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The Best Cocktail Trends to Infuse in Your Bar for 2024

Cocktails can hold different meanings. For some, it could represent a festive occasion, while for others, it could be their way to destress after a long day at work. 

As a bar owner, it’s smart to upgrade your offerings with cocktail trends that will make a simple celebration happier and turn chill moments even more relaxing.

You might add a savory taste to your classic Margarita. Or shake in a velvety texture in a glass of cocktail. Or might as well upscale your bar operations using technology like QR code menus so customers no longer wait for their turn at the counter.

Adjustments—whether small or big—can make highball improvements in your business, and it reflects on your customers.

Cocktail options
Bartenders prepare drinks for guests.

Updating your menu based on what’s trending pushes your business forward and displays your commitment to go higher than where you are right now. 

So, to give you a headstart, here’s a compilation of the best cocktail trends you might want to add to your menu.

Savory sips 

Umami flavors in your cocktail drink menu are all the rage in 2024. 

Umami—often called the fifth taste alongside sweet, sour, salty, and bitter—adds depth and complexity to dishes and beverages. 

As such, the bar industry is now tapping into this flavor sensation by integrating ingredients like tahini, miso, mushrooms, and seaweed to create complex and unexpected flavor profiles. 

For example, you can venture on Smoky Mushroom Mezcal Margarita, rimmed with smoked sea salt filled with a blend of mezcal, freshly squeezed lime juice, and a house-made mushroom-infused syrup. 

Minimalist masterpieces

Less is indeed more when it comes to cocktails. 

Instead of complex concoctions with numerous components, focus on using high-quality ingredients.

This ensures that each element of the cocktail contributes to its overall taste and character. Whether it’s a smooth bourbon, a crisp gin, or a flavorful rum, the quality of the spirit becomes the foundation upon which the drink is built. 

For instance, you can have Negroni, Old Fashioned, or Martini.

With only two or three ingredients, minimalist cocktails offer a canvas for creativity within constraints. 

Fat-washing finesse

This is a culinary technique that brings a unique twist to cocktail crafting. 

In this process, a spirit—gin or whiskey—is combined with the flavors and textures of fats from other ingredients, like coconut or sesame. 

The result is a cocktail with a velvety mouthfeel and an intriguing flavor profile that may not be achievable through traditional mixing methods alone. 

High-tech twists 

Indeed, technology has become a significant player in the evolution of the bar industry, offering innovative solutions for enhancing flavors, textures, and overall drink experiences. 

While larger establishments may have the resources to invest in high-tech equipment, like centrifuges and sous vide machines, smaller-scale bars can still tap into these trends by using more accessible methods. 

Whatever the size of your bar business, it’s guaranteed that you can achieve similar results using simple techniques like cheesecloth or fine strainers instead of investing in a centrifuge to purify juices. 

This improves the shelf life of juices and enhances the clarity and appearance of cocktails. 

Value-conscious cocktails 

With the rising costs of ingredients that can abruptly affect your bar or restaurant menu pricing, focusing on creating cocktails that are affordable yet delicious is a smart approach. 

One strategy for creating one is using smaller liquor portions without sacrificing flavor. 

By carefully balancing the ratios of spirits to mixers and other ingredients, bartenders can create cocktails that deliver a satisfying taste experience while minimizing costs. 

Let’s say the traditional margarita recipe requires adding 2 ounces of tequila; you can tone it down to 1.5 and still give your customers the same taste at a lower price point. 

Spiked slushies

Spike slushies are definitely part of the top 10 cocktails for 2024. 

This represents a delightful fusion of nostalgia and modern mixology, marking their resurgence as a popular choice in bars and social gatherings. 

One of the key appeals of spike slushies is their versatility. They provide a canvas for mixologists to experiment with a broader array of flavors, from tropical fruits to tangy citrus, that create a spectrum of vibrant and enticing options. 

For instance, you can have a tangy margarita, a fruity daiquiri, or a zesty mojito. 

These icy concoctions, crafted from traditional slushie machines and innovative cocktail recipes, offer a refreshing twist on classic libations. 

