Peeking in the Cocktail Crystal Ball

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic's slew of events offer a hint at the mixology world's latest trends.



One of the best parts of cocktail mega-conferences (like the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, which wrapped up last month) is that they offer a sneak peek at cocktail trends to come. Here’s a look at some of the dazzling drink trends you’ll likely see in your glass this summer and beyond—plus recipes for those who want to start sipping on the next big thing now.


Must-Have Muscat 

The sweet, floral Muscat grape—also known as Moscato—has been popping up as a popular choice in the wine world, but it’s now breaking into the booze category, making a cameo in everything from vodka to vin liqueur.

The two latest products to hit the market—Pavan, an orange blossom and Muscat wine-based spirit, and Skyy Moscato-infused vodka—both offer the fresh and floral notes we all crave for summertime sipping.

Photo by Virginia RollisonPavan Ramos Fizz

Recipe courtesy Sam Ross, bartender, Attaboy, New York City

1 ounce Pavan
1 ounce gin
¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
¼ ounce simple syrup
½ ounce heavy cream
1 Egg white
Perrier, to top

Combine all ingredients except Perrier in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain cocktail into a chilled fizz glass and top with Perrier.


Coffee & Tea if You Please

New York City’s bitters-focused bar Amor y Amargo launched their new weekend coffee cocktail service—and it’s no ordinary cup of Joe. What’s different here? The coffee takes top billing, as Maialino’s head barista Natalie Czech brews up Japanese-style iced pour-overs directly into Yarai cut-glass mixing glasses, finessed with just enough hooch to highlight the coffee’s natural flavors. Somehow, noon didn’t seem too early to sip the Purple Drank, made with Honduras Finca el Puente coffee, mezcal, Zucca amaro and lavender bitters.

At New York City’s Dead Rabbit, the Pisco Punch tipple takes the cake for our favorite tea-inspired cocktail. A zesty, large batch cocktail made from Orange Pekoe tea-infused Barsol Pisco, it’s served in the bar’s signature antique tea cups—and we think it’s a standout for summer luncheons and lazy Sunday brunches.

Photo by Jenny AdamsPisco Punch

Recipe courtesy Jack McGarry, bar manager and co-owner, Dead Rabbit, New York City

Zest of 8 ruby red grapefruits
Zest of 10 lemons
1¼ cups caster sugar
1 cup freshly squeezed ruby grapefruit juice
1 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups Jasmine Tea
3 cups Orange Pekoe tea-infused Barsol Pisco (recipe below)
4 ounces Campari
10 dashes Bittertruth Orange Cream Citrate

Muddle the zest of grapefruits, zest of lemons and caster sugar together until all the oil has been extracted from the peels. Add grapefruit juice, lemon juice, Jasmine Tea, pisco, Campari, Orange Cream Citrate to muddled citrus zest. Stir until sugar has been dissolved. Strain out all the peels. Refrigerate for 6 hours and serve.

Orange Pekoe tea-infused Barsol Pisco
4 tea bags or 1 ounce of loose orange pekoe tea leaves tea
1 bottle of Barsol Pisco

Macerate the infusion for 30 minutes.


A Cruise Down the Boulevardier

If you’ve tired of Negroni variations, keep an eye out for its cousin, the Boulevardier. Typically made with Bourbon, Campari and sweet vermouth, multiple versions of this cocktail were spotted across the MCC, from the “Improved Boulevardier” to a pre-bottled “Barrelled Boulevardier,” launched by High West Distillery.

Photo by Bonnie BurkeThe Improved Boulevardier

Recipe courtesy Josh Durr, cocktail consultant, Hawthorne Beverage Group

1½ ounces Jefferson’s Bourbon
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce Carpano Antica
2 dashes of Luxardo Maraschino
Dash of Angostura bitters
Dash of Kubler absinthe
Orange zest, for garnish

In a mixing glass filled with ice, combine all ingredients except garnish and stir well. Strain mixture into an Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with orange zest.


Avant Bar

Keep an eye out for these out-of-the-ordinary tippling trends as well.

Rocket-Science Sips

Mixologists broke out gadgets galore in an attempt to showcase new ways to make and enjoy cocktails. On the higher end, New York mixologist Don Lee showcased “vaporized” cocktails at an event sponsored by Svedka vodka. A small device resembling an air freshener released steam made from citrus vodka, simple syrup and mint; participants were encouraged to inhale the steam, which introduced a small amount of alcohol into the bloodstream. Elsewhere, Dave Arnold, owner of New York’s Booker + Dax, used liquid nitrogen to flash-freeze fresh herbs into powder, instantly infusing the herbs into a vibrant green cocktail. A more approachable gadget:  “Liquid Chef” Junior Merino introduced his line of atomizer cocktails, meant for spraying in the mouth like breath freshener. “It’s boozy Binaca!” one reveler observed.

Gilding the Lily

Drinks featured gorgeous garnishes and surprise swizzles—meaning everything from flowers to freeze-dried fruit showed up in our glasses. Simple & Crisp debuted a line of freeze-dried fruit crisps that gussied cocktails and appetizers alike. Alexandria, VA cocktailian Todd Thrasher showcased a cheeky drink called “Pupu 2 You,” made with duck sauce soda (yes, you read that correctly) and garnished with a larb woonsen spring roll. While not quite a garnish, Gaz Regan’s “finger-stirred Negroni” also caused quite a stir.

Artisan Sodas

Sometimes, it’s not all about the booze: The Culinary Institute of America introduced a harvest of fizzy artisanal sodas in flavors like acorn and celery to add additional craft and complexity to cocktails. Considering the recent mania for carbonated cocktails, the CIA’s soda offerings seem right on trend.

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