Every year sees new trends born, some that will stick and others that are destined to flame out. Last year gave us the meteoric rise of mezcal and, unfortunately, the ironic embrace of Fireball.
This year, we’ve polled a dozen industry experts on the movements that have defined the previous year in drinking, asking them to weigh in on which trends should stay and which should go in 2017.
From the world of wine, spirits, beer and cocktails we spoke to Jordan Salcito (Beverage Director, Momofuku), Jon Bonné (Senior Contributing Editor, PUNCH), Zachary Sussman (New York Wine Columnist, PUNCH), Simon Ford (Co-Founder, The 86 Co.), Nicolas Palazzi (Founder, PM Spirits), Aaron Goldfarb (beer writer and author, The Guide for a Single Man), Justin Kennedy (Producer, Beer Sessions Radio), Leo Robitschek (Bar Director, The NoMad Bar), Jennifer Colliau (Beverage Director, The Interval), Kara Newman (Spirits Editor, Wine Enthusiast), Robert Simonson (cocktail writer, New York Times) and our own Editor-in-Chief, Talia Baiocchi.
Here, the verdicts on 22 trends that made headlines in 2016.
Jordan Salcito: Go. These are two separate food groups.
Jennifer Colliau: Go. I want to drink a delicious thing, not a gimmick.
Kara Newman: Go. Often interesting concepts, but disappointing to drink. It’s not going away, though.
Jon Bonné: Stay, so long as it’s not meat or cheese.
Justin Kennedy: If your super-awesome imperial porter happens to taste like French toast or s’mores or peanut butter, that’s cool. But if your prime goal is to knock us over the head with these oppressive flavors, then you need to get the fuck out.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay. But only if someone can make a can of Tecate turn into a burrito.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. I’m starting to more and more admire the breweries that can make a beer taste like chocolate or coffee or oranges or bananas without using anything besides hops, malt and yeast.
Nicolas Palazzi: This is fucked up.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Rosé isn’t a fad; it’s a way of life.
Jon Bonné: The good ones can definitely stay. All that watery crap from Provence can go.
Jordan Salcito: Stay. Rosé is an easy entry point for people looking to develop an interest in wine.
Kara Newman: Stay. It’s so good, so drinkable.
Nicolas Palazzi: It is more than a trend. It is a reality. Even the shittiest liquor stores are stocking 15+ SKUs.
Justin Kennedy: Rosé should 100 percent absolutely stay, and it should be consumed year-round. No more of this “summer water”/hyper-seasonality/no rosé after Labor Day bullshit.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. It lets me know which people to avoid.
Jordan Salcito: It’s time for a new classic cocktail darling.
Jennifer Colliau: See rosé.
Kara Newman: Stay. It’s part of the cocktail canon now, just like Martinis and Manhattans. But the frozen “Sno-groni” has to go.
Simon Ford: Stay. The drink might be everywhere now, but I love that people are continuing to find new ways to interpret.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. What miserable bastard would want a perfect drink to go?
Robert Simonson: Stay. Even if the Negroni has been rising in popularity for a decade, it’s as much a flash in the pan as Spaghetti Bolognese. It’s here to stay.
Jon Bonné: Stay. I do want 2017 to be the year of the Boulevardier, though.
Robert Simonson: This should be a regular option at every bar. All too good.
Simon Ford: Stay. The low-ABV cocktail of the year has to be the Garibaldi at Caffe Dante. It’s Campari and fluffy orange juice. It’s probably the drink of the year, in all honesty.
Jordan Salcito: Stay. These are the best way to start a meal and they legitimize/excuse early-afternoon (late-morning?) drinking in a way that, say, Scotch on the rocks does not.
Nicolas Palazzi: This is an awesome idea.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay, but not if they cost 15 bucks a piece.
Kara Newman: Stay—but I consider them part of the cocktail canon now. I expect to see them.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Not everyone wants to hit it hard, and not everyone has developed a palate for overproof Manhattans. Respect the range.
Robert Simonson: I think we have all the mead we need.
Justin Kennedy: Real mead, the rustic kind made with all manner of fruits, herbs and flowers, has irrefutable historical authenticity and can be delicious with food, on its own or in cocktails. “Varietal” meads—ones made with single-source honey plus water—are absolutely stupid and should die a quick death.
Jennifer Colliau: Go. But only most of them. Mead is the inbred cousin of the brewery world. Most people make it badly. Keep the exceptional ones.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. Try a Schramm’s mead and tell me it’s not one of the best alcoholic beverages you’ve ever had in your life.
Talia Baiocchi: Please god, go. There’s nothing I hate more than a mead pitch, except maybe mead itself.
Kara Newman: Go. Even the good, interesting bottlings are just too heavy to drink much.
Jon Bonné: Did it arrive?
Weed Pairings, Weed Cocktails and Weed-Infused Alcohol
Jordan Salcito: This is not my bag. But people seem to be all about this stuff, so it’s probably staying.
Justin Kennedy: It deeply saddens me that this is even a thing.
Aaron Goldfarb: Go. Feels like these are headed toward becoming the “Red Bull & Vodka” of this era.