No- and low-ABV cocktails

The demand for non-alcoholic and low-alcoholic drinks is also on the rise.  

The market size for these ballooned from $563 billion in 2023 to $597 billion in 2024, according to a recent report by Statista. 

This is due in part to the growing popularity of the sober-curious movement and the fact that many people are looking for lighter, healthier, and more refreshing drinks. 

By incorporating high-quality non-alcoholic spirits, house-made syrups, fresh juices, and artisanal bitters, your bartenders can make a diverse array of complex and delicious drinks like Virgin Mojito, No-jito (substituted rum with a non-alcoholic spirit), and Low-ABV Spritz that can cater to all tastes and preferences. 

Throwback tipples

The resurgence of the 90s list of cocktails is a delightful nod to a decade known for its vibrant nightlife and iconic drinks. 

Among the beloved classics making a triumphant return to bar menus are the Cosmopolitan, the Espresso Martini, and the Long Island Iced Tea. 

Each of these cocktails carries a distinct flavor profile and cultural significance that resonates with both nostalgia seekers and those eager to explore the tastes of the past. 

Twist on the classics

Classic cocktails are always popular, but this can be given a modern twist. 

This means using a new spirit, a different type of sweetener, or an unexpected garnish that will blow the minds of your customers.

For example, you might see a Negroni made with mezcal instead of gin or a Margarita rimmed with chili powder instead of salt. 

Wellness in a glass 

People are increasingly interested in healthy cocktails that incorporate functional ingredients.

This includes cocktails with adaptogens like ashwagandha or drinks with components that boast health benefits like antioxidants or probiotics. 

Be sure to research the properties of these ingredients and communicate the potential benefits to your customers. 

Additional List of 2024 cocktail recipes to experiment 

Cocktails for bargoers
Various bar menu options.

Lychee Rose Gin Spritz

It’s a refreshing cocktail that combines the floral notes of rose with the sweetness of lychee and gin botanicals.

It is then topped with sparking water or prosecco for a bubbly finish. 

This is a perfect choice for those who enjoy floral and fruity flavors with a hint of sophistication. 

Dole Whip Float

Inspired by the iconic Disney treat, this popular drink features a Dole pineapple soft serve floating in a mix of rum or vodka and pineapple juice. 

It’s a tropical vacation in a glass, with the creamy pineapple goodness of the Dole balanced by the kick of alcohol. 

Spicy Paloma

This is a spicy twist on the classic Paloma cocktail.

This version adds a kick with the addition of jalapeño or chili-infused tequila. Combined with grapefruit, soda, lime juice, and a salted rim, it perfectly balances heat, sweetness, and tartness. 

Espresso Martini Martini

This cocktail is a double dose of smoothness and caffeine, merging the rich flavors of espresso with vodka, coffee liqueur, and a hint of simple syrup.

It’s a luxurious option for coffee lovers who enjoy sweetness in their drinks. 

Strawberry Basil Mojito 

This fruity and herbaceous twist on the classic mojito features muddled strawberries and fresh basil leaves mixed with rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and soda water. 

It’s a refreshing and vibrant cocktail perfect for warm summer days. 

Blackberry Lavender Gin Fizz 

A floral and fruity delight, this cocktail combines gin’s botanicals with the sweetness of blackberries and the aromatic essence of lavender syrup. 

Added with soda water and a splash of lemon juice, it’s a delicious and visually stunning drink that your customers will surely return for more. 

S’more Martini 

This is a combination of flavors of chocolate, marshmallow, and graham crackers with vodka, chocolate liqueur, and cream. 

It is a decadent dessert cocktail best for indulging your sweet tooth. 

Apple Cider Margarita 

This seasonal twist on the margarita highlights apple cider’s crisp and tangy flavors infused with tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and a cinnamon-sugar rim. 

This is a festive and flavorful cocktail that captures the essence of autumn. 

Smoked Old Fashioned 

A modern take on the classic Old Fashioned, this adds a smoky flavor by adding the drink with aromatic smoke before serving. 

