What's on the bar for 2013?

From Rated R Cocktails on Jan 03, 2013

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Ah, 2013 is upon us, but will this year bode well for the cocktail community? We horror fans know how vicious the number 13 can be. So we sit ,Donn Beach Dr. Funk in hand, and try to use our cocktail crystal ball to foretell what you might see as trends in cocktail culture this year.

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Rise of the Red

Here at Rated R the only thing we love almost as much as Tiki is Absinthe. Real classically styled absinthe not that bohemian crap. We prefer vertes but red absinthes had always intrigued us. Like an exotic maiden you only catch a passing glance at. Of course sometimes you get that beauty home and realize without the makeup and support garments she's really rather beastly.

An absinthe with dye is a recipe for disaster because in vertes, the color usually comes from another natural infusion of herbs. If they cut corners in this flavorful second infusion and just add some cheap dye where else did they cut? Cheap star anise instead of green, maybe no real herbs at all and just extracts. So when we bumped into Corsair in our daily booze surfing this year we were intrigued. If it was naturally colored with Hibiscus it had some good merit, and it rekindled our lust for the lady in red. While we stayed on the hunt for some Corsair to try we ran across Toulouse Red on Repeal Day. Now not only was there another naturally colored rouge, but this lay much closer to home in Louisiana. We here at Rated R Cocktails in always unique Birmingham are always happy to see a southern drinker make good.

While we yearn for tastes of these two we can't help but wonder, might natural non bohemian rouge absinthes become an American Absinthuer's signature? I think you just may see more natural red offerings, or maybe even something unheard of, perhaps a blueish purple absinthe infused with violet or lavender. So long as they are free of dye and made the old fashioned way we are full of interest.

Tiki Marches On

This year saw the happy opening of Hale Pele by known tikiphile and Syrup Maker Blair Reynolds. Blair is a guy we really respect, we hope to someday visit his far away tiki temple. To our investigative eye from afar he seems to have everything spot on from the atmosphere, to the food, and drinks. Of course the presence and interest of Tiki to bloggers on the web grows all the time, and we doubt it will diminish with this year seeing another Beachbum Berry book.

We predict we'll see Tiki continue its growth this year. Perhaps even some more Tiki bars with eyes toward the ways of old appear. As Classic Tikiphiles ourself we'll be watching with a critical eye. In our mind it's very important to understand and be rooted in Tiki's history, unique cartoonishness, and time frame. It's important to maintain the balance, spice, freshness, and theme of these drinks. Without grounding in the ways of the old master's we make the critical words Gary Regan once wrote in “The Joy of Mixology” a reality. Mugs will need to come down in size and price. Demerera and rums of more old world variety will need to make a bigger comeback. Also Ice shells and cones will need to make a reappearance. Still if Tiki continues to grow we see all of these things coming to pass. I hear more buzz about the beachcomber andthe trader almost daily in my web research. If 2012 was the year of Amaro, 2013 should be a year of Aloha.

Still the debate on just what makes Tiki is another post, perhaps book entirely. We certainly hope to see more great places like Hale Pele open soon. Also if they need a devoted bartender skilled in the ways of Tiki, email us for our resume...

Bottled Cocktail Bonanza

One of the biggest criticisms of classic cocktails is the time it takes to get one in a busy bar. Now I think all but the most self absorbed bar goer realizes that it takes time to do something fresh and right even with the perfect set up when a place gets busy and the servers get mouthy and forgetful. Still 20 minutes is kinda crazy and might make one wish they'd also put in for a beer while they waited.

Bottled Cocktails and Cocktails on tap were a big trend this year two, but I think they will only grow more common this year. I expect to see nearly all the best bar programs with one or both of these options on the menu. Also with all the options to carbonate a cocktail I expect to see some new combinations of bottled carbonated cocktail come to light, ones that need that style of production to really work. If this was big in 2012 I expect it to be almost to much in 2014. I am however eager to see more.

Akvavit and Absinthe Get More Spotlight

Cocktail geeks are a curious lot, ever eager to find that next new thing. Oh it starts out small, a mist here, a half shot there. Eventually however someone develops a love of the stuff and become obsessed with making it work as a base. Now if you live in New York or another major city you may have seen these two spirits get more spotlight and cocktail bases already particularly absinthe.

Akvavit is a very gin like in almost every way except its main flavoring is Caraway along with its own unique herb blend. Absinthe as we talked about before is already big, but hasn't found it's way into to many starring cocktail roles outside of our bar and perhaps some other big time fans. With Americans developing more of a tolerance and appetite for European flavors we expect to see more of these two this year.

"Light" Drinking

This is one of those trends I'd rather see shot out of a cannon into a far off star so it wouldn't pollute our own. We at Rated R Cocktails insist on full flavor, full fat drinking. We tell our friends intent on weight loss to just think french and consume smaller quantities. Still the club kids and soccer mom's make bars and distillers a lot of money. Expect to see more Vodka and Low Cal drinking options at the expense of flavor. Also expect to see drinks with less booze and more “other”. To each there own we suppose, but as for me and mine we'll keep making our Mai Tais, Zombies, and Painkillers the same ol way.

Finally...

Predicting the future is anything but certain. As the year marches on we'll be surprised as well as see the past repeat itself. Thankfully as long as there are bartenders, writers, and especially customers who care about fine drinking, craft cocktails will thrive. To keep up with whats old and new keep it with us at Rated R Cocktails, and with Liquor.com.

“Until Next time, You Get Hammered America” - JFL

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