covid-19 cocktail trends

The global cocktail trends brought on by Covid-19

05 May, 2021

“Guests have been starting to educate themselves more in the last six to eight months than in the previous 80 years,” says Robin Goodfellow, co-owner of Bar Raval in Toronto, who was forced to close the doors from March to August 2020, then again in November and again in April 2021.

“When everything’s done, I think the revisitation of classic cocktails is going to be a huge thing, because finally in Canada people are recognising that they exist.”

It’s an education that Goodfellow thinks shouldn’t be limited to customers. “Being able to make a drink should be like being able to make food or build a chair – it’s a trade. That’s why the revisitation of classics is huge, not because it’s easy and simple, but because we need to start mentoring our staff and our guests who have gone through a renaissance themselves.”

With a more discerning consumer comes an onus on bars to be able to offer a point of difference.

“Lockdown has provided guests with a plethora of knowledge through online training sessions and cocktail-making sessions,” says Cameron Bell, UK brand ambassador for Don Papa rum. “No longer do customers just expect the drink; what venues are going to need are events to maintain consumer interest.

“Cocktail bars are going to have to up their game or rather maintain a standard of quality for guests. Many people have had the time to make their own classics and simple serves at home, and will be expecting much more when visiting venues that rings well with the price point.”


While the promise of more demanding customers might sound a bit intimidating to mixologists returning behind the bar after extended leave, it could be the rising tide that lifts all boats.

“It may well make consumers more discerning and more demanding, which will force up standards at the lower end,” says Steve Drawbell, founder of Azaline Vermouth. “But it may also have created a whole new cohort of cocktail drinkers willing to pay a premium for a rewarding cocktail experience.”

Other habits collectively picked up during lockdown have also begun to spread to cocktail lists. Health has never been so important for consumers. According to Accenture Covid-19 Consumer Research of more than 3,000 consumers across 15 countries, more than half “are making more health conscious decisions when grocery shopping and will likely continue to do so going forward”. 

Trinh says: “I believe this year has left us many lessons as professionals and as human beings. It made us more aware of what we consume and the impact that this can have on us and on others as a society. An important trend will be the reduction or elimination of refined sugars, and the implementation of new natural sweeteners such as coconut nectar, honey, panela or cane honey. This is not only good for our health, but most of these products are made by small producers who can benefit in a positive way.”

This too is true of alcohol, with more consumers limiting intake.

“With up to 40% now claiming to be teetotal and many more looking to reduce their consumption of alcohol, at-home and on-trade mixologists should offer a range of high-quality non-alcoholic drinks for these guests, so they don’t feel like they’re missing out,” says James Morgan, head of business development at non-alcoholic drinks brand Nine Elms.

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