Drink trends come and go and are influenced by numerous factors. There are tried and true favorites such as those listed in Popular Drinks Bartenders Should Know that will likely never lose steam. Then there are those new cocktail and shooter recipes that arise with a new liquor release the likes of dessert vodkas or a specialty liqueur, and those that arise out of the creativity of the bartender down the street and rarely make it out of the region. The question of the day is: What drinks are hot where you live?
There are a few factors that have brought this question to my mind:
- On the Ground - I cannot be every where (I don't want to be) and though I keep track of what is going on from various sources, but it is you (the drinkers and bartenders) who know what is going on in your local scene. What are people talking about at your bars? Is there a drink that is ordered over and over but when you order it outside the area the bartender gives you a blank or nasty look? Bartenders, is there a drink you have had to learn lately because of local demand? A lot of great drinks do not make it on menus, but spread by word of mouth and these are the drinks I want to hear about.
- Regional Influence - Wisconsin is a fine example of a place that has distinct local favorites when it comes to drinks. First, there is the phenomenon of the Brandy Old-fashioned and if you order an 'Old-fashioned' in that state, the likelihood of getting whiskey is pretty slim. Then, a reader submitted the Swamp Water to last month's Halloween contest and this drink also seems to be one of those Wisconsin-only libations. Another example was a colleague telling me about the unique garnishes being used in Spain for a growing Gin and Tonic trend. That is just one example and I know almost every area has their own trends that are often left unheard because, let's face it, you're not NYC, LA, or London.
- Search Trends - I keep track of the drink recipes being searched for so I can share the popular ones with every one. One thing that continues to amaze me is that there are few searches for new cocktails, the popular drinks linked to above continue to be the most searched for recipes. The Pickleback is the last drink that I can think of that was new to the broader scene and went viral online and IRL, and that was two years ago. I do realize that there are many new drinks created all the time because I'm one of those who loves to share them, but a limited few become universal hits on that scale.
The fact is that our neighborhood bars have one of the greatest impacts on what we are drinking and that is what I want to hear about. Bartenders and drinkers alike, share with us what is hot in your area...
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