What will be the biggest cocktail trends of 2024? - Hindustan Times

What will be the biggest cocktail trends of 2024?

Feb 25, 2024 08:23 PM IST

You might not be able to ignore the rise of coffee cocktails, a resurgence of homegrown brands and a big return to no and low-alcohol drinks.

While 2023 was the year of Negronis and home bartending, 2024 is one-upping the game with monogrammed ice cubes, Carajillos, hyper-seasonal cocktail menus and a whole new era of the low-calorie culture. As we celebrate World Bartender’s Day, the magicians who concoct and drive the world of mixology, we are taking the opportunity to peer into the crystal ball through the lens of experts to establish 25 drink trends that you can expect to be hearing about in 2024, including some cocktail trends which have survived the test of time.

We are taking the opportunity to peer into the crystal ball through the lens of experts to establish 25 drink trends that you can expect to be hearing about in 2024.
We are taking the opportunity to peer into the crystal ball through the lens of experts to establish 25 drink trends that you can expect to be hearing about in 2024.
  1. Asian spirit industry will ace: From the K-fulled-driven rise of Korean soju to more people exploring Japanese shochu, Chinese baijiu and Indonesia’s Arak Bali wine, more people will expose themselves to Asia-originated liquors and cocktails. According to Statista, in 2024, the revenue in the Soju market in India is projected to grow annually by 6.27% (CAGR 2024-2028).
  2. Fat-washing: The old perfumer’s technique of infusing bacon, butter or coconut oil flavouring the alcohol with the flavour of the meat, imparting a silkier texture like The Bombay Canteen’s Waiting List which is a coconut fat-washed, tequila-based cocktail with house-made curry leaf soda and curry leaf salt.
  3. The mandatory hyper-seasonal menu: Hyper-seasonal fruits like strawberries, and oranges in spring to mango in summer take the lead while herbs and florals like lavender, and hibiscus make way.
  4. Low-calorie cocktails and mocktails: “People are more health-conscious, so drinks with fewer calories are becoming popular. This includes cocktails made with low-sugar mixers and syrups,” says Jones Elish, Beverage Head, Social.
  5. The case of the collagen-infused cocktail: Collagen cocktails like bone broth or even their non-alcoholic counterparts like sleepy girl mocktail will see a rise as a result of social media innovations.
  6. Coffee beyond the espresso martini: While 2023 was the year of the caffeinated martini sips, experts predict Carajillos, White Russian, and Classic Irish Coffee for 2024.
  7. Ethical and sustainable credential check: According to a 2024 trend report by a spirits company, a whopping 94 per cent of Indian consumers are willing to pay more for spirits and drinks that are made sustainably.
  8. Quality over quantity: According to the above-mentioned report, 7 in 10 (72%) of bartenders, noting the rise of premiumisation within Tequila, followed by single malts, aged rum, and Mezcal, premium spirits are going to be in demand this year. Quality and storytelling in spirits will significantly impact the Indian market in 2024 with 60% of consumers willing to pay more for premium spirits. Appreciating bold, unabashed celebration of spirits at the heart of cocktails. India has moved its way through fruity, sweet cocktails to understanding the nuances of spirit-forward drinks,” says Yash Bhanage, Founder & COO at Hunger Inc. Hospitality (The Bombay Canteen)
  9. Making ‘em visual: According to Poco Loco’s bartender Vaibhav Salvi, intentional use of drama in mixology like smoke or fire will dominate 2024 to hook people on social media.
  10. Year of Indian whiskey: As per statistics published by the Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies, homemade Indian single malts account for 33% of the local market and with 95 per cent are brown, premium single malts will see a boom in 2024. This is further confirmed by recognition of homegrown distillations like Indri which recently secured the best ‘New World’ Whiskey award by VinePair following a Best Whisky In The World accolade at the Whiskies of the World Awards 2023.
  11. Personalisation: Gen Z’s desire for inclusivity and personalisation as a part of their individualistic personalities will acclimatize bars and drinking environments to tailor drinks as per specific flavours or dietary preferences.
