I found myself in a precarious position this weekend while celebrating a friend’s birthday. I was at a loss for what drink to order. I venture from the grape so infrequently that I spent a good five minutes staring blankly at the bartender and another 10 minutes scavenging for a drink menu and asking my friends what to order.
As an old friend pointed out to me, things have changed since I was a young lady. Kids these days are no longer tossing back Washington Apples and Lemon Drops. They’ve been replaced by flavored vodkas and…well, flavored vodkas. Never one to fall behind, I had to know, what’s on trend for 2013?
Craft Beers and Microbrews “Everybody is drinking Belgian Quads now. St. Bernardus ABT 12 is one of our tops sellers” said Haley Sabin of World of Beer, St. Mary’s. Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale with a bold flavor and a high ABV. “Don’t forget to serve it in a Trappist glass” adds Sabin. The beer is brewed in a monastery by monks. The required glass (which resembles a chalice) works well with the complex abbey ales.
Food Inspired Cocktails According to Chad Gensler, a local bartender in Toledo, food inspired cocktails are also on trend. “Shots and drinks that taste like different types of food seem to be a fan favorite” says Gensler. “Particularly the breakfast shot (Jamison, butterscotch schnapps and a chaser of orange juice), it tastes like pancakes.”
Rum Yep, it’s making a comeback. “RumChata has been a favorite with the ladies” adds Gensler. RumChata is a cream liqueur that is made from a blend of five-time distilled Caribbean rums with Wisconsin dairy cream and flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and other flavors. “You can mix RumChata with Loopy vodka to make it taste like fruit loops. Or mix it with honey-infused whiskey to make a nice little Honey Nut Cheerios cocktail” said Mr. Gensler.
Rum will also be featured in the always-popular daiquiris this year. Of course, these aren’t the daiquiris of spring break’s past; gone are those frozen, overly-sweet concoctions. In 2013 you’ll see more “dressed-down” daiquiris that often consist of no more than three ingredients. Stick around, I’ll be making some in a later blog post.
Shrubs Finally, drinking vinegars, or “shrubs” are having their moment in the sun. In the days before electricity, and refrigeration, fruits like strawberries and blackberries were mixed with sugar and vinegar as a way to preserve the fruit. The addition of alcohol to extend that preservation was a delicious surprise. Shrubs are on the rise again and they’re surprisingly versatile. For those teetotalers out there, alcohol isn’t required to make a shrub the perfect pick me up for a hot summer day. Check out this cold-processed shrub recipe that provides you with a great tutorial for making shrubs at home.