HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
What's your latest food quest?
TELL US

Trendy drinks right now?

c
cor Oct 15, 2007 01:58 PM

What's out and what's in?

I feel like not as many people are drinking Cosmos now, and that mojitos are hitting the peak of their hipness and are about to go the way of the Cosmo.

Pimm's Cups? Capinhias? Pomegranate martinis? Something I dont know about?

I guess it depends on your locale as well.

  1. b
    bocce Mar 12, 2008 02:54 PM

    Does anyone know a book that encompasses many of these recipes? I'd like to make many of these at home; I'm especially interested in flips and fizzes, i.e. egg based drinks.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bocce
      JMF Mar 13, 2008 02:13 PM

      I posted a list on the spirits board. here's a great forum that is cutting edge.
      http://groups.msn.com/DrinkBoy/

    2. HSBSteveM Jan 23, 2008 10:03 AM

      HOW ABOUT "THE VALENTI" ?

      I've been enjoying many of the drinks mentioned here, but I have recently found myself wanting something lighter - not too sweet, not too dry, not too heavy, but refreshing.

      After mixing my umpteeumth Manhattan in the past 3 years, I discovered my "regular drink" right under my nose. I mixed equal parts Sweet (Red) Vermouth and soda in a tall highball glass over ice, then added a slice of orange. Having never seen this drink served anywhere, and not finding it described on any blogs, I decided to name it "THE VALENTI", after my wife's two Italian aunts, both in their mid-90's, who are living in the Bronx.

      I started ordering this drink in bars. The servers and bartenders would cock their heads and sometimes laugh. Then a few started trying it themselves and they were amazed at how simple this drink is, and how great it tastes!

      It's the perfect aperitif. It has a little sweetness to it, which is cut just right by the soda. It looks refreshing, with the little bubbles. It has the wonderful, nutty, herbaceous, slightly bitter aftertaste of the vermouth. It looks rich and tawny in the glass. It's a heck of a lot easier on the palate than the Negroni. And...it makes you feel Italian!

      The key is to pour the Vermouth and the soda into the glass at the same time so it mixes well. If you don't do that, the Vermouth sinks to the bottom and the last sips of your drink taste like a lollipop.

      THE VALENTI is also great after dinner, as a digestif, or as a drink you can use to "pace yourself" through a long night. But becuase of the fizz, these are very drinkable, and they will eventually catch up with you. I have started to experiment with reinforcing the drink with a shot of heavier alcohol. I tried Absolut Mandarin and a few other flavored Vodkas, but they took away from that honest Vermouth flavor. If anything, I would just sneak an ounce of good Vodka in there for more punch. Maybe call that BORIS VALENTI. But it's best, and most delicious, with just the Vermouth.

      So, give it a try! I hope you enjoy it. Bartenders, try it out on your customers too. I'd like to hear what you all think.

      Steve

      1. chinacat1969 Dec 28, 2007 08:15 AM

        I would love to see mixers go by the wayside. That should be the next push. Say no to sours mix!! I asked a bartender in Seattle to make me a real margarhita - lime juice no sours and he looked at me like I was insane. This was in a latin bar in Capital City to boot! I opted for a draft. Daily's is crap. Demand fresh juices!

        1 Reply
        1. re: chinacat1969
          c
          chris the bartender Dec 29, 2007 07:03 PM

          Fresh anything is always the key. I have seen some small trends that I would like to see a lot more of and that is savory cocktails. From previous posts I see that many are on the same level.

        2. t
          tom porc Dec 26, 2007 12:41 AM

          I cant walk 3 feet without a chocolate martini highlighted on a menu somewhere.

          1. BarmyFotheringayPhipps Dec 21, 2007 06:18 PM

            Clearly, someone is desperate to make absinthe the hot trend drink of the moment. I just read yet another "Absinthe is BACK!" story, and honestly, what I'm coming away with from all of these stories is this: It is apparently impossible to drink absinthe without being a wanker.

