We’ve entered the last quarter of 2022. Amazing. This is the time of year when we gear up for the holidays and go out with a bang. Or, at least, try to. It’s been a long and challenging nine months, and now it’s time to pull up our bootstraps and make it to the finish line of another successful year.
To help spur you on to the end, we thought we’d share the latest bar and restaurant menu beverage trends. These nationwide trends include cocktails with side snacks, the continual integration of tea in new and different ways, and a few possibilities for the approaching holidays. Let’s explore.
The Rise of Tea
The health-conscious generations are creating a resurgence in teas, a drink rich in antioxidants, and offering unique flavors and pairings. Some restaurants combine it with herbs and fruit, while others add alcohol. Tea also offers unique tastes and aromas that combine well with different foods and desserts.
Nation’s Restaurant News (NRN) reported on Gozu. This fine-dining restaurant pairs tea with food and includes Japanese green tea with toasted brown rice and a dark oolong tea poured over amazake and sweetened with demerara sugar before set on fire.
The Interactive Cocktail
Customers looking for an experience appreciate the growing trend to serve signature cocktails with paired edible components. These 3D cocktails offer a unique presentation and texture. NRN reported on PS, a New York City speakeasy bar serving a High Tea Negroni. It’s made with gin, sweet vermouth, Brennivin Rugbraud, Faccia Brutto aperitivo, and a cracker topped with rhubarb marmalade.
At Birdie G’s, the Not Your Grandma’s Grasshopper is served with a dark chocolate mint cookie. We all know that food can increase beverage sales. Today, those snacks come with the drinks in unique presentations and flavor combinations.
Mezcal Vs. Tequila
While mezcal and tequila come from the same family, the big brother, tequila, has taken center stage for some time. Over the last four years, however, mezcal has been growing in interest and is up 60% on restaurant menus.
The difference between the two is the plant it’s derived from, the region of Mexico it’s produced, and the different flavors that manifest because of these differences. Tequila is only derived from the blue agave, and mezcal comes from a variety of agave. The name mezcal comes from “Mexicali,” which means “oven-cooked agave,” and tends to have a smoky flavor due to roasting the agave fruit in wood-fired pits. This smokey flavor is more or less dominant, depending on the brand.
One of the popular cocktails that incorporate mezcal is the Mezcal Paloma. With the combination of fresh grapefruit juice, it becomes a fusion of smokey and citrusy flavors. In addition, the use of red grapefruits can make it a perfect holiday offering.
Keeping Up on Trends
While keeping up on the latest trends can seem like a full-time job, it’s an important consideration for those restaurants wanting to appeal to certain demographics. For those in major cities, food trends are adopted at a rapid pace, and foodie-ism is now firmly rooted in our culture.
The food culture is fueled by influencers, social media, blogs, and reality TV shows, making it a phenomenon and accelerating trends significantly. Restaurants that implement trends as they are conceived can develop the reputation of being fresh and contemporary—a brand that introduces changing flavors and experiences as they are created.
As acculturation continues, the beverages and flavors from various countries and communities will have a stronger impact on America’s cuisine, and diners will continue to expect the unusual, exploring the world through food and beverages.
What are the new trends in the beverage industry?
One of the continued trends is healthier beverages that are also good for the environment. This can be seen in consumers looking for drinks and products that contain little sugar and little to no alcohol. In fact, sales of nonalcoholic beverages increased by 33% in 2021. Restaurants are pursuing this consumer trend by crafting nonalcoholic drink menus. One of the unique offerings is proxies, mixes of teas, fruits, herbs, spices, and kinds of vinegar that mimic the taste of wine.
What is the most popular drink during the holidays?
According to Patch, in 27 states in the U.S., eggnog is the most popular holiday drink. This is followed by hot buttered rum, hot toddy, and champagne. Restaurants getting in on the holiday spirit put their own unique spin on these traditional beverages. For example, the Irish-Scottish drink, the hot toddy, which generally consists of whiskey, hot water, and honey, finds alternatives with black tea and amaro.