Five top cocktail trends for 2017

Van Isle Iced Tea—created by Brad Stanton and Robyn Gray, head bartenders at Prohibition—taps into several of the top cocktail trends of 2017. Viranlly Liemena photo (courtesy of Prohibition).

Well, thank goodness that’s over. This past year was enough to drive a person to drink. Luckily, the city’s best bartenders know just what we’re craving right now and in the year ahead. Here are the top-five cocktail trends they say we’ll be enjoying in 2017. Cheers!

1. We’ll be savouring the complex – and, as of this month, legal in B.C. – flavours of infusions, tinctures and aged cocktails.

JS Dupuis, beverage director, Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar“With the recent changes to our liquor laws, I think we’re at a turning point in restaurant and bar culture in Vancouver. We can do things with cocktails now that no longer require a wink and a secret handshake, which is going to give the cocktail scene a big push in 2017.”

Dave Warren, bar manager, the Salted Vine Kitchen + Bar (Squamish):“2017 will bring a resurgence of complex and daring infusions and housemade tinctures.”

Katie Ingram, head bartender, L’Abattoir:“I also think we’re going to see a lot more barrel-aging here in Vancouver.”

Sabrine Dahliwal, bar manager, UVA Wine & Cocktail Bar“Cocktail programs will be able to create even more unique flavour profiles using different ingredients, such as teas, herbs and spices. It’s exciting to see what new combinations people will develop.”

James Welk, bar manager, Fat Mao Noodles“Anyone can swap an ingredient in a classic, but layering spirits with herbs and spices provides a whole new palate of versatility and flavour.”

2. We’ll be mixing multiple spirits together.

Brad Stanton, head bartender, Prohibition“We’re talking about cocktails that use a combination of base spirits, sometimes infusing one or more with other ingredients – for instance, bourbon and vanilla-infused rum. We’ll see more of these drinks because Vancouver drinkers are sophisticated and not necessarily confined to a particular base spirit when choosing which cocktail to drink.”

Ron Oliver, co-owner and head bartender, Mamie Taylor’s“This could just be called bartending, and I know that the Long Island Iced Tea looms over this prediction.”

3. We’ll be sipping bright new white spirits.

Ryley Zucca, bar manager, La Mezcaleria“I think we’ll be seeing a rise in cocktails featuring spirits people are not as widely familiar with, like akvavit, pisco and, of course, mezcal.”

Max Borrowman, bar manager, Juniper Kitchen + Bar“Akvavit is going to explode ­ I currently have so many people asking me to make akvavit cocktails. We’re getting amazing akvavits, absinthes and white whiskies coming out of our local distilleries.”

JS Dupuis: “I’m also hoping to see fun things with cachaça, for no other reason than it’s an awesome spirit. ”

4. We’ll be here for the beer.

Max Borrowman: “Lately, I’ve started noticing a lot of truly unique beers coming out of the Vancouver beer scene. This will only continue to the point that no two beers will be remotely the same, and that will give mixologists a lot more to play with when it comes to cocktails.”

Ron Oliver: “I think bartenders will begin to use the best ingredients in their creations, even if they’re not grown or made in the same area code as the bar they work in. They will, however, continue to drink beer from local breweries after their shifts are over.”

5. We’ll work low-proof cocktails and aperitifs into our healthy lifestyles.

Katie Ingram: “Aperitif cocktails and aperitif bars were huge in the U.S. last year and are slowly making their way up to Canada, so I expect we’ll be seeing more amaros, low-octane cocktails and delicately bitter drinks.”

Sabrine Dhaliwal: “There are many reasons why one person may want to reduce alcohol consumption but still feel like they’re part of the party. So why not give them something fun?”

—by Joanne Sasvari

Make the Van Isle Iced Tea, a drink that taps into several of 2017’s cocktail trends.

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