Cocktail culture is on the rise. Megane Akundabo reveals why that is and what trends are attracting more people to experiment with more cocktails
“Customers love that they’re in charge, they love that the cocktails are acquired to their taste. They know what they want, and more bars are required to provide them with exactly that.” says Rock City bartender, Praise Sibanda, 21, from Sheffield.
Around 20% of Brits prefer cocktails to other alcoholic beverages such as beer and wine, according to a survey commissioned by spirits brands Baileys, Gordon and Tanqueray. Despite being around for many years, only recently has there been a growth in cocktail culture in the UK with cocktail sales increasing by 7.5% at the start of 2018.
Regardless of cocktail recipes being accessible online, more people are going to bars instead of making their own at home.
According to CGA Strategy “an estimated 8.7 million British consumers now enjoy cocktails when drinking out of home.” ‘Be At One’s trainee general manager, Tinodiwa Charamba, 27, from Nottingham explains that even though it is cheaper to garnish your own cocktails, the experience isn’t same.
“You’re paying for the atmosphere. You come here and you want to get away from everything else. The music, lighting and furniture, all of that is being paid into the drink.”
When it comes to the perfect cocktail, there isn’t really one. Some may prefer theirs bitter and others sweet. However, it leads us to ask what is the most popular cocktail? Research by CGA indicates that the Pornstar Martini has surpassed the Mojito as the nation’s favourite cocktail.
This tropical chilled drink can be made in two simple steps:
Pornstar Martini in 2 steps You’ll need: - 60ml Vanilla Vodka - 15ml Passion fruit liqueur - 15ml Lime juice - 15ml Sugar syrup - 60ml Prosecco - 1 Passion fruit to garnish 1. Mix and shake together the first 4 ingredients with ice and strain into glass 2. Top up with prosecco and passion fruit to garnish Drink up!
New trends have played a massive part in the growth of cocktails, from new spirits to bizarre drink concoctions, the creativity of cocktail making is endless.
Here are some trends that have contributed to the growth of cocktail culture:
More colourful, fun cocktails are being introduced and posted online to attract people to bars to try them. Rufeiya Abulrehman, 21, from London states that “showing cocktails on Instagram works, especially today where we use it so much. It’s like you have loads of selection to choose from without actually going into the bar and seeing the menu.”
The popularity of social platforms like Instagram has changed bartenders’ mindsets in the way cocktails are made with more ‘Instagrammable’ cocktails being produced to attract potential customers.
Los Angeles’ Harvard & Stone bartender Aaron Polsky states in an interview with Forbes;
“Seeing other bars’ cocktail on Instagram definitely makes us mindful of our garnishes and presentations and pushes us to strive to be as good as we can with respect to those things.”
‘Bunk’s assistant manager James Butler, 22, from Nottingham expresses how Instagram has contributed in cocktails being more fashionable to an extent, pushing more alchemists and cocktail bars to experiment more with ingredients and garnishes.
“It’s [Instagram] made it a thing now. It’s like ‘oh let’s go to a cocktail bar, get a fancy cocktail and Instagram it. Everyone has made it boom.”
With more people becoming more health conscious, bars are beginning to adopt low-calorie and vegan based cocktails. Healthier alternative cocktails have broadened the variety of cocktails which people can choose from.
The trend of ‘skinny’ cocktails has grown in popularity, but many cocktail specialists don’t believe they have a chance of surpassing standard cocktails.
“More people are ordering them but they’re still not the main focus for everyone. I think they will become more popular, but I don’t think they’ll ever going to overtake normal cocktails.” States James.
Hidden bars (aka speakeasy bars) usually rely on word to mouth to attract customers. They add a more secret element to people’s cocktail experience. Cocktail enthusiast Deslyn Kurankye, 21, from London describes the adventure that comes with entering a secret bar rather than a standard one.
“I like the mystery that surrounds going into a hidden venue and it’s also nice to tick off your bucket list. Hidden bars are almost like tourist attractions so it’s nice to say that you’ve been there to experience what the hype is about.”
Here are 5 Hidden Bars to tick off your bucket list:
- Boilermaker – Nottingham
Hidden behind what seems to be a boiler shop, The Boilermaker is definitely one you would miss while walking around the city of Nottingham. Enter and try to find the secret door.
- Ladies & Gents – London
Since its opening in 2015, this formerly public toilet turned bar is still mistaken for a public toilet. Despite this, the award-winning Kentish Town underground bar is always flushed with customers and has recently opened a bar number two in Camden.
- Red Light – Bristol
Located in a basement, this drinking-den’s clues to its secret entrance are only a red light and phone box. The rest is for you to figure out.
- The Mayor of Scaredy Cat Town – London
Found inside The Breakfast Club in Shoreditch, to enter this quirky bar you’ll need a password. Announce to a member of staff that you’re “here to see the Mayor” and they’ll direct you to a Smeg fridge. Go through and see for yourself what’s on the other side.
- Washhouse – Manchester
From the outside this looks like a typical laundrette but step through into the washing machine and discover a cosy dim-lit bar providing a whole range of cocktails.