Whiskey is “front and center,” says Alexandra Sklansky, director, public relations, for the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS), a Washington, D.C. trade association. “We’re in the middle of a global whiskey renaissance, nearly every single category of whiskey is growing. The popularity of whiskey in cocktails is helping to drive growth.”
Ryan Magarian, bartender/co-proprietor of Oven and Shaker in Portland, Oregon, agrees, describing whiskey as “super-hot,” right now. Rye whiskey especially is in heavy rotation when it comes to mixed drinks. Gin has also picked up steam, thanks to its use in creative and approachable cocktails.
“With regards to trends in flavors and profile, people are digging on unique, freshly extracted juices (melons, veggies, etc.), herbs, barrel-aged and house-bottled cocktails, and bitters of all sorts,” Margarian says.
But remember quality, says Sklansky. “Better spirits mean better cocktails. A high-quality spirit should be the basis for a high-quality cocktail.”