The History Of Tiny Cocktails

Tiny cocktails have been quietly making the rounds for years.

Restaurants in New York, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., began quietly adding miniature mixed drinks to menus in the early 2010s. By 2014, Instagram was awash in images of these Lilliputian libations. From there, the trend entered a long simmering phase, always hot but never boiling over the way, say, cosmos did during the 1990s or dalgona coffee did just last month.

Tokyo cocktail bar Gen Yamamoto is credited as an early adopter of the idea of mini cocktails. The bar is as small as its pours — just eight seats — and the owner of the same name approaches cocktails the way a Michelin-starred chef approaches food, serving a tasting menu of four to seven drinks for approximately $48 to $73, respectively.

Slowly, the notion of premium mini drinks grew. Now tiny cocktails are no longer the exclusive purview of hip gastropubs in major world cities and can be ordered in comfy brunch spots in St. Paul, Minnesota and trendy restaurants in Kolkata, India.

Small cocktails allow bartenders to show off their mixing skills to customers who may normally only order one or two drinks. Indecisive drinkers can taste more of the menu and designated drivers can have a sip while staying sober.