Cocktails are a great marker of the times we live in and fascinating trends to follow for those mixologists serving on the front-line as well as those at the front of the line at the bar! This year our cocktail shakers are going to be filled with blasts from the past (the 90s to be precise), new takes on the classic Negroni, and a certain je ne sais quoi from the cocktail-drinking experience. We’ve spoken to the EHL mixologists to gather the cocktail trends filling our cups in 2023. These are the drinks you’ll be cheersing this year!

1. Spicy drinks

There has been a movement away from sugary sweet cocktails, towards a more savory palette – and spicy cocktails epitomize this trend. Spicy cocktails have become a hit with the social elite, with the Picante becoming an emblem of swanky members-only club Soho House. There is a long list of spicy cocktails to try, some of the more popular ones are Spicy Margs, Picantes, Bloody Maria’s, or perhaps you’ll prefer a Cucumber Wasabi Martini to knock your socks off!

2. Throwback to the 90s

The 90s called and it wants its drink back… the ‘Tini. The espresso martini continues to be a firm favorite among those wanting a little pick-me-up during an evening out. Fresh takes on the coffee-based cocktail will include using local high-quality cold-brew coffee, adding subtle notes such as vanilla, and switching out the vodka for scotch.

The Apple Martini is also making a huge comeback, a sour cocktail that will be made from fresher ingredients in 2023 than in the 90s. And if you have a ‘salt-tooth’ then perhaps the briny Dirty Martini with olive juice will be more your thing.

3. Twists on the Negroni

The Negroni is a classic cocktail that has experienced a steep rise in popularity over the last few years. Balancing sweet, bitter, and botanical flavors, there’s no wonder why people have taken to this Campari-based Italian cocktail into their hearts. In 2023 however, Negroni lovers will experiment with new twists on the old classic.

Substituting just the gin for prosecco creates a low-er alcohol version known as the Negroni Sbagliato which is light and sweet. Another recipe substitutes the gin for another 2023 favorite, Mezcal. Making for a smoky, bitter, and sweet drink, called a Mezcal Negroni.

4. Fancy Ice cubes

A trend for mixologists and the home bar alike! Long gone are the small square ice cubes we’re accustomed to, 2023 is the year that we get creative with ice. From giant cubes to specialty shapes, to herb or fruit-infused beauties. Ice is more than for merely keeping your trip cool, it’s a way of decorating your cocktail and adding even more flavor. So treat yourself to some quirky molds and experiment with adding flavors like lavender, thyme, lemon, cucumber & mint, or coffee to your ice cubes.

5. Experiential Cocktails

Ever heard the phrase “eating with your eyes”? Turns out we drink with them too! The experience-seeking culture of Millenials and Gen-Z’s with their insatiable appetite to capture unique moments for their social media has led to the trend of cocktails becoming experiential. Cocktails have always been a thing of beauty in their presentation, but now mixologists must also think about the performance and producing a ‘wow’ moment for the drinker.

Be it the view of the mixologists at work or the cocktail itself, which can be achieved by mastering molecular cocktails. Molecular mixology is the practice of mixing drinks using science to manipulate ingredients on the molecular level. It was inspired by molecular gastronomy, which employs similar techniques with food.

6. Low-and No-Alcohol Cocktails

Similarly to the drink trends 2023, cocktail trends also have a growing consumer market for delicious low-abv and virgin options which are just as satiating as their alcoholic counterparts. Expect to see a growing list on the non-alcoholic section of the cocktail menu and bartenders are putting much more thought and creativity into their taste and presentation.

According to the WHO, over half the world’s population (57%) abstains from alcohol. This percentage is more like a third of the population in Western countries, but significantly, this cohort is growing.

Jane Danger, a member of the national mixology team at Pernod Ricard USA told the Zoe report ” What started as a ‘Dry January’ [fad] has turned to a consistent ‘Damp Living’ lifestyle,” she says. “Consumers are looking to find convivial moments in moderation throughout the year, especially as the weather warms up in the spring and summer and daytime drinking occasions are more common.”

7. Spiked Slushies

French syrup producer Monin has named slushies, Tequila and Mexican-inspired drinks as its top on-trade trends for 2023. In a poll for Monin’s 2022-2023 Summer Drinks Trends Report of UK-based consumers and hospitality leaders. They found that “a Frozen Cosmo Slushy suggested as a possibility for dominating the vodka-based version of the cocktail, a Frozen Piña Colada fronting the rum-based category, and a Frozen Strawberry Margarita presented as a trend for the Tequila-based slushy serve.