1. Cocktail & Food Pairing: Beer and food pairing was all the rage in 2010, and wine and food pairing will always have its place in the gourmet world. But 2011 will see an uptake of pairing food with different cocktails. While experts thought that this trend would go mainstream in 2010, the culinary cocktail concept is just starting to take off. Both sweet and savory, cocktail and food pairings will take center stage in the New Year.
2. The Bar Chef: As mixology evolves and cocktail and food pairings become more prominent in the culinary world, we’ll see mixologist and chef merge into one, creating the "Bar Chef". Turning their noses down on processed and artificial ingredients, the bar chef will always opt for natural, organic components when fashioning their culinary cocktails.
3. Simplified Cocktails: Mixology really evolved in 2010. We saw fresher ingredients and adventurous combinations. But in 2011, we’ll see more simplified versions of our favorite bar beverages. While fresh is best, sometimes less is more. We’ll still see quality ingredients in our glasses, but the amount of ingredients will definitely be scaled down and specific ingredients will be more often showcased.
4. Mezcal: Tequila has been king of hard liquor for decades, but the Mexican spirit may just loose it’s throne to Mezcal in 2011. Mezcal is also an agave-based liquor, but it’s almost always smoother and more complex than even the highest-end tequila.
5. Dessert cocktails: From Whisky & Cola floats to the Grasshopper cocktail, we’ll see dessert cocktails increase in popularity in 2011.
6. Moonshine: Small-batch corn whiskey modeled after the homemade version synonymous with the South is finding its way into cocktails.
7. Bacon Infused Liquor: We predicted that bacon fat would be a hot item in our Top 10 Food Trend Predictions for 2011 and we’re carrying that over to our booze list as well. We’re hearing rumors that bacon will find its way into Rum and Bourbon bottles in the near future, by means of a method called “fat washing”. Fat washing is a process where alcohol is mixed with meat fat and then chilled to solidify the fat. The fat is then skimmed away, leaving an infusion of the liquor and savory flavors from the bacon. Step aside Bloody Mary – Bacon Booze is coming to town and brunch will never be the same again.
8. Boutique booze: A wonderfully small, but new fad in 2010 was small distilleries specializing in their own meticulously crafted artisanal spirits. While this industry still has a way to go before it becomes a real player (micro distilleries only count for 1% of the $63 billion distilled spirits market) we’re excited to see it flourish in 2011.
9. Beer sommeliers/Cicerones: Experts project growth within the Hospitality and restaurant industries in 2011. And with the rising popularity of comfort food and craft beers, it’s only predictable that beer-food specialists would emerge to aid patrons in their beer and food pairings.
10. Cocktail Punch: Cocktail Punch will become the “cupcake” of house party cocktails in 2011. Simple is “in” and everyone loves to ladle a refreshing concoction into their party cups. So be warned: If you’re throwing a house party, make sure to include a punch cocktail on your list of refreshments.
And those are our “Blender Booze” predictions for 2011. Happy New Year!!
More Food & Cocktail Trends and Predictions: