Cocktails : undergoing a makeunder

007 & martinis (shaken, not stirred), Sex and the City & cosmopolitan, Mad Men & old-fashioned. There’s no doubt that cocktails come and go, submitted to trends. 

Often influenced by pop culture (hello, above mentioned examples) or simply very well promoted by a clever marketing team, liquors and spirits periodically become the star of the season. Of course, there are always the classic combinations; winter is always the right time to pour Bailey’s in our coffees and summer Sundays are favorable to have a Ricard (or two) on the terrace. A sip of Crème de menthe after dinner? Ain’t nothing wrong with that either.

That being said, we can certainly see a new pattern in alcoholic beverages: simplicity.

Whether it is due to the wide variety of quality spirits now available, the oh-so-educational “foodie movement” or simply the amount of years of learning/hearing about great drinks, people are proud to talk about what’s in their glass. Naturally, some individuals have been consuming Grey Goose and Veuve Clicquot for years now, we know that. However, people are now ordering specifics brands of gin or vodka more than ever, not because of the name on the bottle, but because they really want to taste it. A few years back, cocktails were a success if you didn’t taste the alcohol at all. That is no longer the case.

Fancy cocktail bars are giving way to low-key speakeasies. In addition, it appears that there are great expectations for quality. Quality environments mean, quality spirits, quality add-ons; homemade tonic with your local gin, maybe? A natural bitter in your Negroni? Freshly picked balsam fir branch to match the Nordic vodka on ice you ordered? Consumers not only expect choices, they expect a very wide range of quality choices.

Several professionals of the industry feel like it is a reflection on the fast-paced and technology-fueled state of society. Consumers are accustomed to fully-customized content that is packaged for fast and easy consumption. Why would it be different for cocktails? Reading a recipe with a list of 10 ingredients, 4 of which you need to google? No thanks, I'll have a Gin & Tonic.