With bourbon or whiskey, sugar, bitters, and a splash of orange zest, it’s a bold choice for whiskey enthusiasts. 

Hibiscus Paloma 

This vibrant and floral cocktail has the tartness of grapefruit soda, floral notes of hibiscus syrup and tequila, and a lime juice splash. 

Prosecco Mint Julep 

A sparkling upgrade on the classic mint julep with bourbon, mint leaves, simple syrup, and prosecco for a refreshing and bubbly take on this traditional southern favorite. 

Blueberry Gin & Tonic 

Another sip to add to your menu is this colorful and fruity variation of the classic gin, tonic water, and a splash of lime juice. 

St. Germain Spritz 

This elegant and floral cocktail combines St. Germain elderflower liqueur with sparkling wine and soda water, garnished with a lemon or cucumber. 

New cocktail techniques to add to your bartender’s skill manual

Bartenders are the captains of your counters, so it is essential that they are equipped with various skills, not just making drinks. 

This makes them versatile when they are up with new recipes—a plus for your business, for sure. 

Molecular Mixology

This modern approach to cocktail-making involves using scientific principles and techniques to transform liquid ingredients into visually appealing and creatively crafted drinks. 

From containing flavors in edible spheres using spherification and creating light and airy foams through emulsifiers to thickening cocktails into gels with stabilizers, molecular mixology provides endless possibilities for innovation. 

Your bartenders can explore ingredients like agar-agar, calcium lactate, and sodium alginate to push the boundaries of traditional mixology and create drink trends that are not only delicious but also captivating. 

Smoking 

Smoking cocktails adds complexity and depth to their flavor profiles, upgrading them to a new level. 

This technique uses a smoking gun to infuse drinks with aromas from wood chips or herbs or even smoking individual ingredients before incorporating them into a cocktail. 

Popular choices for smoking include hickory, applewood, cedar, and herbs like rosemary or thyme. 

Sous Vide 

Sous vide, which means “under vacuum” in French, is a cooking technique that seals ingredients in airtight bags and cooks them in a water bath at a precisely controlled temperature. 

This method is used in the kitchen and the bar to merge flavors into spirits, create unique syrups and infusions, and even age cocktails. 

By vacuum-sealing your ingredients and spirits and sous-viding them at low temperatures, you can extract flavors more efficiently and achieve consistent and reproducible results. 

Barrel aging 

Aging drinks in barrels is a practice that dates back centuries and is experiencing a resurgence in the modern bar scene. 

By aging cocktails in oak barrels, you can impart flavors from the wood, such as vanilla, caramel, and spice, while also mellowing the harsh edges of the ingredients. 

Common choices for barrel-aged cocktails include classics like the Negroni, Manhattan, and Old Fashioned. Still, you can encourage your bartenders to give their take to see how different spirits and ingredients evolve. 

Combining unexpected ingredients and techniques to create a unique drink menu is pushing the boundaries of creative mixology. 

From fusion cocktails that blend different cultural influences to advanced creations that challenge conventional ways, hybrid options on drinks are all about breaking the rules and redefining what a cocktail can be.

This can give your bartenders an avenue where they can draw inspiration from culinary trends, cultural movements, and even pop culture to create drinks that are as unique and unforgettable as they are delicious. 

Interactive Cocktail trends

Interactive bar menu ideas in cocktails are all about engaging the senses and creating a memorable drinking experience for customers that goes beyond the taste. 

Let’s say you offer a cocktail that changes colors or texture as these are mixed or stirred to drinks emitting aroma. This adds an element of surprise and can delight your guests. 

Your bartenders can use techniques like molecular gastronomy, sensory manipulation, and even technology to create drinks that captivate the imagination and can leave a lasting impression. 

5 smart gimmicks to update your menu with these cocktail trends

Daily or weekly specials

Introduce rotating specials that align with current trends. 

This allows you to experiment with flavors, techniques, or ingredients without committing to a permanent menu change. 

