The future of Cocktail culture
(Reuters) -Cocktail culture is booming and showing no signs of slowing, with forecasts showing that by 2020, there will be 400 million new consumers drinking luxury spirits. Historically cocktails were enjoyed by the Europeans and Americans but the industry is now growing on a global scale, stretching far beyond the
confines of New York and London. In the past five years, consumption of spirits has risen by 26% in Africa and the Middle East, 15% across Asia and 22% in China.
In turn, cocktails are leading the way on a global scale with bartenders experimenting with ingredients and playing with technologies to satisfy the senses. But in a world where we are constantly looking for the next big thing, they need to be one step ahead of the game.
WORLD CLASS, the most respected bartender competition in the world – an initiative by spirits company Diageo to inspire the world to drink better – has partnered with renowned future consultancy, The Future Laboratory, to delve into the future of cocktails and reveal the trends set to revolutionise our drinking experiences.
The WORLD CLASS: Future of Cocktails report explores an exciting cross-pollination of cultures as globe-trotting cocktail drinkers spark new experiences, court controversy and over-turn boundaries. Launched at the WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year Global Final competition in Miami, the report reveals the top
trends and themes to look out for…
The Context: As we spend more time online, we are more opinionated than ever. In turn, people are looking to brands to do the same and stand for something – 40% of people say we want a purposeful brand.
Controversy Cocktails – The Trend: When it comes to cocktail making, forward thinking bar owners are ditching the traditional rules and reclaiming their creativity – making what they want to make, in the way they want to make it
1) Doing it my Way
Once upon a time, the customer was always right. The next
generation of bartenders are more willing to voice their
opinions and giving up on trying to please all of the people,
all of the time. You wouldn’t go to a Michelin starred
restaurant and tell the chef how to dress a salad, so why tell
an experienced bartender how to make a Mojito?
As Benjain Padrón Novo, owner of Mexico’s Licoreria Limantour
explains: “I always get customers asking me to sweeten the
drinks we serve, even though by doing so it’ll dilute the taste
of the spirit or the fruit. So, now, we just say no – and
explain our reason to the guest. It’s all part of the education
2) Performance (B)art & Provocative Theatre
To exhilarate and trigger a reaction from customers, bars are
starting to add theatre to the experience, leaving a strong
impression with patrons.
At Operation Dagger in Singapore, a dramatic cloud of lightbulbs
on the ceiling greets drinkers, while owner Luke Whearty’s
installation of fake CCTV cameras in the toilets adds a
provocative dynamic. His cocktails are pure theatre too: vodka
infused with pH-sensitive blue pea flower and bright lemongrass,
which when mixed with champagne, the bubbles transform the
cobalt liquor into fluorescent pink.
3) The Next Generation Menu
Cocktails have evolved significantly over the years but menus
have stayed the sameuntil now. Innovative bartenders are now
going against the traditions of the trade and thinking about new
creative ways consumers can relate to drinks and navigate the
menu. Rather than having traditional names of cocktails, new
menus invite exploration and engage with the drinker. Trick Dog,
in San Francisco, has replaced all cocktail names with
astrological signs and Pantone colours, while Fragrances at The
Ritz-Carlton in Berlin is the first bar where you can order
drinks based on perfumes and aromas.
The Context: In a world where people now value experiences over
possessions, we are seeing the rise of the emotional economy
with people looking for deeper connections to brands.
Emotional Cocktails – The Trend: Bartenders have always been
early adaptors when it comes to connecting with people – the
social aspect of their job gives them a strong insight into how
people think. Trendsetting bar owners and drinks brands are now
establishing even more innovative ways to connect deeper with
4) Cocktails with feelings
In the next decade, look out for bars who ditch the traditional
menus and list their cocktails by mood instead. Drinks will be
tailored to conjure a specific emotion – you may be given a red
cocktail to stimulate confidence, a yellow one for friendship or
a black drink for discipline.
Using sense of sight and smell to direct cocktail drinkers’
emotions, Seymour’s Parlour in London is using scent to plug
into pleasurable and nostalgic memories, emitting the smell of
freshly-mown grass to summon images of spring and smoked pine to
plunge guests into a cosy autumn evening.
5) Story in a glass
Cocktails are now being used to tell a story and transport
drinkers to exotic places. Local spirits such as Baijiu
(distilled from wheat or glutinous rice from a 5,000-year-old
recipe) are being used to introduce people to Chinese
Forward thinking bar Artesian in London taps into the personal
experiences of customers asking about recent holidays and
creating a cocktail that captures that mood and essence in a
6) Introducing the Micro-friend
People are looking for instant connections to savour the here
and now and bartenders often fit the bill. A new trend, ‘the
micro-friend’, sees bartenders focusing on building
relationships with customers in the short time that they have
with them. According to Australian Tim Philips, former WORLD
CLASS Bartender of the Year, some ‘micro-friendships’ are built
in as little as 30-45 minutes, equivalent to the time it takes
to drink one cocktail.
