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This is 2020: Part 2

This is 2020: Part 2

These five bar trends boast sustainability for years to come.

Behind the bar, fads come and go faster than you can say "activated charcoal." Unlike quirky fads, however, the following trends are set to build their presence in 2020 and become essentials in years to follow. From realizing guests abstaining from alcohol have real purchasing power to incorporating minimalism and sustainability into menus, it's time to kick-start your new year—and new bar.


"The industry hasn't had to think about non-drinkers or people on the far end of the sobriety spectrum," says Chris Marshall, owner of Sans Bar, a sober bar in Austin. "That's something that's going to have to change." Consumers are drinking less alcohol, but they don't want to be sequestered to the kiddie table. Bars will finally put effort into EANABs, coined by Stanford University in the 1980s, standing for "Equally Attractive Non-Alcoholic Beverages." Think sophisticated, spirit-free cocktails with homemade syrups and Insta-worthy garnishes. And with the ready-to-drink, non-alcoholic market expected to surpass $238 billion in the next two years, there's no excuse not to stock your shelves with NA craft beer (that has actual flavor), herbal NA spirits, hop sodas and more. Skipping the booze is looking a lot more interesting. 

Even more dairy and egg alternatives to consider

With "plant based" being the buzziest industry term since "farm-to-table," we'll be seeing less dairy and egg on cocktail menus. "But," you doth protest, "we've been shaking raw eggs in cocktails forever. Jerry Thomas is rolling in his grave!" Look for alternatives, like aquafaba, which provide the silk and froth of an egg, but skip the rawness that the health-conscious get squeamish about.

Almond, coconut and oat alternatives all bring their own flavor profiles to any cocktail. Even Bailey's is getting into the game with its newly released almond milk liqueur. Bars should at least have one alternative on hand for a growing population that doesn't do dairy.

Minimalistic cocktails 

It seems mixology got a bit overwhelming the last few years. With an eighth ounce of obscure Amaro here, a dropper of bee pollen tincture there, ingredients’ lists approached the muddy double digits. If last year's Aperol Spritz craze opened the closet door, you can be sure this year we're going to be Marie Kondo-ing our cocktails even more. Watch for two-ingredient cocktails, the purpose to isolate and highlight one spirit: a Lillet and seltzer, or even a flight of varying gins and tonic. In 2020, less is more. 

Sustainable cocktails

We're not just talking about replacing your plastic straws with pasta. A new year will see bars really getting proactive—and creative—about the ways they reduce their carbon footprint. We'll see more establishments eschewing exotic shipments from around the world for those closer to home, like the owners of Duluth, Minnesota's Vikre Distillery. They forage locally every spring for the spruce tips used in their gin. You'll see bartenders save the squished strawberries, bruised peaches and mint stems that don't make the garnish cut, but still make a delicious base for a shrub.

Vermouth stands alone

"Vermouth really gets a bad reputation in that it's a cheap spirit, but there are some really high-quality vermouths that are almost better than just having a glass of wine," says Chiyo Takemoto, founder and CEO of Coquetel Spirits.  Vermouth has most often been stuck oxidizing on the dusty back shelf,  but thankfully no longer. With craft vermouth offering aromatics for everyone, and businesses finally learning proper storage, look for vermouth standing out in food pairings, mixed with tonic, and most definitely in the cooler where it belongs.

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  • Author: Briana Rupel
  • Posted: December 12, 2019
  • Categories: Trending Now