Best and Worst Cocktail Trends 2017 According to Bartenders

Following from the Top 10 Cocktail Trends 2017, in the second part of our cocktail trends 2017 series, we asked bartenders from around Australia to share the best and worst cocktail trends of 2017.

Best and Worst Cocktail Trends 2017

Bartenders’ Best and Worst Cocktail Trends 2017:

Dimitri Rtshiladze – General Manager, Mechanics Institute, Perth

Best cocktail trend: “I guess the buzz word of 2017 in the cocktail world has been sustainability. It looks to be a train that won’t slow down and for good reason. Whilst most bars out there aren’t as heavily entrenched with the concept as others, the fact that the conversation is being thrown around everywhere in the industry make us more conscious of what we are doing and how we can change for the better.

Apart from that, the trend I would like to see for 2018 would be bringing back sick frozen or blended drinks.”

The one to go: “I don’t really like to crap on a concept or trend to be honest, something done right is always good. If a trend is upcoming, let the market determine if it is worth keeping around while we as bartenders bitch about it in the background.”

Kevin Peters – Group Bar Manager, Sand Hill Road, Melbourne

Best cocktail trend: “I’m a sucker for a spritz, love them. Was really interesting to see everyone’s twists last summer. Excited to see what everyone does this year.”

The one to go: “While I love frozen cocktails! I wasn’t a huge fan of Frosé. This summer we are running multiple slushie machines at a few of our venues. I mean who doesn’t love a Miami Vice or a Frozen Margarita!”

Ryan Lane – General Manager, The Gresham, Brisbane

Best cocktail trend: “Good simple, few ingredient drinks that are tasty AF & the (ever-growing) emergence and love of American whiskey. (of course!)”

The one to go: “I think they all have their place to be quite honest.”

Ollie Margan – Managing Partner, Maybe Mae, Adelaide

Best cocktail trend: “My favourite trend in 2017 is a focus on sustainability in bars and cocktail programs. Buzzword/fad/fashion, whatever you want to call. it in many cases, it only has a positive impact on our industry.”

The one to go: “I thought it was a trend already dead, but apparently not… mini pegs to attach garnishes to glassware – they are heinous.”

Stuart “Chewy” Morrow – General Manager, The Baxter Inn, Sydney

Best cocktail trend: “Use of local ingredients. We have an amazing source of local and indigenous produce in Australia that need showcasing. It’s great to see some bars starting to tap into this superb resource and would be great to see more of it in the coming years.”

The one to disappear: “Edible cocktails. I love to eat good food and I love to drink great drinks. I don’t much enjoy the process of eating my drink. It’s true the two go fantastic together but when I have to use a fork or chopsticks to enjoy my drink then it has gone too far.”

Sebastian Costello – Bartender, Bad Frankie, Melbourne

Best cocktail trend: “Everyone’s take on a Piña Colada. It’s hilarious and delicious.”

The one to go: “I don’t know. Maybe heaps and heaps of batching. I’d like batching to speed up service but I also like to see the bartender make it right in front of you.”

Niall Maurici – Bar Manager, Robbie Browns, Hobart

Best cocktail trend: “Fermentation: jam, leftover citrus, easy access to good quality brewers yeast, champagne yeast and even koji mould at the local brew shop. It’s never been easier to access these ingredients and the textural and aromatic innovation that this allows in even the most rudimentary cocktail menu will alter the horizon for the Australian cocktail scene. There is now the possibility for a little piece of Whyte Lyan in every Australian neighbourhood cocktail bar.”

The one to go: “The negroni is now the millennials’ gin and tonic. When even the local café will willingly make the drink, the chances of an imbalanced negroni have increased tenfold. With a plethora of local gins available bartenders must be prepared to adapt the classic ratio and actually taste this drink before serving. I’m sick of vermouth heavy negronis, drowned gin, overly sweet or muddy concoctions.”

Toby Marshall – Venue Manager, Charlie Parker’s, Sydney

Best cocktail trend: “If you can call it a “cocktail trend”, the rise of awareness and conversation around sustainability within both the food and beverage industries has been a noticeable movement I’m proud to be a part of. Looking at not only ingredients, locality, preparation techniques and waste minimisation but also mindfulness of self and community. For the benefit of our industry, I hope it’s here to stay.”

The one to go: “Nothing that I really remember but Frosé was a bit of a laugh.”

