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Travel & Nightlife

Trends to Keep on Tap


These experts understand what comes and goes when it comes to cocktail concepts.

We know the essentials to making great cocktails (don't forget the limes!) but what is the next new thing? We turned to those bartenders who are in the trenches at some of the top bars and restaurants in the country to see what they had to say. And the answers may surprise you. (Who knew that there were bottled cocktails?)

"We are seeing a lot of customers coming to learn the basic techniques and develop their skills to enable them to make classic drinks 'properly' at home." --David Clelland, Apotheke, New York City

"I see a lot of people using the idea of the soda fountains from the '20s and '30s that sprung up during Prohibition to make house sodas and phosphates and egg creams." --Jayson Wilde, Bourbon & Branch and The Wilson, San Francisco

"Bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap. Both offer consistent precision and free up the bartender to spend more time with the guest." --Jamie Boudreau, Canon, Seattle

"We will likely be drinking barrel-aged cocktails for years to come. We have featured a flight of barrel-aged martinis with different aged statements, so the guest can see the progression of the cocktail." --Craig Schoettler, The Aviary, Chicago

"Absinthe, in general, is still reclaiming its presence. In 2012, you are going to see bars, bartenders, and retailers working with it with more confidence." --Maxwell Britten, Maison Premiere, Brooklyn

"Culinary cocktails will continue to flourish: infused straight spirits, altered and infused syrups. Also, cocktails for groups -- not so much punch bowls, but pitchers of the same drink." --Chris Hannah, Arnaud's French 75 Bar, New Orleans

"Adding bitters to cocktails can really challenge the palate. It's great seeing someone have a puzzled face on the first sip, pause, and then smile when those hidden herbs and spices come through." --Jeff Faile, Fiola, Washington, D.C.

"I want to see ice step out as a mass-market trend. A lot of bars and restaurants are really getting it with cocktails -- fresh lemon and lime, the basics -- making great, well-thought out, well-balanced drinks. But then they're making them with crappy machine ice." --Mike Ryan, Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago

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