Kara Newman: Go. These two substances are best enjoyed separately. I do think we’re going to see more of these as legalization continues gaining momentum, but I’ve been unimpressed by what I’ve tried.
Jennifer Colliau: GTFOH. No. Just no. We have no data on interactivity between the two substances. Until we do, bartenders should have nothing to do with this.
Leo Robitschek: This is not a trend that I’m very familiar with, but am excited to see it come to NYC in the future. Does anyone need a recipe tester?
Jon Bonné: Sure. For when Four Loko won’t get you f’d-up enough.
Jon Bonné: Stay, so long as winemakers can’t talk about them at all when selling the wines.
Justin Kennedy: Amphorae have been around for millennia; they should be around for many more. I’m looking forward to trying the amphora-aged lambics from Cantillon when they’re finally released.
Zachary Sussman: Call me conservative, but if one more French winemaker insists on showing me his or her brand new amphorae, I’m going to hurl. Directly into the amphora.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay, but let’s say bye to the fetishization.
Zachary Sussman: I’m going to put pét-nat firmly in the “go” column. I mean, sure, if you happen to have a bottle open on a hot day, pour me a glass… but when was the last time you actually went out of your way to drink pét-nat?
Jordan Salcito: Stay. Though I hope we can add more clarity to what this actually means. It seems as though people apply the term to any sparkling wine that isn’t Champagne, which has to self-regulate at some point.
Justin Kennedy: I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Barefoot Bubbly Pét-Nat on shelves in 2017, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the trend is lame. Pét-nats are such visceral, pleasing wines that I say the more the merrier.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay. They are only getting better and if they can stay affordable, everybody wins.
Nicolas Palazzi: It is a trend with a small group of people. The people for whom sherry is a trend. It probably won’t catch on with the regular drinkers, but sure is cool with the geeks.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay.
Jon Bonné: Stay, stay, stay.
Fancy Wine Coolers
Jordan Salcito: Stay. I’m obviously biased.
Aaron Goldfarb: Go. Mainly so publicists will quit bothering me.
Justin Kennedy: An example of something that should be so DIY that the whole pre-packed spritzer thing seems slacker, unintelligent and just plain lazy.
Jennifer Colliau: Go. Would love to see someone doing something yummy in this category; haven’t seen it yet.
Jon Bonné: Stay, and then some. These are more fun than Zima, and this time I don’t feel like a tool drinking them.
Jura as the Ground Zero of Wine Cool
Jennifer Colliau: Until the next fad region.
Jon Bonné: Already gone.
Jordan Salcito: Loire has already overtaken the Jura here.
Justin Kennedy: Drinking wines from the Jura used to be an insidery, secret handshake type thing. But as with anything that gains some popular exposure, that’s no longer really the case. I think the notion of if-it’s-from-the-Jura-it-must-be-cool cachet has run its course and should be put to rest. To borrow a term from this year’s political arena, Jura wines should be normalized, not fetishized.
Nicolas Palazzi: Too many dudes with beards and Peruvian hats made it to the Jura already. Sure, it will keep attracting more people, but Jura is done already when it comes being at the tip of the trendy spear.
Talia Baiocchi: Isn’t it Moldova now?
Zachary Sussman: We tend to cycle through wine trends so hyperactively nowadays that “ground zero” for cool is constantly shifting. My hope is that we’re seeing the Jura become more than just a hipster fetish and emerge as a fully-realized “mainstream” wine region. Wouldn’t that be cool?
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. I will never not be tickled by drinking an ostentatious cocktail out of an even more ostentatious mug. (Ooh, please light it on fire!)
Kara Newman: Go. It’s fun, but is anything new left? I’d change my answer for a steampunk tiki bar, though (looking at you, Martin Cate).
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. The American history of tiki is awesome, regardless of how you feel about the drinks.
Jordan Salcito: What’s not to love about tiki?
Leo Robitschek: I love the spirit of tiki; who doesn’t love creative garnishes, communal cocktail and drinks that transport you to paradise? [But] I am tired of having unbalanced, overproof cocktails. I hope that tiki continues to move forward in the future, but lets work on balance and taste.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. Everyone needs a hobby.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Why wouldn’t you want an expert to learn even more about his or her craft?
Talia Baiocchi: Sure, why not?
Golden Pineapple Cups
Nicolas Palazzi: Elyx’s marketing team is amazing. Kudos to them.
Aaron Goldfarb: Go. Once every bar had them, no one was impressed anymore.
Kara Newman: Go. Too big, too heavy, too gaudy—adds nothing to drinks. It was fun for about five minutes.
Jennifer Colliau: Are you being remunerated by Absolut?
Robert Simonson: As planters, perhaps.
Ready-to-Drink Cocktails (i.e., Pre-Bottled)
Simon Ford: One should look at everything that the White Lyan is doing in London. Period.
Jordan Salcito: Stay. This is the beverage world’s answer to the “fast-casual” restaurant trend that is methodically taking over the U.S., err, world.
Nicolas Palazzi: Pre-canned, yes. More and more stuff in a can at liquor stores. Put anything in a can, make it cool, and liquor stores are going to sell boatloads of the stuff.
