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top view cocktail topped with herbs

It seems everything evolves, and the cocktail options being marketed to and sold at local bars is no different.

And when guests do find the hot spots with unusual drinks, they’re willing to spread the news and take to social media to post pictures of their unique find. Of course, this means added promotion for the lucky bar, and a reputation of being a unique venue with note-worthy drinks.

Want to raise eyebrows and bar tabs with your cocktail offerings? Let’s take a look at some of the popular trends that are getting talked about at watering holes coast to coast.

the local revolution is being supported by chefs and dining guests alike.

Alcoholic cocktail trends worth noting

  • Cocktail concoctions: Cocktails aren’t just about alcohol anymore. Nowadays you can get drinks made with fruit, vegetables, herbs, or even meat. The modern world of cocktail creation isn’t about excluding these solid food items from the list of ingredients for unique cocktails; it’s about adding whatever items will help enhance the drink’s flavor. Bacon, perhaps?

The Dorrance in Providence offers a variety of unique cocktails on its menu. Perhaps one of the most interesting is My Bloody Valentine, which features roasted habanero infused El Buho Mezcal, Cherry Herring, Punt e Mes and Blood Orange.

  • Ice, ice, baby

If you aren’t considering ice as part of a cocktail, then you may want to think again. Once ice melts, it contributes to the dilution of the drink. Too much ice and you get too much dilution, taking away from the overall taste of any cocktail.

To help preserve the taste of those potent potables, some bartenders are spending more time preparing the ice. Small cubes or crushed ice will melt quickly, leading to a watered-down beverage. However, if your glass has a bigger sphere of ice in it, the libation won’t suffer from ice melt. This is because the larger sphere does not melt as quickly as smaller pieces of ice.

Word on the street is that you can get ice spheres in your drinks at The Hawthorne in Boston.


  • Cocktail trends use the local terroir

Terroir is about utilizing the flavors of the geography and climate. These unique characteristics can equate to consuming extremely local ingredients, which often leads to unique concoctions.

There’s no surprise that local ingredients are popular with bartenders. As we’ve pointed out in an article about the National Restaurant Association’s 2014 Culinary Trends Forecast, the local revolution is being supported by chefs and dining guests alike.

Craigie on Main in Cambridge, Massachusetts has the local ingredient trend covered. Noted in Five of the best: Boston bars for farm-to-glass cocktails, one of their more popular locally sourced drinks is the Through the Woods: sparkling wine, mixed with spiced apples grown locally in central Massachusetts and Grade B maple syrup from nearby Vermont.

  • Artisanal offerings in cocktail trends

Why use alcohol that was prepared in large batches when you can use a small batch artisanal liquor that has received such attention and care?

Some bartenders have apparently pondered that same question, and in response, started offering special artisanal drinks. The Back Deck in Boston is mixing the trends of artisanal alcohol and local ingredients together when their bartenders offer Berkshire Bourbon in whiskey drinks. And let’s not forget about The Cape Cod Fizz 9, which features both local cranberries from Cape Cod, and vodka from the Triple Eight Distillery in Nantucket, Massachusetts.

  • Bitters

Bitters have come back with force. Local bars are offering bitters in a variety of drinks, and some are even going the distance and making their own bitters to complement drinks just right.

The Eddy in Providence offers The Derby, which is made with Four Roses bourbon, punt e mes sweet vermouth, orange Curacao, lime juice, and old fashioned bitters.

Avenue N Restaurant in Rumford, Rhode Island offers homemade bitters in some of their craft cocktails. The Harvester consists of Poire William Brandy, brown sugar simple syrup, plum bitters and lemon.


  • Cocktail trends that aid in digestion

Amari is an after-dinner liqueur designed to help people digest their meal easier. What’s a better way to use this liqueur than to add it to cocktails, yielding wonderful creations.

Places like Catalyst Restaurant in Cambridge’s Kendall Square and Tavern Road in Boston have a selection of amari on their menus.

  • Lambise

According to Nightclub & Bar, “Lambise, a blend of Belgian Lambic and Belgian Ale, was crafted as a half-way step between strong lambics and less assertive brews specifically with cocktailing in mind.”

This cocktail beer is new to the scene, and working its way through Boston. The drink’s launch party took place at The Hawthorne and is offered at other bars like Silvertone Bar & Grill. One such drink on the menu is called Chech the Halls, and it consists of Becherovka, Lillet, lemon, Lambise Classic and a twist of lemon.

There you have it; some of the popular trends hitting bars near you. Are you participating with some of these trends? Please share your story with the community.

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