One of the best parts about being a bartender and mixologist is that you are only limited by your creativity. There are classic cocktails and flavor combinations that have stood the test of time and are perfect for anchoring a menu, but there is always room for new cocktails to shine. If you are looking for some inspiration or easy ways to spruce up your existing menu, here are some of the latest craft cocktails that are creating a stir.
1. The Cuddly Toy
This boozy drink is warm and spicy, yet perfect for any time of year. It mixes Avion silver tequila with Luxardo bitter Bianco vermouth, along with a banana bread syrup for complex flavoring. The end result is a crowd favorite with just the right amount of sweet finish to complement the satisfying punch of the alcohol. To give it a try in its original form, you will have to visit Charmaine's rooftop bar in San Francisco.
2. The Cyn Sin
The Cyn Sin is an example of a type of classic cocktail known as Aperitifs, which are enjoying a resurgence. Aperitifs are popular in France and Italy and served before a meal to quench the appetite. They tend to be dry drinks with a low alcohol proof. The idea is that ingesting some sugars and alcohol before dinner actually decreases the appetite so that people eat a healthy amount of food. These types of cocktails, along with digestifs that are served after a meal to aid with digestion, are becoming a trendy component of the dining experience.
The Amaro offers a modern twist to go with this new trend. It is full of bitters for a flavor that is steeped in herbs and spices. You can easily control alcohol and bitterness, depending on customer preferences, but here are some suggested proportions: 1 ounce Cynar, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, 1 ounce single malt scotch and an orange twist.
As an extension of the increased popularity of Aperitifs in the US, Italian bitter liquors are being incorporated into cocktails throughout the country. Italicus is just one example of a complex liquor that provides a citrus and floral combination of flavors for a product that really doesn't need much dressing up. It is best served with other simple ingredients that don't detract from its natural flavor. That is why the Italicus spritz simply adds a little sparkling wine and club soda for a light and bubbly drink.
4. Night Vision
You might also start noticing that more and more vegetables are being incorporated into adult beverages. The Night Vision cocktail from P.Y.T. in Los Angeles is a direct reflection of the restaurant's vegetable-heavy menu, which uses fresh produce and cold-press techniques to create colorful and nutrient-rich dishes. While the Night Vision may be difficult to recreate at your establishment, it is a signal of things to come. Ingredients include gin, ginger syrup, lemon juice, fizzy kombucha and fresh carrot juice, which gives the drink a great orange color. It turns out that you can drink and eat your vegetables.
Creative new cocktails are looking to the past for inspiration and using food movements that focus on fresh, local produce to create signature cocktails that speak to today's audiences. When it comes to mixing drinks, it isn't just about adding fruit. Bartenders are incorporating complex flavors from herbs and vegetables to complement the flavor of quality liquors instead of masking them. The result is a whole new class of cocktails that are sure to please customers with a variety of taste preferences.