Bar & Cocktail Trends for 2013

Bar & Cocktail Trends for 2013
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Now we are back in the swing of a brand New Year, we thought we would ask some friends of Social and Cocktail their thoughts on potential bar and cocktail trends for the year ahead. We got back some interesting thoughts about unique flavours, beer cocktails and cocktails on tap.

We begin by heading north to the excellent Orchid in Aberdeen and asking its owner Ben Iravani for his predictions on the cocktail trends that await in 2013:

Cocktail Skills

I think that this coming year will see more bars spending time and money on preparation of bespoke infusions, house tinctures and quirky garnishes and ice before at the back of house which will allow the bars to make unique flavour combinations whilst also reducing the time taken for the bartender to serve the drink to their customer with a view to creating products that visually stand out and have a certain amount of fun in them!  Alcohol wise – I think digestifs and craft beers will come into prominence in 2013.

Next we venture down to Circo Bar in Bath to main bartender Isabella Newman to ask her to bring out her crystal ball and peer into the next 12 months in the world of all things cocktail:

Dark N Stormy cocktail

Individuals in bars are going to shine with new and inventive ways of mixing flavour and aesthetics, together with ideas such as barrel aged cocktails plus a steer away from the contemporary molecular side of bar-tending (possibly due to some unfortunate events with liquid nitrogen). Bars are going back to the roots, whilst adding their own image and brand to drinks – even Vodka Revolution have cottoned on and now serve drinks in jars. Bartenders in smaller, off the beaten track places to establish new and interesting ways of drinking as something that becomes second nature. Rum is going to boom ahead of gin in my eyes, with people beginning to appreciate the massive variety on offer these days..move aside gin, we want Dark n Stormies!!

During 2012, Mark Gill aka The Cocktail Geek, was arguably Social and Cocktail`s most knowledgeable contributor, so we were keen to get his thoughts for the year ahead – he was plumping for Beer Cocktails and Simplicity.


2013 will see beer gaining prominence on cocktail menus, forming part of the main menu rather than as an addendum on the back page. Whether this be as part of a Boilermaker (a shot of whiskey partnered with a beer) or as a cocktail ingredient itself, beer cocktails will play an increasing role in bars that traditional focus on a spirit-led offering. Next, 2013 will see an increasing trend towards ‘simple serves’ of high quality spirits partnered with quality mixers. Whether this be a gin and ginger ale, tequila and tonic or vodka and bitter lemon, there will be renewed interest in simple but delicious serves complicated by nothing more than perhaps a dash or two of bitters.

Next up, we picked the brains of our friend David Hamilton Boyd, the man behind Make and Shake Cocktail Events.

I think 2013 will see a great turning point for the industry with many more independents opening and flourishing, people are bored of the same old chain bars knocking out the the same old offerings. You need to go the extra mile these days. Pop up ski chalet with real snow, secret 1920’s speak easies full of flapper girls, and whiskey fueled tree houses were just some of the things we saw last year… I know that there is plenty more exciting things to come. My top tip for 2013? Keep your eyes open for a new opening to be called “Through the looking glass Cocktail Club” on the Hackney Rd in Shoreditch with hidden bars through walls, live jazz bands and some extremely interesting drinks. I’ve been lucky enough to sample some of the test cocktails and boy oh boy Shoreditch wont know what’s hit them!

Finally we caught up with Paul Mathews, owner of the excellent Hide Bar in London to get his expert opinion on bar and cocktail trends for the year ahead:

Over the last few years, bartenders’ technical skills have improved amazingly, and many bars are knocking out interesting drinks with great ingredients and good stories behind them, but I’m not the only one to hope that 2013 brings a focus on giving good service as well as great drinks. Bartenders are there to make sure everyone has a good time as well as making tasty drinks. At The Hide, we’ve recently changed our drinks list, updating and refreshing, but also reducing. Our guests know we can make the classics, so they don’t need to be on there. Shorter lists are more accessible for guests and allow us to prep and serve a little quicker. I think there will be lots of places focussing on speed of delivery – with quality in 2013, whether that’s through batch-preparing, cocktails on tap, bottle ageing or just better mis en place. 

Snake Wine

Aside from that, big drinking trends of 2013 will be Chinese baijiu and Vietnamese snake wine. Or not… 


Written by Guest Author

Posted: January 10, 2013