Bartenders Tell Us What Fads They’re Desperate To Be Rid Of In 2018


Bartenders aren’t immune to trends; in fact, they’re on top of them. If you’re just now learning about smoked cocktails or using activated charcoal as an ingredient, chances are bartenders are already sick of it. They stand behind the bar, day in and day out and see every new ingredient and every new technique weeks and months before it’s even on your radar.

That’s not to say that this leaves them jaded. It’s just that while you walk in and order a cocktail once a week, they stand behind the bar and make drinks for hours every day. When something is hot in the cocktail world, they’re forced to work with the ingredient or spirit or technique-of-the-moment until they never want to see it again.

2017 was no different. That’s why we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the trends from last year they most want to see go by the wayside in 2018.

No way Rosé

Bill Riley, Beverage Director of Three Kings Hospitality Group

“I hope that the flood of rosé will let up a bit. Last summer was crazy. I like rosé, but it was like everyone forgot that there is white and red wine.”

Overly complicated drinks

Natasha David, co-owner and head bartender at Nitecap in New York City

“Overly complicated drinks. There’s a reason a three-ingredient cocktail like the Negroni stands the test of time — it’s complex within its simplicity. It’s balanced and all ingredients get to shine.”

Unnatural ingredients

Raul Ayala, Bar Manager at Dirty Habit in San Francisco

“No more fake, unnatural products, like sour mixes. Nowadays there’s a higher demand for craft cocktails made with fresh ingredients. Consumers are more educated in terms of how products are made and what they consume.”

Dehydrated fruit

Chris Williams, bartender and manager at The Meatball Shop in New York

“Dehydrated fruit in everything is over. Don’t get me wrong, it’s fine in some tiki drinks and I’ve had a few surprise pleasures from the addition of dehydrated fruits, but its gone overboard. If I never see another Manhattan variant with a floating desiccated orange wheel as a garnish, it’ll be too soon.”

Farewell Fireball

Ashley Barnett, lead bartender at Bootlegger in San Diego

“Fireball needs to burn!!!”

No more Moscow Mules

Homero Villarreal, general manager at LH Rooftop in Chicago

“Moscow Mules are enough already. The fad is over.”

Boozy popsicles

Tomas van den Boomgaard, beverage manager at Travelle Kitchen + Bar in Chicago

“Boozy popsicles and prosecco — I’m done with them both.”

Ridiculous garnishes

Michael Isted, beverage director at Pure Grey Consulting in New York

“We’ve already seen a move away from ridiculous garnishes — I’m happy to see them continue to exit stage left. We live and work in the world of Instagram / social media and I’m all for beautiful photography of drinks for PR, but when you actually go to the bar or restaurant the product needs to live up to the expectations set on social media, and too often it doesn’t.”

Veggie cocktails

Brian White, Sommelier at AG at The Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta

“I am happy to see cocktails made with vegetables (cucumbers, chili peppers, etc.) go. Sweet cocktails can also go
by the wayside in 2018.”

Activated charcoal cocktails

Christina Russo, lead bartender, The BoardRoom in Los Angeles

“I will be happy to see worrisome ingredients such as activated charcoal and tobacco hit the bricks. Not enough is known about the interactions ingredients like this could have with guests medications or physiology. The safety of my customers is of utmost importance to me and I feel uncomfortable using materials in drinks that could be harmful even in a slim minority of cases.”