            2 Replies
            1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
              MC Slim JB Dec 21, 2007 06:38 PM

              I like absinthe, and I'm glad I can now buy some in they US without having to smuggle it back from Europe, but it's not exactly an everyday drink.

              I certainly saw a lot of obnoxious absinthe drinkers in the UK (City of London trader types, mostly) when it became faddish there a few years ago. What seemed clear to me was that it was mostly about it being an overproof booze more than having any psychoactive effect.

              I put it in the same category as cigars, something I'm more likely to enjoy in private. I think it does make a noticeable improvement in my Sazeracs at home.

              1. re: MC Slim JB
                HSBSteveM Jan 23, 2008 09:36 AM

                You hit the nail on the head! True Absinthe aficionados will drink it in private because they enjoy it. The rest of the "sheep" will order it loudly in trendy bars and drink it up with a flair, whether they like it or not. As a trendy drink, this will be a flash in the pan. Within 6 months, the uber-trendy will have moved on to a new one.

            2. JMF Dec 10, 2007 01:47 AM

              I've always liked brown liquor cocktails first, and then gin ones and I love the late 1800's-1920 style cocktails. A few weeks ago Jim Meehan at PDT made me an Apricot Flip that changed my perception on what a great cocktail could be. Absolutely fantastic. I then went on to try a whole bunch of egg and/or cream based cocktails that I hadn't had before. It got pretty hazy out that night... and then the next as I went back again to get my cocktail fix in before heading back up to the Maine Coast.

              1 Reply
              1. re: JMF
                p
                punchbowl Dec 27, 2007 07:11 AM

                The Apricot Flip at PDT is just fabulous. It had a richness and complexity without being overly sweet or heavy.

              2. eatzalot Dec 7, 2007 02:14 AM

                foodeye: "Prediction for the next trend: Absinthe!"

                NEXT ? It's pretty trendy now! Consider, I've been interested in absinthe history for some decades (see also informational postings in this forum). It was a quiet exotic subject most of that time, with occasional in-depth publicity like Conrad's 1988 book (mentioned in Finz's article -- foodeye's "sfgate" link above -- thanks for posting it). In that article, Conrad says that most of his book's sales were in the last 5 years. Since about 2000, the number of online hits mentioning "absinthe" has multiplied by roughly a million (literally -- I watched it), mostly in the last five years. That's a bit of a trend.

                Finz's article on the new US-made absinthe from St. George Spirits (which I've tasted) is well researched, it avoids propagating old or new absinthe myths, a problem in some popular writing today (see link below). Lance Winters at St. George also avoids this in the article. That's refreshing. Some of absinthe's recent promoters act as though they profit from the mystique (even while they bemoan it).

                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/39725...

                1. Chinon00 Dec 5, 2007 05:43 PM

                  I think that trends can be very helpful when they bring to light things that we may have never thought about drinking before. For me it was the manhattan which I'd considered an "old man" drink. But when it goes the other way and discourages us from drinking certain things that it can be bad (i.e.: "abc" [anything but Chardonnay], the merlot slide after "Sideways").

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Chinon00
                    sailormouth Dec 6, 2007 11:30 AM

                    And the great deals that could be found on actually good merlot just after the slide from Sideways and the lately lamented great deals that could be found on chablis.

                  2. f
                    foodeye Dec 5, 2007 08:43 AM

                    Prediction for the next trend: Absinthe!

                    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/12/05/MNQJTO9FM.DTL&tsp=1

                    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/din...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: foodeye
                      Small Plates Jan 22, 2008 12:17 PM

                      Oh gawd, no kidding! My mother had it over the holidays. And she has just recently moved on from White Zinfandel. 'Nuff said.

                    2. MC Slim JB Oct 15, 2007 08:16 PM

                      Plenty of people are drinking Cosmos right now: my 76-year-old grandma and her friends.

