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By Block Ice | February 27, 2023

What’s trending in the cocktail scene for 2023? Bartenders and tastemakers are weighing in on the drinks that are taking the cocktail world by storm. The biggest trendsetters are cashing in on nostalgia because everything old in the cocktail world is suddenly new again.

Sours take Center Stage

Sours are the latest darling of the cocktail scene, according to Mitch Mandujano, bar manager of New York’s Ernesto’s.

“The possibilities are endless; it can be enjoyed during the warmer and colder months. It’s a versatile cocktail that could be on the up and up, all you need is a celebrity saying they want prosecco in it!”

Sour cocktails have stood the test of time and are one of the oldest and most beloved cocktail families. The delightful blend of sweet and tart flavors is a classic combination that never goes out of style, no matter what era you find yourself in. 

A sour cocktail recipe typically consists of liquor, citrus juice, and a sweetener, and you might be surprised to learn that some of your favorite cocktails fall under this category. The Margarita and the Cosmo are just a couple of examples of sours that have gained immense popularity over the years.

Elevated Experiences 

Cocktail lovers have long been sharing their drinks on social media. Since this trend is here to stay, bars and restaurants are continuing to up their cocktail game with more elevated experiences that are perfectly ‘grammable.

From avant-garde preparations to specialty glassware, artisanal ice stamped with a bar logo or infused with herbs and edible flowers, and over-the-top garnishes, drink presentation has never been more important.

Elevate your cocktail game: order Block Ice artisanal cocktail ice.

90s Cocktails Come Back

The ultimate 2023 cocktail trend is the resurgence of 90s darlings. 

So get out your cosmo recipes and get ready to party like Samantha, Miranda, Carrie, and Charlotte hitting the Big Apple, because 90s drinks are making a come back. 

Bridget Albert, bartender and senior director of external communications for Southern Glazers Wines & Spirits, predicts a resurgence of ’90s cocktails like the Espresso Martini and Apple Martini, with modern twists and high-quality ingredients.

Head back to the good ol’ days with this list of 90s drinks that still taste awesome.

Sophisticated Sobriety

Non-alcoholic cocktails (mocktails) have been increasing in popularity with the health-conscious and the sober curious. Luckily, that means there are more choices than ever for those who want to enjoy a drink with low- or no-alcohol at a bar or restaurant. Goodbye, Shirley Temple. Today’s mocktails are sophisticated with nuanced flavors and beautiful presentations.

“For so long, people who didn’t drink had to be content with whatever they got,” says Derek Brown, bartender and owner of the mindful drinks consulting company, Positive Damage in Washington, D.C. 

“We know almost a quarter of consumers don’t drink, and that over 80 percent of people buying non-alcoholic products also drink alcohol. So, it’s no longer a select few. Non-drinkers and drinkers alike want adult sophisticated cocktails, spirits, beers, and wines.” Brown expects that non-alcoholic distilleries, small-production wine alternatives, and niche non-alcoholic distillates will continue to grow.

Shhhh…. Speakeasies are Here

Speakeasies emerged during the Prohibition era when alcohol consumption and sale were illegal. Their clandestine nature made speakeasies alluring, adventurous, glamorous, and even perilous, which added to their allure.

Today, speakeasies are back in vogue as they offer a nostalgic and one-of-a-kind experience that takes people back to the Prohibition era. Modern speakeasies are designed to recreate the ambiance of the original speakeasies, with secret entrances, concealed bars, and vintage decor. Additionally, these establishments serve unique and innovative cocktails that are not available anywhere else.

The combination of secrecy, elegance, and original drinks make speakeasies a popular destination for people looking for an exceptional and unforgettable drinking experience.

The password is… check out our list of Sacramento-area speakeasies.

Why is the Rum Gone?

Rum is having its moment in the sun. In a Drizly survey, one-third of the delivery platform’s audience reported they were more likely to spend money on rum than bourbon. 

Rum cocktails are a popular choice among drinkers for many reasons. The sweet and complex flavor profile of rum, which can vary from light and floral to dark and smoky, makes it a versatile spirit that pairs well with a wide range of mixers and garnishes. 

Additionally, rum’s tropical associations bring to mind exotic vacations, sunny beaches, and carefree summer days, making it a perfect choice for summertime cocktails. Its history as a drink of pirates and sailors also adds to its appeal and lends an air of adventure and mystery to any cocktail made with rum. 

Whether sipping a classic daiquiri or a more modern creation, rum cocktails offer a perfect balance of sweetness, acidity, and complexity that appeals to many different palates.

Find rum cocktail recipes for every occasion.

If there’s one thing that can be said about this year’s cocktails, it’s a resurgence of the nostalgia and comfort of old flavors reimagined. From 90s cocktails to sours and speakeasies, the best way to grab the attention of today’s cocktail crowd is to look back at the past.

Blog image courtesy of The Snug bar.