Is your Cocktail Menu ready for Autumn?
Trends are tricky things to predict, especially since every bar carefully presumably cultivates their list to stand out from the crowd. Thankfully though, as human beings we’re never as original as we like to believe so the following trends are likely to make an appearance:
Ron Zacapa 23yo.
As the “Ginvolution” really starts to hit its stride and the influencers and taste-makers start to get bored, rum has seen a resurgence as those same influencers cast around for new ideas. Rum is an excellent spirit to drink. The variety is as broad as it is deep. Breadth in terms of light, dark, spiced, overproof & flavoured, depth in the many years each rum can be aged from staright off the ‘still to 20 or more years in a cask. This means that there should generally be one to suit everyone’s palette. Even if you don’t consider yourself a rum drinker, when mixed into a sweet and sickly fruit daiquiri even the hardest hold-outs will be sipping away happily in no time.
The natural progression of any spirit once it’s enjoying a resurgence is for the entry of the Ultra Premium crew. We saw it with vodka (Grey Goose, Beleveder et al.) and we’ve seen it with Gin (Hernö, Riviera, Hendricks etc.) as we’ll see it with Rum. Keep an eye out for Ron Zacapa 23, Appleton Estate 30 & 50yo, Bacardi Paraiso & the hundreds of special reserves on or about to hit the market.
Thanks to Dell Cove Spice Co.
Spices & nutty flavours:
With the advent of Autumn as the evenings draw in darker and cooler our palettes start to naturally shift from the fresh, green flavours of summer to the more comforting flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon and hazelnut. Expect to see plenty of cinnamon dustings, nutty syrups and amaretto creeping onto menus. Whiskey, having a flavour profile on a similar end of the spectrum should creep back onto menus for its warmth and comfort factor.
The Brandy Alexander.
Alexanders & Warm drinks:
Ever heard the expression “what goes around…comes around”? If you’re not a Justin Timberlake fan you can still appreciate it in the cocktail world with the cloud of dust created by bringing all those old bottles of vermouth, suze & other bitter liqueurs off their shelves. The Aperol spritz was a summer staple on almost everyone’s menus and the old-school revival continues with the anticipated arrival of winter-warmers like Brandy Alexanders, Blue Blazers and any number of Harry Potter-themed warm potions. With the fire and theatre that go along with these drinks lending themselves to dark evenings (especially Halloween & Bonfire Night in the U.K.) they should be a shoe-in for any Autumn cocktail menu.
Along these lines expect to see Port making an appearance, which may cross over into a series of fortified mulled wines. With both Port and Sherry quite ‘hot’ ingredients on the bars of cocktail influencers at the moment we can expect that to filter down through the various blogs and instagram feeds to a bar near you.
Cucumber-Watermelon Mocktail at the Mandarin Oriental, Las Vegas.
Low alcohol / no alcohol cocktails:
Over the last year we’ve already seen a big jump in the number of low or none-alcoholic cocktail options creeping onto menus. Especially popular with a more health-conscious younger crowd, expect the trend to continue through the autumn with more seasonal produce and flavours (think fresh apples, pears, plums and apricot.)
Label for William Fox’s Foam Banana Syrup.
The ‘Nostalgia’ factor:
Especially given that many of these Autumn cocktails will serve the run-up to Christmas as well, get ready for some vintage sweets in your cocktails. Especially given the popularity of vintage crisp and cereal restaurants in London, it would be mad to think that the cocktail world will be immune from this millenial-fuelled nostalgic whimsy. William Fox, for instance, have just announced the release of a pick’n’mix themed foam banana syrup, hoping to capitalise on this coming trend. So dig out your Drumstick lollies, Wham Bars, Fruit Salads and Blackjacks, the 80’s & 90’s are back!