Seven Booze Trends for 2013

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2013 is almost upon us!  Seriously, what happened to 2012.  It seems like it was here and gone in a blink of an eye. Speaking of eyes, this year, I was tested for short sightedness and will always have to keep my pure optical lenses on me. As the new year approaches, I get out my crystal ball and peer into 2013 to see what the top trends in drink will be in 2013.  Here are my predictions.  And, if I am wrong, I blame it on my crystal ball.

Top Booze Trends for 2013

  • Cider – the Cider bug has bitten Europe where cider consumption is rising rapidly, especially in the United Kingdom.  We believe that the US is on the cider cliff.  It’s just a matter of when it will take off.  Be warned that this isn’t your mom’s cider.  Unlike the stuck cider revolution from the 1990’s, the cider runs the range from bitter to sweet (it isn’t just sweet anymore).  And, in the UK, we found and consumed a number of delicious ciders spiked with other fruit, think raspberry.  We are seeing more cideries popping up and large companies are on the hunt for buying and starting new ones.  Expect to see more of cider in 2013!
  • Sweet Wine– the Moscato craze sweeping the United States is here to stay.  There is a saying that Americans talk “dry” wine but drink “sweet”.  The Moscato craze shows that this is true.  While I don’t expect a renaissance for White Zinfandel yet, I do think that we will drink more Moscato, Brachetto (Moscato’s fruity and delicious red cousin), Lambrusco and other off-dry and sweet wines in the new year.
  • Craft Beer – the thirst for craft beers has not been slaked.  A number of craft breweries have popped up, along with sophisticated beer bars, across the United States.   You now see all types of beers that I wouldn’t have even imagined possible a few years ago.  My personal favorites are those made with fruit and aged in barrel.  How fun!
  • Beertails – along with the thirst for craft beers are the beertails.  I am not talking about a shot with a beer back.  These are cocktails crafted with beer.  And, they can be delicious.  Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to attend a dinner sponsored by Fernet Branca and the entire meal was paired with beer and Fernet cocktails.  I was skeptical but it worked.  I had thought that 2012 would be the year that wine cocktails roared back.  But, I was wrong and beer cocktails came on strong.
  • Barrel Aged Cocktails – this trend started a few years ago and seems to be picking up steam.  The barrel aged cocktail is exactly as it sounds.  You batch a cocktail, stick it in a barrel, forget about it and serve it a few months later.  I was a skeptic.  But, when done right, the barrel aged cocktail is delicious and adds complexity.
  • Bottled Cocktails – this is a trend that I am totally behind.  Bottled cocktails have been around since Jerry Thomas, but they are starting to explode onto the cocktail scene.  I am hoping that this trend will get huge.  In the UK, I have long enjoyed Pimm’s Cup in a can.  They are great, especially when traveling by yourself and spending a lonely night eating Indian takeaway in front of the telly.  But, in the US, our canned cocktails have long been made of malt liquor and taste nothing like the real deal.  This appears to be changing.  I had some great Kahlua coffee drinks in a can.  And, even better, a number of bartenders have started bottling their own cocktails.  We had a bottled Negroni that had a nice effervescence at a party earlier this year.  It was amazing. One of my 2013 goals is too bottle some of my own cocktails.
  • 70s / 80s Retro Cocktails – this trend looks to bring back the popular libations of the 1970’s through the 1990’s.  This is a trend that I can embrace.  I am sick of burying cocktails and bagging on drinks that were popular twenty years ago.  I still remember not that long ago when bartenders would look at me like I was crazy when ordering an Old Fashioned or a Sidecar.  Now, I get the same looks when I order an Appletini – the same drink that they were serving 10 years ago.  People should enjoy what they like to drink without recriminations.  Recently, in San Francisco, a bar named Traditions opened and they serve retro cocktails.  If you want a Long Island Iced Tea or a Harvey Wallbanger, head to Traditions.   I am sure that these drinks will be coming your way (and are probably already there, having never left).

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