No matter what kind of restaurant you own, you need to be clued in to the newest food and beverage trends for next year. In this edition of my monthly food trends post, we’re going to be concentrating on the beverages consumers will be demanding in 2016.
Andrew Freeman & Co. is a hospitality consulting company that releases yearly food and beverage trends reports. According to its latest beverage trends study, as reported in Nation’s Restaurant News, here’s some of what you should be paying attention to:
- Mocktails: Freeman calls these alcohol-free drinks “carefully crafted,” enhancing their appeal to pregnant women, dieters and designated drivers. And in my extended family the kids are always mixing themselves “cocktails” like Shirley Temples.
- Carbonation: While sales of soda might be down at grocery stores, lots of restaurants are offering “fancy house-made sodas” and other sparkling beverages, says NRN, including craft ginger beers, hard sodas and “adult” root beer.
- Coffee combos: Many restaurants and coffee bars are infusing their coffee with various ingredients. Freeman says “nitro-coffee”–iced coffee infused with nitrous oxide, which gives it a creamy texture–is showing up in coffeehouses all over the country, with many mixing up their own special brews. NRN reports other places are mixing espresso shots with bitters and simple syrup.
- Gin: Gin seems to be making a comeback, but it’s not just any kind of gin that’s in demand. Following the phenomenal success of flavored vodka, Freeman says gin makers are adding color and flavor to gin, giving it “hints of vanilla, maple and brown sugar.” (Sounds like breakfast flavors to me.)
- Tropical twist: Tropical drinks, such as Piña Colada and Mai Tais are making a comeback, with some “artisanal” flair—and decorated with an umbrella, of course.
- Bloody Marys: I originally was going to tell you about five “hot” beverages, but I had to add my personal favorite, Bloody Marys. Freeman says the key to this iconic drink is “more creative presentations…innovative garnishes…and customizable versions.” Yum!
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