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What are the big trends in cocktails for 2023?

January 10, 2023

The giant Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report has dropped, giving plenty of insights into what 2023 will hold for cocktails and mixed drinks.

Of course, this is a report commissioned by Bacardi and profiles Bacardi consumers, which skews some results - for instance, the #1 cocktail is a mojito, which is a different step to other reports (that suggests either a spritz, margarita or maybe espresso martini as king). Still, the scale of this global survey gives worthy and interesting insights about what is happening in cocktails and mixed drinks.

So let's dive into some of the trends. We've quoted the intro for each trend from the report for interest and our own takeaways:

Cocktails at home are booming. Photo by Katherine Sousa on Unsplash

Pleasure Revolution

'People are turning away from a life of relentless productivity, instead shifting their focus from enhancement to enjoyment, and seeking cocktail experiences free from convention'

In other words, the boom in home cocktail-making is only going to get bigger. 37% of people surveyed globally are now making more cocktails at home vs. 2020. More importantly, expect cocktails as a genre to get even more prominent in the share of drinks - in the US, 38% of respondents to the Bacardi Consumer Survey expect to drink more cocktails over wine in 2023, and in South Africa, 44% of respondents are going to drink more cocktails than beer. Oof!

Brix's excellent Australian negroni (with spiced rum). source: Brix.

Transformational Tastes

'With greater control over their schedules, consumers are looking beyond traditional cocktail culture. Harnessing the move toward experimentation and flexibility, 2023 will transform when and where people celebrate with cocktails and the flavours they choose to enjoy.'

Besides reporting that spicy and bitter drinks are now more popular (unsurprising given the growth of spicy food in global diets). What's more interesting is the continuing push towards nostalgia (that we first profiled last year), with a recent Mintel study revealing that consumers aged 25-44 are most likely to enjoy things that remind them of the past. In other words, look towards the ongoing popularity of classic drinks like a negroni, margarita, old fashioned or a martini.

The smart Bizzarro Spritz - good to go. Source: Bizzarro web.

Virtual Experimentation

'The digital realm is proving rife for drinks innovation, with accelerating technologies providing fresh paths to cocktail discovery, creation, and enjoyment'.

While much of the push to AI and the metaverse that this trend centres on are looking at a longer view, there is no question that on-demand drinks are revolutionising cocktail consumption right now. The Bacardi Consumer Survey reveals that more than 35% of respondents in the U.S. now order cocktails 'to go' from a bar or restaurant, with (33%) using a third-party delivery service. Further, the pace of RTD and premixed cocktail adoption is only going to grow, with an Insight Ace Analytic report revealing that the RTD market, currently valued at $36.42bn, is expected to grow globally at 11.2% CAGR by 2030.

Curatif's quality cans continue to impress. Source: Curatif.

Sophisticated Sips

'Revitalised attitudes to spirits are encouraging premiumisation across categories, as consumers lean into the sophistication and experimentation afforded by high-quality mixology'.

Premiumisation continues to roll on, despite suggestions that an economic downturn is going to put a dent in growth, with 72% of bartenders say they’re seeing the most premiumisation within tequila, followed by single malts, aged rum, and mezcal. The other side to this trend is the increasing focus on ingredients, with research from the Bacardi Consumer Survey 2022 revealing that nearly half of consumers in several key markets say 'it’s extremely important' for them to
drink cocktails that contain higher-quality spirits and mixers.

Lyre's agave spirit is a perfect example of a conscious cocktail. Source: Lyre's.

Conscious Cocktails

'Purpose has never been more important. As the mindful drinking movement matures, individuals are seeking the same consciousness from the organizations they interact with, encouraging drinks brands to further enshrine sustainability and community building across the industry'.

Ethical and sustainable business practices are more important than ever, with consumers now expecting brands to align with their beliefs, even in drinks. This starts with bartenders, with 44% interested in zero waste issues, and more than half of consumer respondents stated that recyclable packaging was important to their drink considerations. The other side of this trend is the booming popularity of NOLO drinks, which taps neatly into the 'good for me' megatrend. What's interesting is that most of these non-alc drinkers are what Lyre's founder Carl Hartmann calls 'switchers' (which we explored in this exclusive interview last year), where drinkers are swapping out their alcoholic beverage for a no or low-alcohol version. Intriguingly, 57% of respondents globally stated they will participate in Dry January and/or Sober October in 2023. It's going to be a big year for NOLO!

Want more? Read the full report here. Otherwise, if you're looking for inspiration...

Wildly popular Smug AF cocktails. Souce: Smug AF

Ten trending premium cocktails from 2022

  • Smug AF Non-Alcoholic Margarita
  • Staple Drinks Gin Soda Cucumber
  • Curatif Tequila Tromba Tommy's Margarita
  • Smug AF Non Alcoholic Bellini
  • Naked Life Non Alcoholic Margarita
  • Naked Life Non Alcoholic Negroni
  • Bizzarro Aperitivo Spritz Can
  • Curatif Archie Rose Espresso Martini
  • Ester Negroni
  • Brix Peach & Ruby Grapefruit RTD

Purchase these for your venue on Kaddy Marketplace now!