered at London’s Bunga Bunga) featuring gin infused with pizza crusts. Matt Preston said: “With the rise in the last decade of celebrity chefs and interest in cuisine, the most enlightened mixologists will experiment with flavours, ingredients and techniques from their peers in the world of fine dining.”

How to create culinary cocktails

In terms of how you can use this style of serve in your venue, there are plenty of opportunities. You could create aperitifs to offer your customers ahead of a meal or digestifs at the end of a meal. Your menu can play a big part in promoting these culinary serves and you could even create a bespoke aperitif or digestif menu or you could include them as paired serves within a food menu. A great tip with food pairing is to complement the flavours of the serve with the cuisine style. If your venue does not have a restaurant you can still offer these culinary and savoury inspired cocktails as something different for your customers to try and you could even pair them with any nibbles your venue might offer.

Here are a few of Lauren’s favourite recipes to help you bring her serves to life in your bar!

Kernel Horchata cocktail

Containing starchy rice and almond milk, this culinary cocktail is one to try to bring this trend to life.


15ml Apple brandy

15ml Oloroso sherry

90ml Starchy rice and almond milks

2ml Moondog latin american bitters


Roll the ingredients with ice

Move from one metal tin with a hawthorne strainer to another for 10 seconds to lightly aerate/chill.

Pour neat into a clay cup, and top with grated nutmeg.

(2.0 standard drinks*- 1.8 units per serve)

Find more recipes perfect to help bring these trends to life in your bar this year.

The Café Cantata

This cocktail pays homage to one of the first sustainably sourced agricultural products - coffee.


15ml Banana liqueur

15ml Red vermouth

60ml Cold brew Mexican espresso

7ml Tea leaves & flower syrup

2ml Arabica coffee bitters


Roll the ingredients with ice

Move from one metal tin with a hawthorne strainer to another for 5 seconds to lightly aerate.

Pour over crushed ice, top with coffee beans, and the banana leaf down the side.

Add a metal or bamboo straw and serve.

(2.4 standard drinks*- 1.8 units per serve)

There are lots of ways that you can promote sustainability in your bar, see some more tips here.

Juniper Cream Soda

This cocktail is an approach to a “cream soda” using gin and tonic as a loose base and building a signature serve from there.


30ml Herbal liqueur and Manzanilla Sherry

30ml Clarified watermelon juice

15ml Mexican vanilla bean syrup

60ml Kombucha

2ml Plum & rootbeer bitters


Combine all ingredients together in a pony keg (or use a Perlini Shaker, or Table Top Carbonator)

Carbonate with a 80% CO2 and 20% NO2 solution (if you only have CO2 that’s fine too)

Allow to stand 48 hours in a cooler

The following day, keg the mix (be mindful the mix is under pressure) and pour carefully into individual glass bottles, cap with a crown capper, and replace to the cooler until service.

( 2.1 standard drinks*- 3.7 units per serve)

Check out some more top tips for creating the ultimate signature serve here.

Need more inspiration?

Here are some more mainstream recipes perfect to be enjoyed all around the world:

BAILEYS flat white martini cocktail

This rich sweet serve is the perfect digestif to offer to after dinner diners.




25ml Espresso

3 Coffee Beans


Pre-prepare a martini glass by chilling it with ice

Add all of the ingredients to a cocktail shaker

Shake until cold and double strain into martini glass

Garnish by adding three coffee beans to top of the drink

( 2.0 standard drinks*- 2.3 units per serve)

A bloody easy mary

A classic culinary serve for a pre-lunch crowd.



125ml Tomato Juice

15ml Worcester sauce

3 Drops of tabasco

2 Grinds of pepper

2 Grinds of salt

1 Squeezed lemon wedge

1 Celery stick


Add all ingredients to highball glass

Stir well to mix and chill

Garnish with a stick of celery

( 2.0 standard drinks*- 1.6 units per serve)



    Crafting your own syrups provides a new flavour experience for your customer and helps you save money.



    World Class bartender James Fowler tells us why he thinks food pairing is a trend to get excited about.



    As the world of Scotch continues to grow, Ewan Gunn reveals why food and whisky are a match made in heaven.



    Why are signature serves so popular at the moment and, more importantly, how do you create one? 

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(*One standard drink contains 8g of alcohol)