Mocktail trends to look out for in 2020

by Jeffrey Davidson

Every year sees new trends born. Some will stick, while others are destined to flame out.

With insights from SIP Exclusive and the Diageo World Class SA Bartender of the Year 2019, Owen O’Reilly, co-owner of Sin + Tax, Julian Short, Owner of Copper Monkey and Angostura Global Mocktail Challenge 2018 SA National winner, George Hunter and Head Judge and Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year 2018, Travis Kuhn we have looked at Mocktail trends we will be seeing the next year.

O’Reilly said trends that started at the end of 2018 will really only become”‘a thing” in 2020.

“In addition to those 2019 trends still making their mark, we’ve had a couple of South Africa’s top barmen provide insights into these growing trends and a few more only in infancy. Overly complicated, sugar-forward Mocktails have lost momentum and the classics are back

“Once thought to be a phase, it seems the gin craze is here to stay as long as there is demand,” he said.

O’Reilly said bitter and umami flavours are becoming more popular and that cannabidiol (CBD) and hemp infused products are on the rise.

“Herbals and amaro’s are being used more – aperitifs are set to make a comeback. Rum and tequila are at the forefront of popular spirits as craft producers try to break into the market.

Largely spearheaded by the health-conscious younger generation and the need for responsible drinking, the world has seen a steep increase in demand for decent low-ABV and alcohol-free serves,” he said.

“There is a lot of experimentation with carbonated flavours as bars and bartenders make their own creations. Bartenders are collaborating with chefs and making use of applicable kitchen techniques that are more sustainable.

Supporting sustainable practices in general continues

Many SA bars have started reducing their amount of waste, recycling, banning the use of single-use plastic like straws, using less ice, using local and seasonal ingredients, reusing ingredients where possible and making garnishes from dehydrated fruit that has gone unused,” added O’Reilly.

Hunter said women in the industry are trending and will continue to do so in the coming years.

“The ladies in our industry are a focal point and rightfully so. There shouldn’t be inequality in our workplace. Hospitality is about welcoming people and giving them a great experience – it shouldn’t matter if the service is by a male or female,” he said.

Short said locality is becoming a unique selling point.

“The mixology trend has taken the world by storm and as more and more bartenders from all around the world come to terms with their own worth and relevancy, they are beginning to understand that what makes them exceptional is where they come from and what distinctive ingredients they have at their disposal. I cannot wait to see how we as a continent further embrace our local ingredients, heritage, and special drinks culture into modern cocktail culture,” he said.

In conclusion, Kuhn said the level of mixology is really good in SA, but he thinks we’re still looking at things in a very two-dimensional way.

“We need to look at ingredients and how we can reconstruct them in different ways to achieve different flavours and balance. In SA we have rooibos, fynbos, citrus – these are flavours we should be combining and exploring to three-dimensionalise our creations,” said Kuhn.

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