Now that we’re almost a quarter of the way through 2012—and that much closer to our impending Mayan doom—it’s becoming clear that the ever-evolving world of mixology has sprouted some inventive new trends. If you look carefully, you can see them popping up at bars and lounges across the country. When you’re stepping out on the town, you don’t want to be a dinosaur and order, say, a Sazerac. . . that’s sooo 2011! In order to keep it fresh, check out this updated list of the top 5 cocktail trends of the year:
5.) Vinegar cocktails?!:
Strange but true. Vinegar is making its rounds as an acidic alternative to lemons and limes as a mixer in many of your favorite drinks. Red Medicine in Beverly Hills, for example, features no fewer than three vinegar-infused specialties on the menu at any given time. If you’re going to try this one at home, don’t go overboard, and use a more mellow variety like rice vinegar.
4.) Drinks on draft:
A few hip bars from coast-to-coast are offering pre-made craft cocktails out of a keg. This nifty trick isn’t just efficient, it also allows drinkers to enjoy a little added carbonation with their mixed drink. Jasper’s Corner Tap in San Francisco has a few draft lines specifically devoted to such, including one for their flavorful Hanky Panky; a gin drink with vermouth and Fernet Branca.
3.) Barrel-aged spirits:
Earlier in the month we told you all about the emerging popularity of barrel-aged Negronis. Well gin isn’t the only spirit to hit the barrel. Many aged Scotches and Cognacs are in favor and one booze brand, DeLeon, is even offering an extra-strength cask-aged tequila to tickle your fancy. Strong flavors and high alcohol content is back in a big way.
2.) Bacon is big:
One of the highlights of the recently-opened Umamicatessen in Downtown LA is their Bourbon Pig, featuring bacon-washed Bulleit bourbon garnished with a dried pig’s ear. And they’re not the only ones getting in on the prominence of pork. Mixologists from Seattle all the way to Manhattan are showcasing bacon-infused booze on their menus.
1.) Vodka is out, Rum is in:
Okay, vodka hasn’t really been ‘in’ for a while, and last year was all about the reemergence of gin. Although that trend hasn’t fully died out yet, rum is all the rage in 2012. Recently there has been a proliferation of this island spirit, from spiced rums like Santa Teresa to high-end sippers like El Dorado 21. Be on the lookout for cleverly crafted molecular mixes using rum as the primary ingredient and get ready to see this drink used in ways that you previously had never imagined. If the world is coming to an end in less than 9 months, you might as well be partying hard with a drink in-hand when it does.
VIDEO: Chocolate Mint Rum Cocktail