Even bartenders don’t know what the next status cocktail may be, but they treat speculation a little differently than most. Each new year brings a renewed possibility that a build they love may capture the imagination of the masses. As such, many step behind the stick each January with fingers crossed, hoping that more folks start enjoying one of their favorite drinks with greater frequency. If they do, it just may offset the sting that may come with having to deal with whatever the next DrinkTok trend may be.
Here, we asked 11 bartenders to share what cocktail they hope guests will order more of as the year rolls along.
The cocktails bartenders hope to see more of in 2024:
- Gin Martini
- Amaro-based cocktails
- Churchill Manhattan
- 50/50 Martini
- Amaro Spritzes
- Espresso Martini
- High-proof cocktails
- Sherry/sipping vermouth cocktails
- Last Word
“I want to see more classic gin Martinis in 2024. While the Martini has made a comeback recently, much of this comeback has come via vodka. There is such an art to making a great gin Martini, and it starts with the intricate balance between a quality dry vermouth and a beautiful craft gin. It’s just two ingredients, but it contains multiple layers of subtle botanical flavors. The temperature and dilution play a critical role, too. Make it too cold, and you will mute a lot of the more subtle botanicals.” —Hemant Pathak, general manager, Junoon, NYC
“Bitter ingredients have always been one of my favorites to work and experiment with, and as much as I love recommending different digestifs for guests to sip on after dinner, I really appreciate taking that further and using amari or bitters as major cocktail components. It would be great to hear more requests for this style of drink next year. Black Manhattans are a great format for this: Swapping out the [drink’s traditional call of] Averna for one or more different amaro can create entirely new drink experiences. Amaro-based cocktails can also be a great way to lower a drink’s ABV if you’re looking for a lighter nightcap that still delivers on rich flavor.” —Carly Lacoste, bartender, The Doghouse, New Orleans
“I would love to see more Scotch cocktails. The Churchill Manhattan, a smoky variation on the classic Manhattan, specifically needs a little more love stateside. With the addition of Cointreau and lime, this Scotch-based Manhattan is begging to be sipped at bar tops more often, as it gives the [established] crowd favorite a vibrant and refreshing twist with the hints of smoke. Named after one of the greats and created at the famous Savoy Hotel, it deserves a spot on more menus.” —Julian Flores Torres, bar lead, Maizano/Entre Nos, Costa Mesa, Calif
“I am delighted to see drinkers young and old ordering more proper Martinis. It seems like drinking a Martini is cool again, and because of that, the drink I hope to see ordered more in 2024 is a 50/50 Martini. There are more types of vermouth available to bartenders than ever before, from classic to fantastically unique. The 50/50 Martini gives those vermouths a chance to shine, and they lower the drink’s ABV to aperitivo levels. I hope that the days of extra, extra, extra dry Martini is over, and I hope to be making a whole lot more 50/50s next year!” —Christian Favier, beverage manager, The Ordinary, Charleston, S.C.
“I’d love to see more people order Amaro Spritzes next summer. We’ve seen the internet profess spritzes as the ‘drink of the summer’ two years running with the Hugo Spritz and the ever-popular Aperol Spritz, and with good reason — they’re approachable, delicious, and easy to make. With amaro’s more niche rise in popularity in 2023, I’d love to see a marriage of the two become trendy in 2024. I think spritzes are a great introduction to the wide world of amari, and they show how much a drink can change depending on the product choice.” —Emily Peters, bar director, Decanter Room/Whisky Room at Kebab Aur Sharab, NYC
“I don’t see Espresso Martinis going anywhere in 2024, and that is fine by me. They’re a classic at this point, and when they’re done right, they’re delicious.” —Grant Sceney, creative beverage director, Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, B.C.
“High-proof cocktails. One of the most welcome trends is the move to low- and no-ABV, and that’s a good thing. After all, the reason we go out is friends, adventure, and culture; booze is secondary. However, we shouldn’t lose the love of a good stiff drink, and recently I’ve found that intense tipples can languish on menus in favor of their weaker cousins. It’s good to approach drinking in general with moderation, but some of the best cocktails are strong drinks!” —Colin Stevens, bar director, Singlish, NYC
“If you bring up sherry or sipping vermouth to any bartender, you will almost instantly see them perk up and tell you exactly the time and place when they [realized] they loved them. Fortified wines are still [a] hidden-in-plain-sight joy in the cocktail world; they bring depth to cocktails, but (at least in the States) have to be almost slid into [builds] like a hidden ace tucked up in your sleeve. We recently added PX sherry to a coffee and bourbon cocktail we created, and the drink went from an easy, stand-up double to a home run. A nice vermouth or dry sherry to start the night instantly makes it better, and finishing your evening with a PX sherry instead of another shot of whatever is the way to go. Trust us. I don’t know how else to say this, but drink them!” —Gabe Sanchez, general manager, Midnight Rambler at The Joule, Dallas
“One cocktail I hope to see more people ordering this year is an Adonis: complex, low-proof, delicious. It’s just a simple split of vermouth and sherry, but it absolutely punches above its weight. I love it.” —James Grant, director of mixology, Fairmont Royal York, Toronto
“The Bamboo and the Adonis are cocktails that have survived the ages and are diverse and complex within their simplicity. The Adonis — an opulent combination of Spanish fino sherry, Italian sweet vermouth and orange bitters — made its debut alongside the first-ever Broadway burlesque show in 1884. Two years later, the Bamboo cocktail made it to print, substituting sweet vermouth for dry. The brilliance of these cocktails is that the choice of what particular vermouth and the proportions of combinations will change the cocktail entirely. One might even dare to switch the fino sherry in a Bamboo for an oloroso to add more depth. The riffs are endless, and given the lower ABV, you can mix until you find your favorite. Given all the potential variations, my favorite specs adhere to what we know of as the classics.” —Sam Kiley, general manager, Dovetail Bar, New Orleans
“Most of us are captivated by videos that fall under the category of #satisfying. You know, the ones where soap is cut in perfectly shaped bars or someone’s popping bubble wrap. That same satisfying feeling is parallel to what occurs with a well-balanced cocktail, when all ingredients dance in a harmony of flavor. The Last Word delivers that feeling. This pre-Prohibition-era cocktail with equal parts gin, lime, green Chartreuse, and Maraschino does more than provide a revival to recipes from our drunken ancestors. The balance of tart, herbal, sweetness, and botanicals make this a perfect year-round cocktail. So please, do us all a favor: Bring back equal-parts cocktails and have the Last Word lead the way.” —Felix Martin, beverage director, Amano, Brooklyn
*Images retrieved from Monkey Business & gianluca1989 via stock.adobe.com