                      Seriously, to be fair, the answer to this question depends a lot on where you live, how old you are, and what kind of bars you frequent. There are many people around the country including in Boston (where I live) who still believe Cosmos are edgy and sophisticated. I'm not inclined to publicly sneer at them: whatever makes you happy is okay by me, as long as you behave reasonably civilly when you're in your cups.

                      My own feeling is that innovation, interesting new ingredients and techniques, and great skill and creativity in cocktail making usually don't have much to do with what's trendy. The masses that give momentum to a particular drink are usually years behind the curve. I'd have called Mojitos edgy and interesting when I first ran across them in Boston ten years ago, but they didn't really catch on here until a couple of summers back, and seem kind of overdone and passe now.

                      Boston is not a great cocktail town; you can count the bars doing really serious cocktails (running the spectrum from 19th-century Golden Age classics to modern, original creations) on your fingers. I do patronize that handful of places regularly, as dedicated, scholarly pros are always the best source of intelligence on wonderful cocktails that are new to me, even if they were invented 130 years ago. There's a growing community of cocktail bloggers written by similarly obsessive cocktail drinkers: drinkboston.com is a local one I enjoy; they're fun and a good source of tips on new drinks, techniques, spirits, and other ingredients. I make regular pilgrimages to places like Pegu Club in Manhattan that represent the cutting edge of sophisticated cocktail making, in my mind.

                      Keep an open mind, try lots of things, and don't get stuck in that dullest of traps, the oversweetened cocktail based on flavored vodka. These represent the worst cliche in the cocktail business, as ubiquitous and inescapable as they are. Think of them as a useful gateway to the uninitiated palate, but only that: a stepping stone to more interesting, more balanced cocktails. There's a world of spirits out there: I feel as though folks who never move beyond these rookie drinks are really missing out.

                      Ultimately, you should drink what the heck you want, regardless of trends and what posters like me on Chowhound have to say about it.

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: MC Slim JB
                        c
                        cor Oct 16, 2007 09:17 AM

                        Thanks - I only drink a few things (manhattans, cosmos, v&t, bourbon & coke, beer/wine) but it interests me what's happening with cocktails these days, especially in the larger markets.

                        1. re: cor
                          MC Slim JB Oct 16, 2007 10:00 AM

                          Hmm. In Boston, those flavored-vodka cocktails still rule at most bars. They're designed to appeal to younger drinkers who like their drinks sweet, and drinkers who like the look of a cocktail glass but don't much like the taste of booze. A sure signal you're in this territory is the use of the term "Martini" to refer to anything served in a cocktail glass, rather than strictly to refer to the classic cocktail made from gin, vermouth, and bitters. The hallmarks of these places are huge selections of flavored vodkas and heavy use of cream liqueurs (like Bailey's) and syrupy cordials (Pom, butterscotch schnapps, Frangelico, etc.).

                          I also see a similarly annoying trend of referring to anything with muddled fresh fruit or herbs as a "Mojito", including drinks like caipirinhas which aren't Cuban in origin (the caipirinha is from Brazil). You see endless variants of the Mojito to make it sweeter and fruitier.

                          At the most sophisticated cocktail bars, there's a lot going on. The most significant trend in the revival of forgotten classics ranging in origin from the 19th-century Golden Age of cocktails to about the start of Prohibition. By definition, these entail the use of a wider variety of potable and non-potable bitters, once-popular spirits that have faded in the modern age of vodka dominance (rye whiskey, aged rums, various brandies, etc), more precision in drink construction, and more careful selection and preparation of garnishes. It's not unusual to see raw eggs (whites and whole) used in a variety of cocktails like flips and fizzes. The bartender's palette is much more eclectic, including interesting fermented products (sake), wines (still, sparkling, aromatized, fortified), and distilled spirits from around the world (pisco, cachaca, soju, various potable bitters, applejack, raki, pastis, etc.).

