Trends that will define cocktails in 2019

With 2018 just barely in the rearview mirror, turns its sights to the calendar year ahead. What might 2019 hold for cocktail culture? Let’s peer at the tea leaves to see what’s coming our way, from corporate-branded cocktails to the new spirits we’ll soon be pouring, mixing and sipping.

“World’s Most Expensive”

Hang on to your wallet. Pricey limited-edition spirits and expensive stunt drinks at cocktail menus point to more conspicuous consumption at the bar. Just look to growing vintage-spirits collections, reserve lists and “captain’s lists” at bars and restaurants. A study from the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS) confirmed that higher-end and “super-premium” spirits dominated sales across the board last year—a trend that’s expected to continue.

Corporate Cocktails

Right now, social media feeds have been awash in corporate logos stamped into ice cubes, sprayed onto egg white foam, printed on rounds of fondant and clipped on as garnishes. I’m predicting more of these are ahead, even though I’m already chafing at the prospect.

Arrival Of Alternative Agaves

2018 was the year of tequila and mezcal, when we saw everything from big-time mergers to Elon Musk’s “Teslaquila” trademark. We drank so much mezcal, in fact, that DISCUS actually gave it its own category for the first time in its annual report on the spirits industry—a signal it expects surging mezcal sales to continue in a significant way. In 2019, we’ll likely see other agave and agave-adjacent categories like racilla and sotol go mainstream.