Top Ten Tasty Cocktail Concoctions of 2016


Over the past year, culture, politics and even the environment have inspired cocktail creations. Sometimes, drink ideas have resurfaced due to the new desire for a unique cocktail flavor. Listed below are the top ten cocktail concoction trends of 2016 that span a variety of flavors from across the globe.

1. Vintage Victories

Authentic, classic ingredients have made their way back into the classic cocktail culture. With a couple twists here and there, classic cocktails have been a desired drink this year. “New classics” are also presented every day as a way of sticking to tradition, but reinventing a favorite from the past. Examples of these cocktails would be the classic "Sloe Gin Fizz" with sloe gin, lemon, agave and the classic daiquiris.

2. Asian Ascension

Cocktails have been reinvented with the use of Asian flavors and techniques. These savory drinks include ingredients like miso, Sichuan peppercorn and salted plums. This is a great drink to explore the savory side of the drink world. Examples include the "Tiger’s Cup" made with Old Tom gin, shishito, lemon, sea salt and tonic and the "Umami Mary" made with miso, shiitake, lemon, tomato and clamato.

3. Clean Cocktails

Cocktails that use fresh, organic ingredients are trending throughout the bars. Sustainably grown ingredients are a way to show an initiative towards responsible and natural production of ingredients. Natural concoctions include no added flavors, sugars or colors. Examples include the "Zest Beet Sangria" made with organic red wine, organic beet juice and fresh organic fruit and handmade cider made with 100% Virginia Newton Pippin apples.

4. Mexican Masterpieces

Cocktails have followed the trend with the rise of Mexican foods and ingredients within the U.S. diet. Mexican cocktail culture has become one of the top trends due to constant taste for tequila. Examples include the "China Dance Club" made with Mexican stool lemon, salted cacao bitters and egg white and the "Bacanora Negroni" made with Bacarona, gran classico, cynar, Barolo chinato and mole bitters.

5. Spirited South America

Known for Pisco, grape-based brandy, South American cocktails give a sour punch to the cocktail trend list. The lighter concoctions have gained attention due to the versatile blending of white rum or vodka. Examples include the "Campsite" made with campo de encanto pisco, Campari, bonal gentiane quina, IPA and cucumber and the "Lil Smokey" made with mescal, Brazillian sugarcane spirit, cachaca, pineapple juice and sage-lime garnish.

6. Retro Reality

Hipster ways aside, bars are beginning to lean away from snobbery and condescension of those not as well-versed in the ways of cocktails. Now, high class bars are serving tacky cocktails, like tiki drinks, to follow the new cocktail craze emerging. Higher class bars are playing with old recipes in order to give them a new classy twist without intimidating newcomers. Examples are the "Shandy on Ice" made with Jagermeister, heirloom peach liqueur, lemon, cardamom bitters and Mri pineapple wheat beer and the "Sardina" made with Midori melon, Hendrick’s gin, fresh kiwi, white cranberry and fresh sour.

7. Veggie Variety

Cocktails have begun to experiment with veggie purees and juices in order to create both savory and sweet drinks. Trends also involve adding herbs to the mix to offset the fruit or veggie. Examples include the "Still Life" made with Absolut Elyx vodka, dry vermouth, vinegar, kombu, seaweed and green tea bitters and the "Chupacabra" made with Tapatio Blanco tequila, Bonal Gentian Quina, carrot, lime turmeric, whey and root beer.

8. Super Savory

Bartenders are now using seeds, nuts, vegetables, mushroom, seaweed and fermented foods to provide interesting yet trendy savory cocktails to the masses. Examples include the "Deli Slang" made with dry gin, lemon verbena, buttermilk, suze, horseradish, lemon, agave and egg white and the "Floraison Gin" made with gin, almond liqueur, lemon and Aleppo pepper.

9. Bringing Back the Disco Days

Another new cocktail trend is the desire to bring back the '70s and '80s. Bartenders are reinstating old disco cocktails in hopes of spurting memories of youthful days back into the mix. The surprise though is that more than just the old timers are giving these cocktails a whirl. Examples include the "Grasshopper" made with crème de menthe et cacao, vanilla ice cream, Fernet-Branca and sea salt and the "Harvey Wallbanger" made with Absolut vodka, Galliano liqueur and orange juice.

10. Aggressive Agave

This ingredient is found in more than just tequila shots as it makes its way into the cocktail concoction market that has bar-goers singing. Examples include the "Oaxacan Negroni" made with reposado tequila with gin, Campari and Barolo chinato with cola nut extract and the "Agave Service" made with Rey Compero, madre-cuise, Hacienda de Chihuahua sotol, sangrita, orange and sal de gusano.

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