2014 is in full swing and with it we welcome the emergence of new drink trends. While last year saw the rise of Campari, punch cocktails, and Tiki drinks, this year bartenders are going back to basics. Suddenly, a beer and a shot – the mainstay of college drinking – is gaining validation as a fully-realized menu item. Sick of those morning hangovers? Now you can drink more, with less effect, with newly popularized low-alcohol cocktails. And learn to appreciate pre-batched drinks on tap as much as expertly shaken cocktails. Say goodbye to sober January and hello to new (less potent) cocktail trends.
Finally, the bar world is stepping away from elitist cocktail culture. Drinks with a slew of hard-to-pronounce ingredients and lengthy preparations are taking a backseat. Welcome the new age of Democratic drinking — where classic cocktails, like an old fashioned, and easy sips, like a beer and a shot, are enough to woo patrons.
The Bon Vivants bring us Boilermakers at Trick Dog — a classic beer and a shot but with some guided options that help improve the drinking experience: A Miller High Life with mellow corn whiskey, Belhaven Scottish Ale with Highland Park 12, or a Flemish Red with pear brandy, for instance. And Bergerac introduces drop shots (think Sake Bombs) — like the “Fireball Inside Her,” Fireball whiskey in cider, or “Meet Your Maker,” Templeton Rye in California Anchor Lager.
Trick Dog's Low Octane Pink Moon
Low Proof Cocktails
Gone are the days of Long Island Iced Teas and vodka sodas, and we’re not complaining. Restaurants and bars without a full liquor licence have found a new loophole: low-alcohol cocktails. Take vermouth, sherry, port, and bitters, and you’ve got enough for a beverage that rivals any high-proof cocktail.
While AQ does it up with seasonally rotating cocktails and dishes, their sister restaurant, TBD, takes things down a notch. Their simple wine, beer, and sherry list is elevated with a “Loopholes” list: things like a “Negroni,” with Peychaud’s, sweet vermouth, and juniper fino, or the “Stouter Old Fashioned,” with bourbon barrel-aged stout, Oloroso sherry, and bitters. Trick Dog does it again with a low octane list of the “Trick Dog House Aperitif” (Amontillado sherry, Gran Classico, and Carpano Antica) and “Wolf Moon” (Cocchi Americano and Fernet Branca).
Jasper's Negroni on tap.
The popularity of craft cocktail bars means that you could wait twenty minutes for your drink. Bartenders are streamlining this process, without sacrificing flavor, with tap cocktails. Pre-batched and poured like beer, these cocktails cut down prep time and give a new edge to flavors when the ingredients have time to sit together.
Jasper’s Corner Tap is the birthplace of this trend in SF (just look at the name) with their on-tap Negronis. Novela, too, has created an entire menu of on-tap seasonal drinks. Try the gin with aged genever, cranberry, chai tea, lime, and lemon, or the Milk with cognac, aged rum, separated milk, allspice, and lemon.