                          Fresh fruit, botanicals, and aromatics draw from further afield and include tropical fruits, rhizomes like ginger, spices, nuts, fresh herbs, and so on. You're much likelier to see food-preparation techniques brought into cocktail preparation, including molecular-gastronomy fillips like foams and emulsions for the top layer of drinks, and housemade ingredients like maraschino cherries, infused spirits, fruit cordials, and non-potable bitters. There's a lot of thought given to the selection of glassware (and for hot drinks, crockery), presentation, and the overall hospitality component of the bar experience. Even ice is given special attention, made from various spring waters and/or hand chipped, shaved, crushed, or made into various-sized cubes depending on the needs of the drink.

                          In general, these places require a different kind of bartender, with much more training, dedication, experience, and passion -- a combination of cocktail scholar, masterful host/server, and highly-skilled technician. It's a new frontier, and I have only seen it in the largest American cities, primarily on the two coasts. I only hope this trend continues and expands: it takes the enjoyment of cocktails to a completely different level.

                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                            yamalam Dec 4, 2007 06:46 PM

                            Sounds like fun. So what should we order? How about a Top 5 of specific drinks that would embody some of what you discussed in the above post...

                            1. re: yamalam
                              MC Slim JB Dec 5, 2007 11:11 AM

                              I'll throw out a few older ones that I like that might give you a starting point and don't require punishingly obscure ingredients:

                              Jack Rose -- a sour (a class of cocktail of which the Margarita is a popular example) based on applejack, an American brandy distilled from cider, plus lime juice and (optimally housemade) Grenadine.

                              Pisco Sour -- another sour, this one based on pisco, an unaged grape brandy mainly made in Peru and Chile. Done properly, this cocktail is frothed with the addition of egg white, and always includes Angostura, the one non-potable bitters that every bar seems to have.

                              Sazerac -- one of the oldest known cocktails, based on rye (originally Cognac) and requiring a comparatively rare non-potable bitters called Peychaud's and a rinse of pastis or (now that it's legal in the States again) absinthe.

                              Ramos Fizz -- another really old-school concoction involving gin, cream, lime and lemon juices, sugar, egg white, and the wonderful accent of orange flower water, the fizz coming from a dose of seltzer. Probably the hardest one to find, as it requires considerable care, skill, and time to make properly. Sounds terrible, but it is delicious and refreshing, a superb example of Golden Age cocktail craft.

                              Green Point -- one of many variants on the Manhattan/Brooklyn cocktail family, this one involves rye, Punt e Mes (a highly aromatized Italian sweet vermouth), a couple of kinds of bitters, and a bit of Chartreuse, a French liqueur with the flavor of hundreds of botanicals.

                              Hope that helps!

                            2. re: MC Slim JB
                              p
                              postemotional1 Dec 6, 2007 11:59 PM

                              "...a different type of bartender..."

                              The majority of the bartenders in Boston answer their personal phones while working and gained their "followings" by giving away alcohol that doesn't belong to them so as to encourage a bribe tipping "relationship."

                              1. re: postemotional1
                                MC Slim JB Dec 7, 2007 07:34 AM

                                Agreed, there's a lot of bad bartenders in Boston, and the kind of graft and rudeness you mention (you left out criminal behavior, like drug-dealing) is as old as the hills and hardly unique to our city.

                                The "different kind of bartender" I was referring to falls into Tier 1 of my informal bartending-skill taxonomy:

                                Tier 1: top 1%, know how to make a Pegu Club without looking it up, actually know something about the history of the cocktail, and understand that the hospitality component of bartending is just as important as technical chops.

                                Tier 2: maybe 10%, have fine chops, can make quality shaker drinks, but aren't cocktail historians and/or don't work in the sort of bars that carry the necessary obscure ingredients, are serious professionals who deserve respect.

