2012 Cocktail Trends

Queen's Park Swizzle from Black Market Liquor Bar

When I was applying for my press pass for Portland Cocktail Week, I was asked what I wanted to cover. I was particularly interested in cocktail trends. Here’s what I see happening now and will continue to be strong in 2012:

  • It’s a given new restaurants will open with a custom cocktail program, venerable restaurants will revamp cocktail lists to thoughtful cocktail programs. They will at least start with a list of classic cocktails and grow from there.
  • Bartenders who follow a “farm to glass” philosophy- using fresh ingredients they buy from farmers’ markets, working more with chefs and utilizing cooking techniques, spices and unexpected flavors
  • Bartenders who make their own bitters, tinctures, infusions
  • Non-spirit based cocktails (beer cocktails, wine cocktails– like sherry and port cocktails)
  • “New” spirits like pisco, cachaca, aguardiente, baijiiu, grappa, arrack will be discovered
  • Amaros – Americans falling in love with bitter flavors versus going for sticky sweet “martinis”
  • Small-batch, independent distilling


I’m looking for more fine drinking in the new year! I’m hoping to get to Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Tales of the Cocktail in 2012. Also, I would love to see a cocktail week in Los Angeles. Maybe Santa will bring that for everyone next year. For more food and restaurant trends, check out this article on The Minty.


Happy Holidays from the Minty and LA Cocktails!



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