  12. AI-based mixology advice: From chatbot-generated cocktail recipes that you can make at home to tailored recommendations narrowed down to the exact whisky brand you want and where it is available in your area, the stabilising industry of AI will play a key role in evolving the cocktail scene.
  13. Regional ice on top: With Greenland-based Arctic Ice announcing their venture of sourcing ice from the fjords of Greenland for exclusive bars in Dubai, bartenders in India are betting big on a similar trend as confirmed by On the Rocks, who supply edible ice from Himachal Pradesh.
  14. Geographical spirits will be in high demand: Geographical culture and ingredients will play a key role as more people will steer towards trying new concoctions and learning about local flavours instead of going for their usual orders like Sulai in Assam, Feni-based cocktails in Goa or Poro Apong in Arunachal.
  15. Organic mixers: House-made syrups, shrubs, and bitters on bar menus will be a big sell since more people will ask about how their mixers are sourced. This aligns with the global trend where 51% of Indian consumers express interest in cocktails made with natural ingredients in 2024.
  16. Ready-to-drink (RTD) sector is taking over: The alcoholic ready-to-drinks market in India is anticipated to surge at a CAGR of 10.29 per cent in revenue over the forecast period 2021-26 according to Research and Markets. After InACan appeared on SharkTank in 2022, the following year it became an inspiration for innovators to drive this movement in India.
  17. Regional cuisine in a sip: “The Dilli 6 at Khi Khi and the Titlie Paloma are classic examples at Khi Khi in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar. The Titlie Paloma uses a homegrown agave spirit paired with local citrus and curry leaves. The Dilli 6 at Khi Khi is a homemade thandai liqueur with almond milk and shaved mango ice,” says chef-entrepreneur Tarun Sibal.
  18. ‘Storied’ cocktails: “Rear View, inspired by Mumbai’s iconic kaali peelis (cabs), this cocktail comes with innovative ingredients like black garlic (kaali), honey (peeli), ginger, tequila, and a squeeze of lime; the Waiting List (inspired by the long queues at an Udipi restaurant in Matunga), is an aromatic coconut fat washed, a tequila-based cocktail with house-made curry leaf soda and curry leaf salt rim,” says Yash Bhanage, Founder & COO at Hunger Inc. Hospitality (The Bombay Canteen). Similarly, at Mumbai’s Slink and Bardot, mezcal-and Aperol-based Sunset At Slink is an ode to the nearby Worli Koliwada fishing village.
  19. Garnishes will garnish hard: From Fio Pop’s Caramel Popcorn Vodka Sour (popcorn-infused vodka, lemon juice, caramel syrup, egg white on top) to gin and tonic pickles to inedible garnishes meant for introducing olfactory scent or smoke infusion like Banglore-based Muro's Cuban studded steel wool to get your olfactory senses going with the Smoky Savory notes.
  20. Goa and Bangalore will rank high as emerging hotspots: From ranking in the 30BestBars 2023 Top 50 list, with 9 and 11 bars respectively, from last year's count of 6 and 1, these cities will soon compete with metropolises like Delhi and Mumbai.
  21. NoLo: Appealing to nearly half (51%) of Indian consumers on specific occasions, alcohol-free and low-alcohol beverages reflect a growing trend towards mindful drinking habits
  22. Complicated techniques will enter people’s homes: Techniques like sous vide, and clarification will become standard practices at home bars as social media and technological developments like the Apple Vision Pro headset which has on screen interactive instructions.
  23. Interactive drinking experience: PCO's textile-inspired cocktail menu not only offers innovative drinks but also narrates stories crafted by mixologists, blending advanced mixology techniques with approachable flavors, promising a journey of sensory exploration and cultural celebration.
  24. Health-boosting, straight-up: Herbs, botanicals, and adaptogens will become the talk of the town as more people dive into the immune-boosting power of ginger, antioxidant-rich turmeric and the anti-inflammatory properties of black pepper.
  25. Non-traditional drink venues: In India where 35% of respondents are looking to enjoy more sundowner cocktails over the next year.

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    Sneha Chakraborty writes on travel, food, culture, gadgets and lifestyle for the Daily Entertainment and Lifestyle supplement, HT City.

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