Robert Simonson: Every cocktail bar seems to have one of these now. Their greatest virtue is the speed with which you can get a drink. And that’s not to be sneezed at when you’re in a crowded bar.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay, though with caution. It never feels as “special” to get a pre-made cocktail at a bar due to the lack of pomp and circumstance, even if many are quite good.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. But only the good ones. Stale citrus: No thank you.
Justin Kennedy: I love pretty little low-ABV hoppy beers, but most session IPAs aren’t that at all. Nine times out of ten, they just don’t deliver because brewers are approaching them from the wrong direction. Instead of trying to Benjamin Button a double IPA down to a petite session ale, focus on making beautiful small beers that can stand on their own.
Aaron Goldfarb: We will look back at this era and wonder why and how every brewery was successfully selling us hoppy water.
Robert Simonson: Love IPAs. Love session beer. See no problem here. Keep ‘em coming.
Talia Baiocchi: Well-made pilsner > session IPA.
Celebrating Mass-Market Beers
Jennifer Colliau: Go. Also, hipsters go.
Aaron Goldfarb: Go. If you want to be ironic today, go drink a brown ale.
Justin Kennedy: High Life is an exceptional beer that should be celebrated. But don’t do it simply because it’s ironic or because David Chang told you to.
Robert Simonson: Do these beers really need our help?
Jon Bonné: FTS.
Themed Cocktail Bars
Robert Simonson: I don’t mind a themed bar if it’s done well, but I think there’s a little too much Disneyland being thrown around lately. We could stand less of this. The best theme: good, all-around bar.
Aaron Goldfarb: Go. If I have to read another article about that stupid Will Ferrell bar again…
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Sometimes you want to feel like you are in a tropical paradise, which is why tiki bars are perennially popular. Why would my occasional desire to feel like I am living in the technological future or the culinary hinterlands be any less valid?
Talia Baiocchi: Go. We’ve moved beyond the historical reenactment phase of the cocktail movement. God help us if the next stop is Epcot.
Jon Bonné: Depends on the theme. Tiki bars can definitely stay. And why not an Amor y Amargo in several more cities?
Conceptual Cocktail Menus
Jon Bonné: Unless they’re doing some NEXT-level s**t (and by that, I mean, like Chicago’s NEXT), they can go. But some can stay, like Holy Mountain in San Francisco.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Cocktail menus that look like everyone else’s (here’s 12 drinks I like, in a variety of glassware, spirits and styles) are boring.
Kara Newman: Stay. We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible here. I’m ready for the next level of menu, as long as the drinks will be equally creative.
Robert Simonson: These often lead to impressive and inventive drinks and make for a nice break from the tired seasonal cocktail menus. As long as it leads to creativity and fun, and the concept isn’t too forced, this is not a bad thing.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay. You know you’re wondering: What did the Han Dynasty taste like?
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay, if it’s a good concept. What is a good concept for a cocktail menu, though? “Drinks that will get you drunk?”
Jordan Salcito: Stay. Most people probably won’t care if their spirits reflect terroir, but it’s great to know someone is thinking about and opting in to this level of detail.
Robert Simonson: From an environmental point of view, I’m in favor. But if the idea is we can taste the difference between Minnesota rye and New York rye once it’s been distilled and aged, I’m highly skeptical.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay—but just barely. I like them more in concept than execution. The fact is, great grains don’t necessarily come from the Podunk area you’ve chosen to set up your farm distillery.
Kara Newman: Stay. Even though I’ve heard from some that distillation strips out evidence of terroir from raw materials, I’ve been blown away by plenty of bottles that disprove that theory.
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Spirit ingredients are agricultural products and we should treat them as such.
Talia Baiocchi: Stay. One of the most meaningful movements in spirits of late, and one that is forcing distillers, drinkers and bartenders to rightfully consider spirits as products of agriculture.
Barrel-Aging Traditionally Un-Aged Spirits
Kara Newman: Stay if it’s barrel-aged gin, go if it’s barrel-aged vodka. It’s a fine line, but really does seem to make a difference.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. I really dig a barrel-aged gin, as nonsensical as it should be.
Robert Simonson: A novelty of which I’m not sure we are in dire need. And a type of spirit I rarely use.
Nicolas Palazzi: Yes. Totally. Espresso Martinis are where it will be at [in 2017].
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. Who doesn’t want to add coffee to everything on planet earth?
Jennifer Colliau: Stay. Coffee isn’t a fad, just another ingredient in our vocabulary.
Kara Newman: Go. They all taste the same. Coffee is a bully.
Jon Bonné: Go.
American Single Malts
Jennifer Colliau: Only when they’re good. I can only think of three that are.
Kara Newman: Stay. We’re just warming up on this category, [and] there’s plenty of room to keep running.
Aaron Goldfarb: Stay. The single malts from Westland are some of the best whiskies in the entire country. We need more attempts at these.
Robert Simonson: It will be a long time before they begin to approach the excellence of their Scottish counterparts, but no reason to not keeping trying.
Answers have been edited and condensed for clarity.