Has anything ever been more Instagrammable?
As this year comes to a close, it's time for us (or, you know, brands that have an interest in consumer data and trend forecasting) to look back upon the most "2018" cocktails of the last 12 months (frosé, Aperol spritzes, CBD-infused anything) and predict what will replace them in the wild, boozy unknown that is the 2019 bar scene. Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants has stepped up with a few solid guesses, culled from survey results submitted by over 100 chefs, sommeliers, general managers and bartenders who work within their properties.
Their first (and possibly most obvious) prediction? Aperol frosé (a.k.a. the marriage of two of 2018's most popular drinks) is going to be huge. Can you imagine the Instagram opportunities? We should mention that the idea of a slushy, wine-based Aperol cocktail isn't totally new. You can already find one particularly good version at The Springs, a Palm Springs-themed bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, where the bartenders add lemon, gin, and Chandon sparkling wine to give their frozen Aperol a little "zip."
Also on Kimpton's list of 2019 trends: savory cocktails (the brand cites Cacio e Pepe martinis and a gin drink featuring cucumber, mint, Greek yogurt and lemon to emulate a gyro) and cocktails made with obscure vegetables (think tomatillo, chayote, fiddleheads, jicama and sunchoke). That sense of experimentation will extend to food as well, with bartenders testing out drink-and-snack combos like wild boar heart and burgundy, oysters and gin, crickets and pisco, and champagne and fried chicken (a crowd pleaser for sure).
And, 70 percent of the bartenders surveyed were excited to play around with mushroom-infused spirits. So, don't be surprised if you see fungi Irish coffee, mushroom-and thyme-infused vodka, or mushroom tea mixed with sparkling wine pop up on your favorite bar's drink menu in the next few months.