“Making a micro-friend is all about getting that emotional
connection with someone quickly and definitely has an effect on
how much people like your bar,” he explains. So expect your
bartender to ask you questions about your weekend, work and
family life to turn you from a customer into a friend
FLUID IDENTITY PATRONS
The Context: According to the UN, a record 232m people are
living outside the country in which they were born. Considering
ourselves ‘borderless’, we define ourselves more by our
lifestyles or musical tastes than we do by our country of
Fluid Identity Patrons – The Trend: Ahead-of-the-curve bar
owners are catering for drinkers who have a healthy disregard
7) Leave gender at the door
The days of drinks being considered ‘manly’ or ‘girly’ are over.
Boundaries are blurring and as society evolves beyond
traditional gender norms, people are feeling liberated with
their choice of tipple. Bartenders are now using ‘gender
neutral’ language to describe, name and serve cocktails.
Look out for ‘Brosé’ – men unapologetically enjoying Rosé wine
and women confidently sipping an Old Fashioned.
8) A career, not a job
As consumers become more clued up and demand more at the bar,
the role of the bartender is evolving too. Global competitions
such as WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year show how professional
bartending relies on sharp skills, creative vision and an
ability to wow; fluid identity in action.
Alex Kratena, founder of global drinks collective P(OUR)
explains: “The best bartenders now have to keep up with the
assertive, knowledgeable and worldly cocktail drinker – so they
have to be at the top of their game and offer that extra
This has led to exciting career prospects as bars invest in
their staff more than ever, sending them around the world to
develop local heroes that will further grow the cocktail scene.
Licoreria Limantour supports its bartenders who save up to train
abroad in order to hone their skills, while Outrage in South
Africa equips staff with all the skills they need – from
sourcing key ingredients and tools to running a full service
9) Multi-skilled bartenders
Bartenders are a multi-talented bunch, increasingly with fluid
identities of their own. Part chef, part barista, part patissier
– this role now extends far beyond the bar.
Pushing the boundaries still further, these multi-skilled
bartenders are challenging their customers over what constitutes
a cocktail. “The most memorable course I had at The Clove Club,
was this hundred-year-old Madeira,” says Mike Knowlden,
co-director of Blanch & Shock. “They pour you a tiny bit, which
you get to taste, and then they pour a duck consommé over the
top, and it becomes a duck soup effectively. It left me with a
fascinating thought: why can’t a consommé be a cocktail?”
“Cocktails have evolved far beyond their classic form of a mixed
liquid in a glass. Creative bar staff equipped with the latest
ingredients, technologies and ideas are changing the whole
concept of the cocktail – and leaving us all thirsty for what
comes next,” says Tom Savigar, Senior Partner, The Future
Visit theworldclassclub.com to read the full report and find out
For more information on WORLD CLASS and the WORLD CLASS
Bartender of the Year competition contact:
Global Press Office:
T: +44 (0) 2890 395500
U.S specific Press Office:
T: +1 (0) 312 636 4179
Notes to Editors
*Source: World’s best 50 bars, Euromonitor, ASKCIA
About WORLD CLASS
WORLD CLASS is on a mission to inspire people to drink better
and create unforgettable experiences in the process. Whether at
home or in a bar, WORLD CLASS encourages consumers to think and
care about fine drinking in the same way they care about fine
WORLD CLASS has supported, trained and inspired 250,000
bartenders across the globe over the past eight years, while
partnering them with the world’s finest spirits – the Diageo
Reserve Collection. WORLD CLASS is also the authority on the
drinks industry whom consumers look to for the information on
the latest drinks trends, cocktail recipes and industry insight.
World Class hosts the ‘WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year’ – the
world’s most prestigious bartending competition. After local
competition around the globe, 56 of the world’s finest
bartenders compete to be crowned the world’s best bartender.
Visit theworldclassclub.com for more information.
About Diageo Reserve
Created in 2004, Diageo’s Reserve division focuses on the global
luxury opportunity, bringing together brands built on strong
heritage, craftsmanship and authenticity. This luxury portfolio
consists of Johnnie Walker Blue Label, Cîroc, Don Julio,
Tanqueray No. TEN, Ketel One vodka, Zacapa and a fine collection
of Single Malts. The Reserve portfolio accounts for over 15% of
Diageo’s total sales, and has grown by 7% this financial year.
Diageo is a global leader in beverage alcohol with an
outstanding collection of brands including Johnnie Walker, Crown
Royal, J&B, Buchanan’s and Windsor whiskies, Smirnoff and Cîroc
vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and
Diageo is listed on both the London Stock Exchange (DGE) and the
New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and our products are sold in more
than 180 countries around the world. For more information about
Diageo, our people, our brands, and performance, visit us at
www.diageo.com. Visit Diageo’s global responsible drinking
resource, www.DRINKiQ.com, for information, initiatives, and
ways to share best practice.
Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.
Content provided by Smarts Communicate, via Reuters.