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Biggest Cocktail Trends for 2018

Elisabeth Sherman, contributor for Food and Wine offers us insight on the biggest cocktail trends for 2018 in an interview with the award-winning Mixologist Brian Van Flandern.

In 2017, we drank rosé and rum and cocktails inspired by Star Wars. What will we be drinking in 2018? Brian Van Flandern—a mixologist who has created cocktails for Thomas Keller and Geoffrey Zakarian, and recently partnered with Moet & Chandon to create a series of cocktails to celebrate the new film The Greatest Showman—talked with Food & Wine about what he expects will be five of the most popular cocktail trends of 2018, plus reveals some tips for creating the perfect cocktail for your holiday party.

Geographic Cocktails

Van Flandern says that cocktail bars may soon be featuring “spirits that are specific to a single country.” You should expect to see “Cognac, Calvados and Champagne from France or … mezcal and tequila from Mexico,” for instance, on more cocktail menus in 2018.

Lower Alcohol Cocktails

Wine and Champagne-based cocktails that are easier to pair with meals will gain popularity next year. Van Flandern praised Champagne cocktails especially as “ideally suited to foods and are a great way to start a meal.”

Artisanal Whiskey

Although, as Van Flandern points out, whiskey will always be popular in cocktails, he’s seeing more “artisanal grains like sorghum, oats, millet and even quinoa” pop up in this beloved brown liquor.

Cristalino Tequila

This relatively new type of aged tequila is clear, not brown. Van Flandern says it’s becoming popular with bartenders and mixologists who “want the flavor of an aged tequila but don’t want the brown spirit to influence the final color of a great cocktail.”

Small Batch Gins

Van Flandern says this variety of gin is “exploding worldwide.” Why? “Gin is easy to produce and there is an infinite number of botanical combinations,” Van Flandern explains. Gin is becoming so popular that there’s actually a juniper shortage happening in the U.K. at the moment. Not to worry—gin isn’t going extinct anytime soon. Van Flandern says the shortage should “self-correct” as soon as “growers are incentivized to plant more [juniper].”

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