In 2022, the world took an anything-goes approach to drinking. Dogmatic rules continued to loosen, making room for everything from vodka Martinis to nonalcoholic Negronis to cocktails made snackable, savory and solid. While seemingly every style of drink had its day in the sun, which ones have what it takes to stick it out in the new year?
We polled beverage professionals on the movements that have defined the past year in drinking, asking them which trends should stay and which should go. We spoke to Aaron Goldfarb (author, Hacking Whiskey; contributor, Punch), Jack Schramm (co-founder, Solid Wiggles; contributor, Punch), Jaya Saxena (correspondent, Eater; contributor, Punch), Orlando Franklin McCray (bar director, Nightmoves) and Tierney Plumb (editor, Eater Washington, D.C.), as well as our own Talia Baiocchi (editor-in-chief), Chloe Frechette (senior editor) and Mary Anne Porto (associate editor). Here’s what they had to say.
The ’90s Redux
Jaya Saxena: This should stay. I’m a fan of any trend that encourages whimsy. Also, I think more people should be forced to say drink names like “Red-Headed Slut” out loud.
Orlando Franklin McCray: I think that focusing on a drink’s past is pretty reductive, like, if I ordered a Cosmo and someone said, “That drink is from 30 years ago,” I’d stop talking to that person.
Aaron Goldfarb: I’m still a sucker for a blue drink.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay. Still patiently awaiting the return of the Sex on the Beach...
Chloe Frechette: For a cocktail to be seriously good, it doesn’t always have to be serious. Bring on the kitsch.
Jack Schramm: If you want them to go, it means you’re too cool to have fun. There is joy in taking an ingredient that “good” bartenders think is trash and making something delicious with it.
Tierney Plumb: Everyone loves a good comeback, but do it well or get creative.
Mary Anne Porto: I want a fancy Appletini!
Across the country, new jewel-toned, mirror-clad bars started serving all things bubbly and bittersweet under the glare of a disco ball.
Chloe: Stay. I thought the Italians had aperitivo down, but it turns out they forgot the disco ball and DJs.
Jaya: I know trends will come and go, but an Aperol Spritz is still a damn good drink and I like that I can get them in more places now.
Orlando: I love the idea of people having whatever they prefer, partying next to other people doing the same.
Jack: Who doesn’t want the opportunity to dance and drink good cocktails? Please let us keep our spritzes and light-up dance floors.
Talia: Just add a “wine jockey” and you’ve got yourself the most 2023 party.
The Long Island Iced Tea Strikes Back
Served hot, large-format and on draft, the LIIT had its best year since 1980.
Jaya: Stay. The Long Island is the epitome of a cocktail. “Oh, you like cocktails? Name every liquor and put all of them in one glass.” No bar should be without one.
Orlando: I don’t like to yuck peoples yum; I have always been an advocate of the “top-shelf only” version if someone really wants it. $80 pls.
Chloe: These should go. I know I said bring on the kitsch earlier, but I gotta draw the line somewhere.
Mary: LIIT reminds me of being in college, having a drink ticket at an event and asking for one, thinking that you’re a genius that’s hacked the system. Go.
Jack: I want to see all the variations! Large-format Incredible Hulk 2023!
The Return of... Foam?
If you thought this was a relic of the past, think again.
Aaron: Go. Would prefer the return of foam parties.
Chloe: Go. And please can we stop calling it “air”?
Jaya: I love a fluffy texture in a cocktail; it’s always worked far better for drinks than dotted on a plate. Stay.
Talia: This is not the kind of ’90s revival I’m looking for.
Mary: Froth > foam!
Tierney: I’m a fan! The Salt Air Margarita at Oyamel is one of my all-time favorites in D.C. But let’s not overdo it.
Jack: It’s never been an element that improves the flavor or the overall drinking experience. It only exists as a flex for the bartender to show how cool they are that they know how to do the technique. The only foam should be from egg whites, carbonation or shaking hard.
Off-the-Rails Salt Rims
Jaya: Please, my hands are so sticky, just let me go.
Orlando: I’m not a garnish person. What’s in your glass should speak for itself. Also, a garnish is not a pairing.
Tierney: If it’s Tajín, then I’m for it all the time, but wrapping a glass with all that chunky salt or sugar is sort of a waste.
Mary: Pop Rocks on a rim would stress me out, I think.
Aaron: Stay. You simply cannot put enough salt on a glass for me.
Chloe: Am I supposed to lick the side of the glass? Don’t make me do that!
Jack: Keep it tidy and on half the rim—only on the outside, please!
Dirty Martini Mania
How dirty is too dirty?
Chloe: I’ve ordered one too many dirty Martinis (from a menu!) that are just plain foul. Find your sodium elsewhere, friends.
Aaron: They’re a great way to dispense with almost-finished olive, pickle, capers and gefilte fish jars in the back of my fridge. Stay.
Mary: As an olive hater, I say stay. I’m into getting the brininess from elsewhere.
Jaya: “Dirty” should not be a synonym for “drinking an entire glass of saltwater with your dinner.” Go.
Jack: Stay. Still waiting for equal parts vodka and fino sherry served in a hollowed-out leg of Ibérico ham. It’s not over until we’re more hungover from the salt than the booze.
