Diageo World Class has concluded for 2017 in Mexico City, with nearly 10,000 bartenders from 57 countries entering to vie for the crown of World Class Bartender. Diageo’s Global Cocktailian, Lauren Mote led a discussion to uncover the trends they expect to see this year. Mote was joined by industry legend Dre Mass, Australian MasterChef host and judge, Matt Preston, Alex Kratena (formerly of Artesian), and World Class Bartender of the Year, Charles Joly.
The panel has predicted a rise in sustainability, signature serves, the link between mixed drinks and fine cuisine, and an increase in crafting cocktails at home.
Four Trends predicted for 2018
While this is by no means new in the industry, in a recent poll nearly one in two customers expressing a willingness to pay a 10% premium for socially responsible and environmentally friendly goods to be used. As we have seen from practicing bars removing straws and recycling garnishes amongst other items, this can also make great business sense financially. Dre Masso said, “Sustainable and reusable methods and ingredients are becoming increasingly important. The mixologists who embrace this new reality are the ones who will flourish.”
Again, this is nothing new, with a lot of bartenders and venues creating bespoke drinks. People now spending 5% more on luxury experiences than luxury goods, and bar owners and mixologists who tap into this need can thrive in 2018. Alex Kratena commented, “I expect to see more switched-on bar operators and bartenders creating unique drink experiences that go beyond ‘what’s expected’ and push signature serves to become the answer to what tasting menus are in the restaurant world.’
Ever heard that some of the best bartenders are ex-chefs or those with culinary training? Understanding the palate and how ingredients can mix and match is now at the forefront.The popularity of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, Matt Moran, and Matty Matheson has no doubt also increased interest in the use of culinary techniques in the cocktail world. Learning from the culinary world is a trend that can be seen in some of the world’s top bars with occasionally eyebrow-raising results, whether it’s a foie gras and salted caramel infused Manhattan; or even a margherita pizza cocktail.
Culinary expert, Matt Preston said, “With the rise of celebrity chefs and the increased interest in cuisine, the most enlightened mixologists will explore and experiment with flavours, textures, ingredients, and techniques borrowed from their peers in the world of fine dining.
From shock cuisine and hard core fermentation to extreme locality and the growth of restless “palate syndrome” there is so much the culinary and bartending worlds can learn from each other.”
Cocktails at Home
While consumers love to go out to bars, they want to create similar experiences at home is growing. There is research that indicates that 73% of younger drinkers enjoy cocktails at home on special occasions. People are switching-up the ingredients they keep in their kitchen cupboards for more adventurous cocktail-making. Charles Joly, “Rather than just cracking open a bottle of wine when guests arrive, it’s the logical next step for cocktail lovers to be able to craft beautiful cocktails at home when entertaining friends.”
Lauren Mote added, “The aim of WORLD CLASS is not just to find the best bartender in the world, we also want to inspire cocktail enthusiasts around the world to drink better, to give ‘home bartenders’ to the courage to explore what’s possible, creating their own signature cocktails in their kitchen.”