Consumers’ changing tastes, habits shake up cocktail trends
February 14, 2018
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This post is sponsored by Stirrings.

The evolution of the craft cocktail movement, desire for simpler ingredients and rising interest in alcohol-free beverages are giving rise to new cocktail trends.

A “back-to-basics” approach will prevail at bars this year as bartenders turn away from the overly complicated drinks popularized in the early stages of the craft cocktail movement, the Observer reported. Simpler drinks and slight twists on classic cocktails put the focus on quality ingredients and can often be made in batches. Cocktail mixer brand Stirrings offers classic mixers such as Simple Mojito, Simple Margarita and Simple Bloody Mary that can be combined with alcohol for a quick and easy cocktail that patrons can also recreate at home.

All of the brand’s mixers are made with a short list of natural ingredients, such as cane sugar and real fruit juice. Simple ingredients have always been part of Stirrings’ philosophy, but the straightforward formulations are especially relevant to today’s consumers -- eight out of 10 consumers said they choose products with fewer ingredients and look for ingredients that they can understand and pronounce, according to a 2017 survey by the Natural Marketing Institute.

Stirrings was founded in 1997 with the mission to use only the best ingredients and create cocktail mixers and bar ingredients that people feel good about drinking. The brand has undergone many changes since then, adding and removing flavors based on current trends, said Samantha Arredondo, marketing manager for the Massachusetts-based brand. The newest additions to the lineup are the 5 Calorie Margarita and Cosmopolitan, aimed at consumers who want drinks that are lower in calories and sugar.

In addition to mixers, Stirrings offers classic bar ingredients including simple syrup and blood orange bitters that can be used in iconic cocktails, as well as cocktail rimmer garnishes that can add flavor and flair to drinks with or without alcohol.

Non-alcoholic cocktails landed on several top trends lists for 2018, including the National Restaurant Association’s What’s Hot culinary forecast, in which 45% of chefs surveyed identified mocktails as a hot trend.

Mocktails offer teetotaling diners options that can be just as complex and exciting as alcoholic drinks, and many mocktails are inspired by the flavor profiles of popular cocktails. Stirrings has recipes that combine its craft mixers with tea, herbs and other ingredients to create alcohol-free drinks such as the green tea margarita or peach basil spritzer made with Simple Peach Bellini Mix and sparkling water.

“Stirrings is great for mocktails because of the real juice that is used and no addition of artificial preservatives which might throw off the flavors,” Arredondo said. “Our products are so simple, we've done the mixing part and all the consumer needs to do is add their favorite non-alcoholic base like soda, sparkling water or iced tea.”

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