Every year sees new trends born, some that will stick and others that are destined to flame out. This year, the notion of “wellness” continued its incessant spread, albeit counterintuitively, into the booze world with the rise of CBD cocktails and non-alcoholic “spirits.” Meanwhile, spritz mania and rosé show no signs of slowing.
Here, we’ve polled a number of beverage professionals on the movements that have defined the previous year in drinking, asking them which trends should stay and which should go in 2019.
From the world of wine, spirits, beer and cocktails we spoke to Robert Simonson (Contributing Editor, PUNCH; author, 3-Ingredient Cocktails); Jon Bonné (Senior Contributing Editor, PUNCH; author, The New Wine Rules) Aaron Goldfarb (Contributor, PUNCH; author, Hacking Whiskey); Justin Kennedy (Producer, Beer Sessions Radio); Megan Krigbaum (Contributing Editor, PUNCH; author, The Essential Cocktail Book); Nicolas Palazzi (Founder, PM Spirits); Drew Lazor (Contributor, PUNCH; author, Session Cocktails) and our own Associate Editor Chloe Frechette and Editor in Chief Talia Baiocchi.
Jon Bonné: Stay. Anything that can chill people out after the Hellmouth that was 2018 is all good.
Drew Lazor: I’m worried that marketing anything even tangentially weed-related in a manner similar to alcohol will render the wider cannabis experience unbearable. Like when your dad inquires about some slang, then decides to yell “LET’S GET THIS BREAD!” the next time he orders a sandwich. Hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
Nicolas Palazzi: How many CBD oil makers are there out there? How is the CBD extracted? What is the THC/CBD ratio? I am unsure why one would let anybody use an ingredient in a drink that they know nothing about. As long as CBD is just a vague category and one asks “with” or “without,” I say go.
Chloe Frechette: A little snake oil never hurt anybody.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay in your lane!
Talia Baiocchi: This runs counter to the only good advice I have for young people, which is: rinse your beans. So for that reason, and that reason alone: Go.
Aaron Goldfarb: I try to drink as many raw eggs as possible, but I suppose some people don’t like to tango with salmonella. It’s a decent alternative. Stay.
Drew Lazor: Read a lot about it and started hoarding it in a quart container in my freezer. Forgot about it for months and found it frosted over like Ötzi the Iceman. It can go to make room for Fla-Vor-Ice.
Megan Krigbaum: I have an overwhelming gag reflex connected with the liquid in a can of chickpeas. That said, I’m pretty impressed by the ingenuity of it and I’m all for vegans being able to enjoy a nice frothy drink, so as long as I’m not forced to partake, stay.
Chloe Frechette: I eat raw cookie dough more than any adult should, so I’m good with the egg white alternative.
Jon Bonné: You do you, faba-lovers.
The Natural vs. Not (Wine) Debate
Justin Kennedy: I think there’s a lot more to be said from both sides, and it’s a healthy debate for the most part. Stay.
Drew Lazor: If you sincerely believe that drinkers should pledge exclusive fealty to either side of this debate you are a dork.
Megan Krigbaum: If, in 2019, everyone could just stop being so offensively judgy about what wines everyone else likes to drink, that sure would be awesome.
Nicolas Palazzi: If you debate, you have too much free time on your hands. Like natural wine? Drink it. Don’t like it? Don’t drink it. Don’t try to convert people to your opinion thinking you have the truth.
Jon Bonné: Go, going, gone. Gone already.
Talia Baiocchi: Wait you don’t want to debate what “natural” means forever?
Chloe Frechette: Natty or die!
Fruited Kettle Sours
Aaron Goldfarb: Plenty are… fine, but they have mainly just become an excuse to dump fresh fruit puree over a humdrum beer. Go.
Justin Kennedy: Every once in a while I’ll have a decent one but it’s definitely a style I can live without. The ones that look like smoothies and explode in the can are just vile. Go.
Drew Lazor: They can stay but they should come with Tums.
Jon Bonné: Fruit beers good. Sour beers better. Fruited sour beers awesome. Stay.
Megan Krigbaum: I started getting into these with the Mikkeller Halle Ich Bin Berliner Weisse (passionfruit! peach!) tallboys. I love how fresh the fruit stays and how tangy they are and how they’re low in alcohol, making them the ultimate lunchtime beer. STAY STAY STAY.
Talia Baiocchi: A terrific example of taking an inherently good thing too far. Go.
Drew Lazor: Sure, spritzes can stay.
Megan Krigbaum: Yes, yes, spritz all the time. Stay.
Chloe Frechette: I’ve been living the spritz life for years and it’s great. Spritz on!
Jon Bonné: I think it would be unhealthy for my tenure at PUNCH to say anything but stay.
Talia Baiocchi: Buy my book!
Jon Bonné: The early 2000s called and it wants its bad idea back.
Aaron Goldfarb: I’m starting to wonder if some of these bartenders actually ever bartend at a bar. Go.
Drew Lazor: They can stay as long as I don’t have to judge them.
Nicolas Palazzi: As long as booze is run by brands and brands have plenty of money, they will try to use some of it to buy a little bit of someone’s love. This is not going anywhere.
Chloe Frechette: More flair bartending competitions please!
Talia Baiocchi: I do love a good show.
Justin Kennedy: Stay. Forever and ever. Amen.