For instance, you could have a “Trendy Tuesday” featuring a cocktail incorporating the latest popular ingredient or style. 

Customization options using a QR code menu

QR codes for bar ordering
Ordering through a menu QR code.

Offer customization options for your cocktails using a QR code menu on your counter tables. 

This is an advanced way for customers to personalize their orders by scanning the code using their mobile phones. 

It includes adding trendy ingredients as optional add-ons or allowing customers to choose from flavor enhancers or garnishes. 

By allowing customers to tailor their drinks, you can accommodate different tastes and preferences while staying relevant to the trend. 

But remember to put clear and simple instructions on how to scan a menu QR code to cater to various customer demographics.

Limited-time offerings 

Create limited-time offerings tied to seasonal or thematic trends. 

For example, you could feature a series of refreshing, fruit-forward cocktails inspired by seasonal fruits during the summer. 

These limited-time promotions create a sense of urgency and excitement among customers, encouraging them to try something new before it’s gone. 

Collaborations and guest mixologists

Collaborate with local mixologists or beverage brands to create exclusive events. 

This introduces fresh perspectives and expertise, generates buzz, and attracts new customers interested in experiencing something unique. 

Educational tastings and workshops 

Host educational tastings or workshops focused on cocktail trends. Invite customers to learn different ingredients, recipes, and methods currently famous in the industry. 

This engages your target market and positions your bar as a knowledgeable authority in the industry. 

Additionally, it provides an opportunity to gather feedback and gauge interest in potential menu changes based on the trends highlighted during the event. 

MENU TIGER QR code menu software: An advanced tech assistant for your bar 

Interactive menu for bars
The Bar owner uses smart menu software.

Keeping up with the trend, be it in your offerings or services, is one of the critical components you need to adapt to in the business. 

Whether we like it or not, the competition is tight among the pool of bar operators around your location. 

So, how will you put your bar’s flag on the map? 

Adding to your new set of cocktails, methods, and techniques, a restaurant technology like MENU TIGER can definitely lead the way for you to do so. 

Here’s a list of what this smart menu software can do for you:

Menu customization 

Adjust your menu offerings according to your bar’s specialties, seasonal changes, or customer preferences. 

This allows customers to personalize their orders according to their preferences without the need for you to make different versions of your menu. 

You can also tailor item descriptions to highlight unique features and make changes in your pricing to reflect the market demands.

Aside from that, adding promo deals made it easier with its high-level customization option, wherein you can input and remove it instantly, depending on the time frame. 

Contactless ordering 

Allowing customers to browse the menu, place orders, and make payments directly from their smartphones by means of scanning the digital menu QR code reduces physical contact and wait times. 

This streamlines the ordering process by eliminating the need for paper menus, order taking at the counter, and manual payment processing. 

Multilingual language support

MENU TIGER offers menus in  15 languages to cater to diverse customers. 

This removes the language barrier between your staff and the guests, professionally accommodating their needs when ordering. 

Easily switch between languages within the digital menu interface for seamless accessibility. 

Real-time updates

You can make changes to your menu instantly, such as updating prices, adding new items, or removing sold-out items. 

It ensures that customers always have access to the most current menu information, reducing confusion and frustration. 

Integration with the POS system

MENU TIGER now has a Loyverse integration, which makes syncing orders, processing payments, and managing inventory seamless.

This minimizes manual data entry and ensures accurate order fulfillment by automating the communication between your menu software and the POS system. 

Cheers to a trendy bar and tech-savvy overall service with QR code menus  

Staying ahead of the curve by keeping up with the cocktail trends is fulfilling and frustrating at the same time. 

You must undergo many changes and innovations just to provide your patrons with the best quality and trendy options. 

At some point, you may fall short of other aspects, such as efficient and fast customer service. Maybe you give your full attention to what you can provide to the table. 

That’s what QR code menu technology like MENU TIGER is here for: to help you give the best of the best offerings out there, paired with excellent service that makes your customers come back for more. 

With just a few clicks on your device, you can create an account and try how this innovative menu technology can clear the way for you. 

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