Kate McGraw – Group Bars Manager for Lotus Dining, Sydney

Best cocktail trend: “I hate calling sustainability and waste awareness trends, but 2017 has definitely been the year when bars and bartenders have really started to make big strides towards waste minimisation which is such a positive step forward for our industry. I think the best part of the whole movement is that everybody is really stepping up creatively to think of ways to incorporate all the bits and pieces that usually find their way into the trash, and our consumers are on board for the ride. A few years ago I can’t think of many people that would have listed things like trash sodas and repurposed pulp and now you’re hard pressed to find somebody who doesn’t want to do something cool and new with these off cuts. We’ve seen a huge shift in terms of how menus are written and how drinks are made because of this. Five years ago sustainability was seen by a lot as something that got in the way of people’s creativity (mine included), now it is inherent to the process.”

The one to go: “Every man and their dog making gin. I love gin, most of the people I know love gin, but at the moment I think we’re reaching gin saturation point. It’s excellent that there’s so much variety on the market, but it is so frustrating to see excellent producers and distilleries producing gin just because it’s popular rather than for the passion of it. For every good gin on the market there’s also a fair bit of rubbish. Stop! I absolutely hate seeing these great producers doing gins that they’re not proud of to make a quick buck. Teach us why we should drink your Australian grappa-style liquor or whatever it is instead of lobbing me a bottle of juniper juice.”

Joe Sinagra – Venue Manager, Halford Bar, Perth

Best cocktail trend: “Less of a specific trend but a shift in the way a lot of people and venues speak about their cocktails. There’s less cocktail wank and drinks are being presented in ways the guest will understand. Bartenders are coming to the realisation most guests don’t care about the technical aspect of drinks but just want the flavours. This doesn’t mean drinks are less technical just that bartenders are no longer bombarding guests with useless technical info without being asked for it.”

“Other than that, spritzes! Everyone loves spritzes! They’re quick and easy, have a lower abv so you can sell more and the guest can drink more and they’re often just light hearted and not too serious.”

The one to go: “Sustainability! I hate listening to preachy bartenders prattle on about how they’re using the spent coffee grounds from their coffee or used lime husks when the drinks they’re making with these products would be better served by using another readily available ingredient. I’m all for saving the environment (and the venue money) but at the end of the day if the drink in my guest’s hand isn’t as good as I could’ve made it that’s a fail.”

Mary White – Bar Manager, The Lobo Plantation, Sydney

Best cocktail trend: “Hands down the resurgence of The Jungle Bird! It’s always been a drink close to my heart, and I’m happy to see riffs on it everywhere I turn.”

The one to go: ‘I may lose some friends for saying this, but Blue Drinks can go back where they came from.”

Brett Harris – Bar Manager, Kokomo’s, Canberra

Best cocktail trend: “Bartenders exploring more, infusing and creating booze-based “home-made” liqueurs, amaro etc. Patrons really loving the work and skill that bartenders have for their craft of cocktails, and patrons actually researching and wanting some of the classics that maybe aren’t as well known and having the knowledge and know how of ingredients going into their cocktails.”

The one to go: “Espresso Martini… haha. Sweet cocktails – well-balanced all the way, YAY!”

Nathan Beasley – Bartender, The Black Pearl, Melbourne

Best cocktail trend: “Venues striving to be more resourceful, creative, and minimising their waste in using every aspect of their intended cocktail ingredients. It’s very encouraging to see, and challenges bartenders to be more creative and think outside the square.”

The one to go: “Cocktail pegs. We’ve all been guilty of it. Just because the dream of owning your own home is vanishing for most, and therefore the Hills Hoist, doesn’t mean they need to migrate to the rim of glassware. Hide them or get rid of them.”

Next in the cocktail trends 2017 series: Cocktail Trend Predictions for 2018 by Brand Ambassadors

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Best and Worst Cocktail Trends 2017 According to Bartenders was last modified: December 7th, 2017 by Corinne Mossati
Corinne Mossati

Corinne Mossati is the Founder/Editor of Cocktails & Bars and popular online magazine Gourmantic. She is named in the Australian Bartender Magazine Top 100 Most Influential List since 2013, is a member of The World’s 50 Best Bars Academy who judges the World’s 50 Best Bars. She has also judged the Australasian Whisky Awards and various national cocktail competitions. Read the full bio here.