Bar patrons can look forward to a flood of new options combined with some returning '90s trends on menus in the new year. Surprising ingredients like pickles, coffee, and cannabis offer adventurous new choices for cocktail fans. Plus, the growing sober curious movement has opened up new low and zero-ABV options too.
Discover the cocktail trends that mixologists and bartenders can look forward to in 2023.
Low ABV and Zero-Proof
Interest in zero-proof and low ABV drinks have been growing for years now, and the mocktail trend shows no signs of slowing down in 2023. Celebrities are even getting in on the alcohol-free movement now, with Bella Hadid and Blake Lively both launching their own mocktail brands.
Cocktail connoisseurs are opting for lower alcohol options at home and at bars. For some that may mean ordering low-ABV alternative cocktails, like wine spritzers. Others are testing out mocktails made with alternative spirits like Seedlip.
Mix One Up
Seedlip offers ideas and recipes to pair with their three zero-proof spirit options. Try out their Orange Blossom Highball, which pairs perfectly with one of our 5" Trophy cubes (both available at select local Nugget Markets). To make it, mix:
- 2 ounces of Seedlip Grove 42
- ½ ounce of honey syrup
- 2 dashes of orange blossom water
- ¼ ounce of lemon juice
- 3 ounces of club soda
Blending Up Boozy Slushies
Boozy Slushy drinks are having a moment—Yelp saw a 77% increase in search for the frozen drinks. Slushy fans have a lot of great options at local bars, from ever-popular frosés to classics like a piña colada. Local breweries are also getting into the slushee fun, serving up Meadaritas.
Slushies are staples on local menus here in Sac; Midtown Spirits offers a selection of blended drinks year-round, and Block Ice client Shangri-la offers an excellent seasonal slushy.
Mix One Up
Try blending your own frosé with Real Simple's easy approach:
- 1 bottle of dry rosé, frozen into ice cubes
- 10 ounces of strawberries blended with 1 tablespoon of sugar
- ¼ cup of vodka
- 2 tablespoons of grenadine
Tequila Takes the Top Spot
Tequila was 2022's belle of the ball, and that's expected to continue into 2023. According to a report from Drizzly, 54% of retailers said that tequila has over-performed their expectations in 2022, and 64% plan to give the spirit more shelf space than any other spirit next year - beating out bourbon for the top spot.
To dip your toes in the local tequila scene, try Block Ice client Tacoa, or Sacramento restaurant and tequila museum Mayahuel.
Mix One Up
Get your tequila fix with a classic Margarita, served on the rocks over clear Block Ice. Liquor.com recommends using:
- 2 ounces blanco tequila
- ½ ounce orange liqueur
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- ½ ounce agave syrup
- Lime wheel and kosher salt for garnish
Bitters are Booming
Bacardi's 2022 Trends Report named aromatic or flavored bitters as the top ingredient piquing bartender interest this year. Aperol and Campari bitters in particular have seen a spike in popularity.
To develop your bitter side, pay a visit to Block Ice client Napa Valley Distillery. Their wide selection of cocktail bitters includes engaging flavors like grapefruit, celery, and black walnut. You can also get a little more adventurous with unique flavor options like Bennett's Exorcism Bitters, which has notes of molasses and stone fruit.
Mix one up
For a beverage that embraces bitters, try a classic Negroni.
- 1 ounce gin
- 1 ounce Campari bitters
- 1 ounce sweet vermouth
- Orange peel for garnish
Coffee Cocktails Make a Comeback
Espresso martinis were big in the 90s, and much like scrunchies and wide-legged jeans, now boozy coffee beverages are back. Coffee cocktails have seen a rise in popularity, with more and more bartenders shaking up drinks like espresso martinis. Hard coffee is also having a moment in the sun – between 2019 and 2020, hard coffee sales grew by 1100%.
Mix One Up
Make your own with Kahlua's recipe:
- 1 ounce Kahlua
- 1 ounce Absolut vodka
- 1 ounce espresso
- 3 coffee beans for garnish
A Pack of Pickles
If you're a pickle fiend, then this next trend is a big dill. According to food service industry insights from Technomic, pickled and fermented ingredients will continue to be popular in 2023. Bacardi's 2022 Trends report backs this up - brine was the second most popular cocktail ingredient on their list.
Look forward to sour cocktails that go beyond a classic dirty martini. You can embrace the sour trend with Midtown Spirits' housemade dill pickle vodka. You can also embrace the pickling craze with your garnishes - the Gibson famously requires a pickled onion to complete the drink.
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Try Liquor.com's Imitation of a Daydream for a savory take on this trend. You'll need:
- 1 ¾ ounces mezcal
- ¾ ounce fino sherry
- ¾ ounce pickled pear brine
- A pickled pear slice and rosemary sprig for garnish
Pop Open a Canned Cocktail
A step up from hard seltzer, canned cocktails have seen a jump in popularity in recent years. Demand for ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages like these grew by 126% in 2021. In 2023, look for canned cocktails featuring natural and botanical flavors.
Moving into 2023, look for more premium options and botanical flavors in RTD beverages. For those looking to avoid alcohol, CBD has also become a popular ingredient in canned cocktails.
Mix One Up
Try Block Ice co-owner Heather Briggs's favorite RTD cocktail, Cann. You'll need:
2023's cocktail trends are ushering in exciting new flavor palettes for adventurous drinkers. Make sure you're not diluting your beverages with poor-quality ice. Browse Block's selection of clear craft ice.