Modern British Cocktails
The clink of ice in a shaker, the look of concentration on the bartender’s face, the proud reveal of the finished drink. Not much has changed since cocktails were first invented. But then again, everything has.
Drinkers are no longer constrained by specialist venues to enjoy cocktails. While these venues have carved out a niche, the UK consumer has never been more knowledgeable when it comes to mixed drinks.
Research by CGA Strategy has shown that cocktails are now sold in about a quarter of all On Trade venues in the UK. Restaurants have become just as popular for cocktail drinkers as bars, especially among younger drinkers. This reflects the sophistication of cocktail offers in casual dining restaurants, as well as the increasingly close connection between mixed drinks and food.
Clued-up operators are recognising the public’s renewed thirst for cocktails. And no more so than in London. Although many studies still point to the old favourites of Mojito and Gin & Tonic, in the traditional home of England’s cocktail culture, it’s never been more diverse.
Speaking to The Drinks Business, Michael Stringer – cocktail consultant for Drinki, an app that rewards Facebook check-ins with free cocktails – said that certain drinks have always had a “deep heritage” in parts of London.
“Champagne cocktails define Mayfair and the West End,” he explained. “The experimental East has seen many cocktail trends, from oyster cocktails in the 19th century to Espresso Martinis, popular with the fashion and arty party crowds.
“Vermouth Negronis are on the rise in up-and-coming areas in the East, while Clapham’s roots are in rum-based drinks like the Mojito.”
Harpers quoted ad agency J Walter Thompson on future trends: “Cheesy cocktails of yesteryear are making a comeback. Cloying cocktails of the 1970s and 1980s are being reinvented by mixologists to suit modern tastes.”
Regardless of the style, one thing’s for sure, drinkers in the capital are set to continue their love affair with cocktails for many years to come.