The history of the cocktail is uncertain, although it’s a term first thought to have been coined in the USA in the early part of the 19th century. From there, it’s travelled the world, becoming immortalised in literature and film (‘shaken, not stirred’ anyone?) as well as continuing to become the drink of choice for many people over the years.
While the first cocktail creations are likely to have just been a medley of alcohol thrown together, the drink has evolved and taken on a life of its own, often becoming an art form and even gaining cult status.
Mixologist and cocktail-making competitions can be found the world over, from Chicago to London to Phukhet. A Glaswegian bartender has even created a unique cocktail with 71 ingredients to commemorate the Commonwealth Games 2014 recently held in the Scottish city.
So how are retail trends in the industry likely to develop next?
One of the most commonly believed trends is likely to be in customer service, as bars and servers alike are realising that the drink is only a part of the experience. When people say they are going to go out for cocktails – as opposed to the pub or for a drink – there seems to be a covert distinction in the quality, service and experience expected of this particular type of drinking activity.
This has led to some bars creating instructions for patrons to re-create some of their favourite mixes themselves, as well as making bars that are difficult to locate or feature outlandish decoration all in a bid to expand the drinking experience even further.
In terms of the alcohol itself, many leading mixologists reckon they’ll be a move toward often forgotten or underused spirits, such as tequila or whisky, which are currently experiencing a revival in customer tastes.
Last year’s prevalence for flavoured spirits – chocolate and strawberry were popular choices – have now made many in the industry believe that a return to spirits in their purer form is likely. Classic cocktails will make a comeback, with traditional spirits forming the base with the other ingredients being updated to provide a modern spin on age-old combinations.