When it comes to drinking, we’re headed toward a “pleasure revolution.” That prediction comes courtesy of the Bacardi 2023 Cocktail Trends Report, an annual look-ahead on cocktails and spirits conducted by drinks giant Bacardi and trend forecasters The Future Lab.
In the fourth annual edition of the Cocktail Trends Report, five macrotrends are identified for 2023 and beyond: Pleasure revolution, transformational tastes, virtual experimentation, sophisticated sips and conscious cocktails.
Breaking those down:
- Pleasure revolution: Consumers will be prioritizing new ingredients with an emphasis on “fun and frivolous flavors” (with the mojito and daiquiri the most “sought-after” cocktails). And those drinks may not be in a bar — the top places respondents are drinking were restaurants and at home.
- Transformational tastes: The report suggests a “surge” in spicy drinks, with tequila or vodka-based cocktails being paired with unexpected ingredients like jalapeños and Tabasco and consumers embracing spices and seasonings such as tamarind, tajin, chipotle and cardamon. One particular benefactor of the spicy revolution: The spicy margarita, which saw 48% growth in average monthly Google searches between September 2021 and September 2022. Not spicy but making major waves: The espresso martini (which we’ve discussed recently) and aged rums.
- Virtual experimentation: We’re going online to both order drinks and learn how to make them. 35% of respondents in the U.S. now order cocktails-to-go from a bar or restaurant, while a similar percentage (33%) use a third-party delivery service. On the more extremes of the technological side, the metaverse (remember that?) figures to play a bigger role in the drinks industry; Angel’s Envy, for example, launched the first metaverse distillery in 2022.
- Sophisticated sips: Bartenders are expecting “simpler serves” in 2023 but drinks that utilize more premium ingredients, thanks to consumers continuing to embrace high-end spirits — most notably tequila, but also single malts, aged rum and mezcal.
- Conscious cocktails: Sustainable ingredients, reducing waste and recyclable packaging are all ideas on the minds of drinkers, although it depends on the locale. Sadly, respondents in emerging markets including India, Mexico and South Africa showed a larger percentage of respondents seeing sustainability as an important factor in their consumption preferences compared with developed countries such as the U.S. and U.K.
Other trends mentioned included a continued interest in non-alcoholic and low-proof (NoLo) drinks, hotel bars as community hubs (and not just a place for guests to drink) and a re-embracing of fun, sugary drinks – “think 90s
and 2000s ‘cringe’ cocktails like cosmopolitans and passion fruit martinis,” as the report suggests.
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