Drew Lazor: Not going anywhere anyway. I’d like to know where Rick Ross stands on the natural vs. not debate.
Megan Krigbaum: Are we really still debating the merits of rosé? Yes to good rosé. No to crap rosé.
Chloe Frechette: Stay. As Jon Bonné wrote recently, “not all pink wine need be summer water.”
Jon Bonné: Now and forever. But Whispering Angel should be cast into some Miltonian iteration of hell.
Talia Baiocchi: For all of the complete absurdity that has attended rosé’s rise, we can’t forget that for every crappy $40 bottle of Provençal rosé being thrown back in Southhampton, there is a new bottle of genuine intrigue that now has a market. So, I’m net positive.
Food-Flavored Cocktails (e.g. Buttered-popcorn infusions, olive-oil washing, etc.)
Aaron Goldfarb: I really understand that most are kind of dumb and lazy, but I can’t help but love a lot of them. Stay.
Drew Lazor: This is fine. I’m glad people aren’t grossly soaking bacon in vodka anymore.
Chloe Frechette: I’ve been into this since the Breakfast Martini. Still waiting for it to be OK to drink a Martini at breakfast though.
Talia Baiocchi: There are plenty of good things to come out of this kind of tinkering (an olive-oil washed Martini is a very delicious thing, for example), but I fear that we may be heading into food beer territory. Let Mamma Mia! Pizza Beer be a cautionary tale.
Jon Bonné: DONEZO.
Aaron Goldfarb: A non-alcohol “spirit” is nothing more than the flavored water you get in hotel lobbies. At least that’s free.
Drew Lazor: I’m all for elevating and celebrating non-alcoholic options.
Megan Krigbaum: There seems to be a prevalent reliance on one particular non-alcoholic spirit in bars these days, which strikes me as a little lazy. And is it stunting the progression of really well-considered N/A cocktails? I hope not. That said, I wholly support there being a whole plethora of non-alcoholic options!
Nicolas Palazzi: Want non-alcoholic spirits? Drink water.
Chloe Frechette: What he said.
Jon Bonné: DOUBLE DONEZO.
Robert Simonson: It seems cruel to tell aquavit to go, because, with the exception of the Minnesota bar scene, it still hasn’t really arrived, despite countless predictions over the years that aquavit is about to have its moment. I think people are more weary of the spirit’s promise, than of its actual presence. Stay.
Jon Bonné: Base for the best drink ever conceived (the Trident), so STAY.
Drew Lazor: Easy way to make a vodka drink just a little more fun.
Megan Krigbaum: I really fell for aquavit while visiting the Twin Cities last year for a story; it’s the aquavit hotbed of America, obviously. I loved the bottles from Norseman, Gamle Ode and Tattersall, in particular.
Aaron Goldfarb: Breweries are clearly bandwagon-jumping on this trend for cynical reasons, but there are tons of stellar ones out there, and there need to be more. Stay.
Justin Kennedy: Stay. But they need to be just as good as if not better than the mainstream, mass-produced stuff. Just because you make one doesn’t mean I’m going to drink it. Thankfully, there are so many awesome craft lagers, and especially pilsners, right now. Keep doing it and doing it and doing it well.
Drew Lazor: Absolutely can stay, just don’t overthink it.
Jon Bonné: Long overdue. Stay.
Megan Krigbaum: Yawn. Go.
Chloe Frechette: Nothing will ever de-throne Miller High Life as far as I’m concerned.
Talia Baiocchi: There are frankly too many in the market, but if one out of every ten can taste even half as good as Suarez Family Brewery’s Palatine Pils, I am in.
Chainification of Craft Cocktail Bars
Jon Bonné: Because inside every great bartender lurks a Chili’s franchisee yearning to get out. Go.
Aaron Goldfarb: In a decade these will look like the Ruth’s Chris of cocktail bars. Competent, totally acceptable if you are hankering for a cocktail while stuck in Tallahassee on business… but never extraordinary, never as good as the original once was. Go.
Robert Simonson: With expansion comes an inevitable dilution of quality control. But, so far, there’s no evidence of a fall-off in the most prominent cocktail bar empires (Broker Shaker, NoMad, Death & Co. etc.). Until there is, there’s no reason for them to not spread the joy around. Stay.
Nicolas Palazzi: I pray for the day we all live in a world where chains will be NoMads and Death & Co. instead of Dunkin’ Donuts, White Castles and such.
Chloe Frechette: Cloning is rarely a good idea… isn’t that why Dolly the sheep died?
Talia Baiocchi: I don’t know, I kind of like knowing that if I ever accidentally get stuck in Denver that there’s a Death & Co. nearby.
Aaron Goldfarb: Keep the peat in Islay please.
Robert Simonson: If you like the taste of peat, drink Scotch. If you like peat, but don’t like Scotch, you may have a problem.
Drew Lazor: If your spirit’s topography of origin does not feature ancient peat bogs haunted by man-eating kelpies, I am not interested.
Nicolas Palazzi: I’ll make a gross generalization here: The American palate tends to like when one big, dominant flavor hits. Sweet, sour, smoky. If it’s big and bold, its chances to appeal are huge.
Jon Bonné: If people want that much peat in their lives, might I suggest a next career in a garden store?
Talia Baiocchi: Very, very confident that the answer to this question will always be “No.”
Answers have been condensed and edited for clarity.