Rooftop season, aka Summer 2019 has treated us well. With it came a host of cocktail innovations that perfectly quenched our desire for something other than last year’s frosé.
We used to race against melting ice cubes in our cocktails to prevent the dilution of the perfectly-mixed drink. Now, the former underdog of the mixed drink is back with a flavorful punch that enhances the drink as it melts creating dynamic flavor. Of course, there’s an art to the alcoholic cube as alcohol doesn’t freeze, Hudson Whiskey Associate, Jacob Tschetter, recommends keeping the ABV between 8% to 12% for optimal coolness. Spikes Ice is taking advantage of the trend and selling pre-made flavored ice cubes to elevate cocktails, wine, and beer.
The Tiniest Trend of 2019
This trend might be the smallest trend of summer, but we’d argue its impact will be anything but. We’re talking mini cocktails. These drinks appeal to a larger psychological affinity for smaller-than life things. In fact, small things can help “make the universe seem obedient.” Visit Boulton and Watt in the East village to see their tini cocktail menu with your own eyes, they even give you a magnifying glass for drink perusing.
Cocktails on Wheels
Airstreams are no longer just for weekend getaways–they’re the newest vessel for transporting cocktails to summer parties. Brands and restaurants are adapting this cocktail-mobile to be a staple (albeit expensive) party appearance for the Summer of 2019.
Not Your Kid’s Popsicle
Pinterest was years ahead of the boozy popsicle trend, but mainstream groceries are catching up to this summer’s libation preference and stocking their shelves with adult popsicles. Aldi is now selling two flavors of boozy popsicles, Costco offers Slim Chillers, basically 100 calorie adult Otter Pops, and there are of course plenty of recipes to make your own.
Orange Tinted Glasses
To be fair, we’ve been on the Aperol spritz train for a long time, but it seems the rest of the world is just catching up. We’ve reached peak obsession with this orange aperitif. There are still Aperol spritz opposers that would like to tell us that the drink is overrated (we’re looking at you New York Times), but we will never concede. The only question we have is how do you like to enjoy your spritz? In festival, canned, or classic form?
Can’t Bottle This Feeling
A few years ago we saw the canned craze happen to craft coffee, now we’re seeing the same for cocktails. We remember the days when the only available canned cocktail was Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Now you can take your craft cocktail to the beach, camping, or to the top of the mountain–no muddler required. Try Ohza’s canned mimosa for brunch on the go, Fling’s Mai Tai, or Wandering Whistler’s Earl Grey & Elderflower spiked tea.
Mixing up the Scene
Mixers are getting a major makeover with clean ingredients and unique flavors. If you’re used to mixers being in plastic soda bottles, you’re in for a refreshing treat. The new lineup of cocktail accomplices have flavors like Honeydew Jalapeno, Carrot Ginger Turmeric, and Charred Grapefruit. They’re not only delicious, but often functional with added CBD or electrolytes to quell the post-happy hour headaches.
Consumers are drinking differently than they did five years ago: they are drinking less and they are more purposeful about their libations when they choose to partake. They’re no longer looking for a 24 pack of the cheapest tolerable option to accompany them on their weekend getaways. They’re looking for elevated beverages with unique flavors to share and discuss with friends. Drinking less has made us particular about the kind of drinks we’re choosing, but we’re willing to spend a little more to get exactly what we want. We’re expecting the branding, online presence, and messaging of alcoholic brands to meet our elevated expectations.