Talia: Stay. But only so I can double-dare you, Jack.
Everything Is A Spritz
The Spritz has become the new ’Tini—now everything from hard seltzers to Margaritas bears the name.
Jaya: We can just say carbonated! We have the language! We have the power!
Orlando: Stay. Canned cocktails or seltzers or spritzes are great for bar programs that don’t have the extra space/time/line whatever. But the market is so saturated with poor products that as a trend, I don’t think it’ll make sense to consumers for a couple of years.
Chloe: Stop sullying the spritz name.
Talia: Go. Time for the spritz to lawyer up.
Jack: Words have meaning. We can’t descend all the way into madness.
The V-Shaped Martini Glass Is Back
Watch out, coupe.
Chloe: Stay. The glass was never the problem, what was in it was.
Jaya: Everyone knows Martinis get you sloshed, so being able to balance one in a V-shaped glass is the only way to express dominance among your peers.
Tierney: The coupe has less of a spillage factor, but there’s something sexy and timeless about the V shape. Stay.
Aaron: Fine at the bar, still not great for table service.
Orlando: Coupes are stupid. They’re too flat, which makes anything with bubbles real flat real fast and anything cold warm up quickly.
Jack: I hated them for so long because when I was learning to make drinks it wasn’t stylish. It was all about cocktail history and that meant COUPES ONLY. Now I understand the allure. The rigidly straight lines are exciting, and it makes the drinker focus on the cocktail in hand so as not to spill.
New takes on rosé are copper-hued, flor-aged, built to cellar and otherwise experimental.
Jaya: I don’t know what most of these words mean but I love a weird wine, let’s go.
Orlando: Go. All I [ever] hear is another iteration of “I’ll have a glass of orange.” I’m good on that.
Talia: I think we’re just finally starting to understand the full spectrum of what “rosé” can be. Stay.
Jack: I love a deep, rich rosé. The ultimate pairing for a steak grilled over coals consumed outside on a hot summer day. One of the best pairings in the world.
Chloe: Bring it on. Hopefully these wines become the rule rather than the exception for rosé.
Mary: Stay. And I hope the new rosés have a better slogan than #RoséAllDay.
The mini cocktail has gone beyond the Snaquiri.
Tierney: Stay. Small cocktails are like small plates. If one sort of sucks, you can quickly order something else.
Mary: I become immediately indecisive when looking at a drink menu, so I like the idea of drinking something snackable while I decide what to have next.
Chloe: Stay. You can never have too many!
Orlando: Bottle it or put it on draft, you can serve as much (or as little) as you want. Stay.
Jaya: Sometimes I do not want to get drunk but I DO want a little buzz and to keep my hands occupied!
Aaron: Stay. A great way to pretend you’re drinking low ABV for one night. (I’ll take a dozen.)
Return of the Vodka Martini
Orlando: If you go to Harry’s Bar in Venice and ask for a Silver Bullet, you’re getting a vodka Martini out of the freezer. After I had one for the first time, I didn’t question it again. Hating on tried-and-true things people enjoy should be out in 2023.
Jaya: I have never liked plain Martinis, so far be it from me to dictate what others should do with theirs. Go with god!
Chloe: For a lot of drinkers, it probably never left, but I’m happy for them that their call drink is now often a legit menu drink.
Aaron: I’ve always kinda admired drinkers that prioritize drunkenness over any discernible flavor.
Jack: There is a time and place for everything, even the vodka Martini. Ultimately, the coolest thing a bartender can do is make someone the drink they want and not make them feel bad about it.
Canned Ranch Water
Ranch Water became one of the most popular styles of ready-to-drink cocktails.
Mary: When we did our tasting, some were pretty good, more than one tasted like watered-down pickled pepper brine and many were not great. Ranch Water, believe it or not, is already portable if you go the build-in-a-Topo route.
Aaron: Go. And take all the other shitty canned cocktails with you.
Orlando: Go. One should be concerned with the tequila they’re drinking.
Chloe: I get the argument for portability, but as someone who doesn’t get invited out much I’m good with keeping it à la minute.
Jack: Stay. Can’t bring glass to the beach!
The Return of Jell-O Shots
The gelatinous booze revival is here.
Jaya: Truly, who does not enjoy this. I will fight you. This is pure fun, get over yourself.
Chloe: Jaya and I will be teaming up to fight any naysayers here.
Jack: Selfishly, of course I think they should stay. Check out Solid Wiggles—we would love to be a feature at your next party or on your menu!
Orlando: Stay. Solid wiggles, BABY.
Talia: You’re telling me I can eat my drink, too? Stay.
The nonalcoholic Negroni has become a bartender holy grail.
Orlando: Not in my church. We carry an N/A spritz which people appreciate, but without the bubbles, I don’t get it.
Chloe: There’s no shortage of attempts to nail the format, and while it’s not my cup of tea, I respect it.
Jaya: I just don’t understand why you would drink a Negroni if it wasn’t for the buzz. You’re telling me you just like the flavor??
Aaron: Stay. But I’ll take mine with a side of booze.
Jack: Just drink a Chinotto! It’s already delicious!