In & Out: Lisa Parker Dishes On The Cocktail Outlook for 2020

By Lisa Parker |

How do you define a trend? The word is subject to interpretation, especially when thinking about those movements that take more than one year to emerge—like the 80s reign of hair bands and makeup giving way to 90s grunge. It makes one wonder about all these end-of-year lists. However, past the socio-linguistic murkiness, there are some clear concepts that I see fading away and some others I expect to see more of in the future.

Goodbye

The gaudy garnish: A garnish can make a cocktail, I know. Still, when you cannot find the beverage amidst a forest of shrubbery, it may be time for a change. Drama and theatricality can take you so far, but at the end of the day..what’s in the glass?

Hello

The end of 2019 saw the emergence of a more minimalist approach to garnish. Exemplified by clever tips of the hat to the cocktail that simultaneously add to the drink and don’t distract from it. For example, Lyaness employs lemon and olive oils on a crisp to garnish the Cereal Martini. I think we will see a more sophisticated approach to garnishes moving into 2020. Perhaps, that shift also means a trend towards deconstructed cocktails, like the Deconstructed Whiskey Sour served up by Tayer and Elementary. 

Goodbye

Aperol spritzes–okay, maybe they aren’t going anywhere. Yet, from 2017 to 2019 they had a moment, making it from the cocktail bar to the brunch spot and literally everywhere in between. Me?  I think they’ve peaked. I don’t think Aperol spritzes will disappear go away, but I think, they will make way for some more interesting variations on a theme.

Hello

Maybe wishful thinking, but assuming the Aperol Spritz was too much of a one hit wonder, then maybe 2020 will finally bring us more variety. I hope for spritzes that use an assortment of amaros, vermouths and even sherries and ports.

Goodbye

Bourbon. Bourbon is a mainstay…it isn’t going anywhere. But I do think the crazy hazy days where people would climb over one another for a sip of Pappy’s may be retreating a bit. We’re growing up. And that’s a good thing.

Hello

And I think now is the time we are beginning to see whiskies from unusual places going global as well. Single malts from America? Japan? Yes, we know. But now they are joined by some surprisingly interesting additions from India, Taiwan, and even France(!)

Hello

Sake. People are finally learning that this classic Japanese beverage is pretty awesome. Maybe that is one reason why Katana Kitten was named Best New American Bar at the Spirited Awards and is number 14 in Worlds 50 Best Bars.  They figured it out. Now it is up to the rest of us to catch up.

Hello

Kombucha. Just as vinegar shrubs had a moment a few years ago, I am now seeing institutions like Quagliano’s making their own kombuchas to add a little something special to their cocktails.

Goodbye

Hangovers.

Hello

Mocktails. Because sometimes you want a cocktail but not the alcohol. And now we are finally getting some interesting things to play with in that arena.

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