The cocktail world is full of creative, hard-working, enthusiastic bartenders willing to push the envelope with new and unique ideas. But, it’s also a world full of over-hyped trends that sweep across the nation in bars and pubs from New York to California.
Most trends are great at first, and then… not so much. They get diluted, played out, and quickly grow stale. We asked the pros which cocktail trends they’re ready to move on from.
All Jacket No Trousers
Many bartenders are tired of garnishes that are impractical for service, wasteful, and unsustainable. Bartenders are over the “‘all jacket, no trousers’ garnish game: the garnish arms race for Instagram, jumping the shark into the absurd, adorning mediocre (or worse) drinks,” says Chad Solomon of Midnight Rambler in Dallas.
Rah-Rah Beer and Shot Culture
Unfortunately, the end isn’t in sight yet with regard to the rah-rah beer and shot culture that has befallen the industry. “This has created a glut of so called craft cocktail bartenders that don’t like and don’t drink cocktails, who are flooding bars with sub-par drinks,” says Solomon. “This party culture has supplanted developing one’s palate and editing skills by tasting and evaluating drinks.”
Going to bars to party probably isn’t going anywhere, but a bartender can dream.
Unnecessary Bar Rules
“I encourage banter, laughter, cell phone usage, hats, etc. that apparently disturb other bars,” says Roger Landes, Head Bartender of The Loyalist in Chicago. “We are here to host the party.” He believes that bartending shouldn’t feel like work and he and his fellow bartenders shouldn’t have to keep guests in line like they are in school. Though, in all likelihood, as phones can debatably kill the vibe, different bars will come up with their own philosophies for navigating this part of the issue.
Don’t Be So Formal
Many people in the cocktail community are happy bartenders are wearing suspenders and bow-ties less and less. “We wear jeans and a t-shirt at our restaurant,” says Richard P. Murphy, Beverage Director for Kings County Imperial in Brooklyn. “I can’t imagine tending bar for eight hours a night in a dress shirt. Yuck!”
Keep The Shaking to a Minimum
You don’t have to shake a cocktail for 45 seconds to get the right balance. “Trust me,” says Murphy. “Take it easy on your elbows there Johnny Shakes A Lot.” Sometimes over-performing bartenders can be a little much. “I do it myself sometimes, but you gotta reign it in at a certain point.” A showy bartender is not always a great bartender. “We get so busy at KCI, just trying to keep up with the pace is part of the show.”
Not Every Bar is a Speakeasy
The trend of calling every bar a “speakeasy” is finally starting to wane and a lot of bartenders are happy about it. It’s a trend Keith Meicher of Michelin-starred Sepia in Chicago is ready to see go. He’s done with “labeling every cocktail bar a speakeasy just because the lights were dimmed and there wasn’t a big neon sign outside.”
Don’t Take All Night
Bartenders don’t enjoy fellow bartenders who take too long to make cocktails.They should be able to make a cocktail in under ten minutes. “Every bartender should be able to make a well-made cocktail in a reasonable amount of time, while being hospitable and kind to the guest,” says Kim Stodel, Head Bartender at Providence in Los Angeles.
Clothes Pins Belong On Your Laundry Line
Some bartenders are tired of gimmicky ways to attach garnishes to cocktails. “Using those mini clothes pins to attach a garnish to an edge of a glass, why?” says Johnny Swet, co-owner and mixologist at JIMMY at The James in New York City.
Over-The-Top Bloody Mary
“I don’t think anything is over just yet, but I will say I’m happy to see the over-garnished bloody Mary being phased out,” says Eric Brooks, bartender at CBD Provisions in Dallas. “I like to focus on ‘less is more’ here at CBD Provisions, even with our bloody Mary.”
No Need To Advertise Freshness
View this post on Instagram
MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS – #TheBestDrinkEverTakeover 👉 @barmaxla – Mixed Uncle Val's Botanical Gin, Villa Massa Limoncello, House Made Marjoram Liqueur, Lime, Egg White and Orange Blossom Mist. – Inspired by the famous painting by Hieronymus Bosch, this soothing concoction might put you in the mood to frolic around naked in the backyard, with 20 of your best friends. – The herbal richness of homemade Marjoram Liqueur plays in perfect harmony with my favorite Limoncello and the botanical issue of Uncle Val's Gin. – A very light mist of Orange Blossom Water over the finished drink, instead of mixing it in, will tempt and lure with a pleasant nose, without overpowering the drink. – Via @thebestdrinkever #cocktails #imbibegram #imbibe #feedfeed #modernbartender #craftycocktails #cocktailart #craftcocktails #cocktailgram #cocktailcollective #happyhourclub #handcraftedcocktails #cocktailoftheday #igcocktails #tipsybartender #handcraftedcocktails #cocktailoftheday #drinkoftheday #cocktailporn #drinksporn #cocktailbible #cocktail #craftcocktail #craftbartender #barman #bartender #drinkstagram #tagblender #bars #instadrink #cocktaillovers #igcocktails
Bars love advertising everything as “fresh” and “handmade.” “All produce and ingredients should inherently be fresh (if possible),” says Brooks. “It’s elongated and unnecessary to always use those phrases if you’re actually putting them to practice every day at your respective bar or restaurant.”
Too Many Ingredients
Go easy on the giant list of ingredients for one cocktail. “They take too long for the bartender to make, and often end up tasting like mud,” says Joselino Solis, bartender at La Mar San Francisco. “When the cocktail ingredient list gets to ten or more, it’s just too much.”