                                Tier 3: the rest: the draft pullers and highball builders who haven't a clue about proper cocktail construction, even if they've mastered a list of flavored-vodka fauxtinis. They serve a purpose, too, even if the demands of their jobs are more workmanlike.

                                1. re: MC Slim JB
                                  JK Grence the Cosmic Jester Dec 7, 2007 10:45 AM

                                  The Pegu is one of my favorites. I so want to see it be the next really big thing, I do. It's a glorious cocktail when it's made right.

                                  1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                    c
                                    chris the bartender Dec 26, 2007 03:00 PM

                                    The problem with the pegu is that when it is bad, which most of the time it is, it is really bad. Similarly I like a good negroni, but the problem is finding a bartender that can make a quality drink.

                                    I bartend in central jersey and follow a different style of bartending, one that I hope would catch on. Personally I like a cocktail that plays with my palate and one where you can taste each element of the libation. Subtle flavors always go a long way.

                                    The qualified mixologists that are out there have one major flaw to them. They refuse to share recipes out of fear that someone will be recreate their masterpiece and they will receive no credit for it. I share any and every recipe and bit of knowledge in the hope that someone else will benefit and be able to recreate some great works of my own. Then maybe just maybe I will be able to gout and order a cocktail with confidence that it will be made properly.

                                    1. re: chris the bartender
                                      MC Slim JB Dec 26, 2007 07:04 PM

                                      I hope to have a drink at your bar sometime! Any particular cocktails you've been enjoying lately that meet your criteria of playing with your palate and where you can taste very element?

                                      1. re: chris the bartender
                                        JMF Dec 27, 2007 01:11 AM

                                        Chris- I have never had a single problem getting a recipe from any upper tier mixologist. Usually they are more than happy to share. I guess that maybe some of the ones who are struggling to get known may have a problem sharing recipes, but if so I haven't encountered it.

                                        1. re: chris the bartender
                                          Alcachofa Jan 22, 2008 10:54 AM

                                          I also have never had a problem with procuring recipes from top tier bartenders. Obviously, you have to frame the question properly. Audrey Saunders herself answered a recipe query of mine once.

                                        2. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester
                                          chinacat1969 Dec 28, 2007 08:11 AM

                                          Agreed, had my first Pegu at the Pegu Club, NYC in 2006. I am also big on the Corpse Reviver #2.

                                        3. re: MC Slim JB
                                          BarmyFotheringayPhipps Dec 21, 2007 06:24 PM

                                          So just for idle local gossip's sake, Slim: what's your opinion of Lolly Mason?

                                          Allstonian and I used to make a point of watching her cable access show just to see what insane thing she was going to make this week, but I'm pretty sure I wouldn't drink one of her specials on a bet.

                                          1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                            MC Slim JB Dec 21, 2007 06:33 PM

                                            I'm sorry to admit I have never heard of her. Who is she and what is she about?

                                            1. re: MC Slim JB
                                              BarmyFotheringayPhipps Dec 21, 2007 07:06 PM

                                              I think her period of greatest renown was some years back. Last I knew, she was working at Upstairs on the Square. Early middle age, giant dyed-red hair, wears a lot of black lace and bangles, cute but with a certain mutton-dressed-as-lamb quality.

                                              She has/had a show on Channel 23 in Boston, Friday nights at 11:30, called Lolly's Remedies. Mostly consists of her, in her kitchen somewhere in Allston, making the most insane-looking drinks out of sometimes up to a dozen sweet liqueurs and then topped with, like, gummi worms. Seriously. She seems nice enough, but her taste in drinks is utterly bonkers.

                                              1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps
                                                MC Slim JB Dec 22, 2007 05:27 AM

                                                I think I know this bartender, though I haven't seen her at the Monday Club bar on any of several visits this year. Multi-liqueur drinks: blecch.

