All bets are off when it comes to sugar syrups. Last year saw the creation and roaring success of paper syrup. Yes, paper. It was the invention of Paris bar Little Red Door’s Remy Savage.
For his entry into the Bombay Sapphire World’s Most Imaginative Bartender competition, Savage created a syrup inspired by Bombay’s new distillery, an old paper mill.
Savage says of his creation: “I was inspired by the Commonwealth notes that were created at Laverstoke Mill all those years ago – I wanted to replicate the flavour of paper and celebrate the history of gin, and I believe my cocktail is a delicious celebration of this.”
His paper syrup contains sugar, water, vanilla, gentian root, grass, Laphroaig whisky and Suze liqueur, which is a gentian root aperitif. Cocktail aficionado and World’s 50 Best Bars contributor Camper English says: “I tried the drink and it was really quite close to paper.”
Across the channel James Coston, Monin UK brand ambassador, says: “Last year was one of epic serves in the cocktail industry and 2015 will see the UK carry on in the same vein, with bartenders seeking out new techniques, garnishes and glassware to help them master their perfect serve.
“As innovation trickles down, we’ll also see more mainstream venues looking to adapt and improve on previous flavour trends as part of their drinks menus.”
Whether that means we’ll one day see paper syrup in a high street chain bar remains to be seen, but then who thought Picklebacks would be so popular?
Tea, tonka bean and rhubarb are all tipped for 2015 success, although trends differ widely from country to country.
Monin’s Coston says: “With regard to flavour, the most creative bartenders will venture into unfamiliar territory and look for unusual ingredients; for example, I think tonka bean will be a popular flavour for high-end bars next year.”
Funkin chief executive Andrew King says there are many places doing wonderful things with cocktails, but places like “London, New York and LA are pushing the boundaries further than most”.
Funkin is now available in 20 countries around the world and King says one significant trend he has seen in the US that doesn’t seem to have made it across the channel is skinny cocktails, boosting the popularity of low-GI option agave syrup. “Skinny cocktails just haven’t taken the same menu share in the UK as they have in the US,” he says.
Tea, ginger and rhubarb are on the agenda at Funkin. “We are about to produce an Earl Grey tea syrup and we launched Rhubarb in December 2014,” King adds.
Monin has also upped its offer when it comes to tea. Taking on the trend for tea-infused drinks, in 2014, Monin revised the formula for its range of tea flavours: a stronger black tea extract taste combined with a natural tart flavour and fruit aromas. The tea syrups range comes in three flavours: Peach, Raspberry and Lemon.