                                      2. re: MC Slim JB
                                        c
                                        chazzerking Dec 27, 2007 02:49 PM

                                        When you refer to flavored vodka based drinks, may I assume you are talking about crap like appletinis and their ilk? I make infused vodkas that I think are much more subtle and have very individual characteristics, like a cardamom/ plum infused or a white peach ginger, or a cherry-cinamon infused. none have any addded sugar, just the natural fruit and spice flavors. I serve them shaken and up, usually with a related fruit garnish. they make great, but unfortunately deadly, summer coolers and the spice ones(like the cumin/fenugreek/ginger/cardamom/mustard seed/nutmeg one) are nice in the winter, the last, served as an aperitif for an Indian meal. there are several restaurant bars that are making their own infusions, though, unfortunately, they seem inclined to mix the infusions with juices or sodas to sweeten or dilute them

                                        1. re: chazzerking
                                          MC Slim JB Dec 28, 2007 09:26 PM

                                          You are correct: when I say "flavored vodka drinks", I mean rookie junk made with pre-flavored vodkas and sugary liqueurs. Home-infused liquors are another thing entirely: I regularly infuse vodka and other liquors at home myself (see www.chowhound.com/topics/465286 for my post on a cocktail made with a home-infused ginger vodka).

                                          I think it's possible to make a well-balanced cocktail even with Stoli-O and its ilk, but that's not generally how they're used in the countless specialty cocktail menus. I guess drinking something chilled, dosed with Pucker, and served in a cocktail glass is a step up from slamming shots of root-beer-flavored Schnapps, but it's a very small step.

                                          Likewise, I'm happy to make Cosmos for my grandma: they make her happy and feel like she's "with it". In fact, Cosmos have been my go-to Grandma Drink for about eight years now.

                                          1. re: MC Slim JB
                                            hill food Mar 14, 2008 02:33 AM

                                            I like that, my Grandmother once gave me a flask etched "for those moments you need to be discreet"

                                            Here's to with-it and relaxed grandmothers!

                                  2. dinner belle Oct 15, 2007 03:03 PM

                                    Seems to me classic cocktails like Manhattans and Old Fashioneds (!) are making a comeback.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: dinner belle
                                      SauceSupreme Oct 15, 2007 03:03 PM

                                      Again, bourbon.

                                      1. re: SauceSupreme
                                        sailormouth Oct 16, 2007 10:37 AM

                                        Or rye. ;-)

                                    2. SauceSupreme Oct 15, 2007 03:00 PM

                                      Throughout Los Angeles and Portland, there's been a rise in use of brown liquor in cocktails, whether it be whiskey, bourbon or rye. Also, depending on the locale, the focus is steering towards doing artisanal mixology, using a lot of freshly squeeze seasonal fruits, infusions, fresh muddles, and even house-made mixers like tonic water.

                                      As far as beer goes, Newcastle used to be the hot thing. When the frat set took that on, Stella became the hot thing. Now that the frat set has once again taken Stella on as the drink of choice, Chimay has become the go-to beer. Also, I'm seeing a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon at high end places, in one of those ironic twists of fate. But Belgians and microbrews in general are the hot beers of the moment.

                                      Wine wise, we're coming up on the end of rosé season, and even here in Los Angeles, big reds are coming back into vogue. There seems to be a bumper crop of Cabernet Franc across the board, so I'm seeing a lot of that. But those who want to drink wine but not really care will always order the same varietal no matter what's "in".

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: SauceSupreme
                                        a
                                        ac106 Oct 15, 2007 04:16 PM

                                        Funny that you mention Stella. I went to England earlier this year with my wife who was on business. We were at a pub with her co-workers and I ordered a Stella. Everyone there started snickering because evidently Stella is thought of as a hooligan/wife beater/white trash beer. Very different image then the US! :)

                                        1. re: ac106
                                          SauceSupreme Oct 15, 2007 07:54 PM

                                          Here in LA, if you've just finished reading Maxim magazine and covered yourself with Axe body spray, you also order a Stella (if you get my drift...)

                                      Show Hidden Posts