It’s 2019, and we’re excited about the drink trends of the New Year. For the past years, we’ve seen some trends flame out, but some stay and grew stronger.

Last year, we saw a rise of bars with gin and tonic offerings and a lot of new gin brands have become available in the market. Poblacion has grown and continue to grow with a few more neighborhood bars opening up to the thirsty public. Sustainability has been on the spotlight for quite a time now, and we have seen bars, bartenders, and brands integrate these on their offerings.

For this year, here’s what we can look forward to in the drink world:

1) Healthy Drinks

Wellness has been on every consumer’s mind, and it has cut across various sectors of their lives. People are tuning in to more functional beverage and often with natural ingredients that offer vitamins, antioxidants, and energy-boosters. Even lessening sugar or opting for a more natural sweetener like honey, stevia, or agave has become more prevalent.

Plant-based ingredients are becoming dominant in the consumer market, and it includes dairy alternatives such as rice, oats, nuts, and barley. It is due to the influence of the vegan diet and growing lactose-intolerance globally. Even in mixology, a lot of bartenders started to embrace the use of aquafaba (water-bean, water in cans of chickpeas and tofu) instead of eggs in their drinks.

plant-based milk

According to Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, we can expect to see food and drink manufacturers look to the beauty and personal care industry for inspiration for healthy aging product development. Now, that will be interesting to see, I mean, drink!

2) Sustainability

Think outside the straw. Sustainability in the F&B world goes beyond merely banning usage of straw but is geared towards ‘evergreen consumption,’ a 360 view of sustainability that affects the entire product lifecycle from suppliers to consumers.

Kitchen scraps

Evergreen consumption includes stopping the use of plastic in food/drink packaging, re-purposing kitchen scraps and turning them into ingredients for the bar (edible garnishes, shrubs, coasters), and use of local, seasonal, and organic ingredients.

Bartenders, bars, and brands are starting to raise awareness and practice sustainability. During the 2018 Singapore cocktail week, mixologists, and ambassadors from different parts of Asia tackled sustainability and opened discussions on how the industry can help each other in pushing for a more sustainable practice.

Last year, Asia’s 50 Best Bars launched the first ever Ketel One Sustainable Bar Award and Bali, Indonesia’s Potato Head Beach Club got the first award for their high emphasis in using local ingredients.  

In Manila, Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen is currently making waves as one of the pioneers of sustainable bar practice in the country with an emphasis on foraging ingredients locally, which not only helps local farmers but also boosts tourism for the country.

Agimat Foraging Bar and Kitchen

3) Hybrid Drinks

We’ve seen various drink hybrids in the past years, you’ve probably tasted a few of them–rosé beers, rumbeers, vodqulia, cognac finished whiskies, or single malt finished in beer barrels. There’s a rising trend, and we might be seeing more this year. Rockstars Sammy Hagar and Adam Levine launched Santo Mezquila (tequila + mezcal) and we’re hoping it will reach our shores this 2019.

Santo Mezquila

Let’s wait if CBD (cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive chemical found in hemp and cannabis) cocktails will finally be available in local bars too.

CBD cocktail

4) Drinking in Moderation

There has been a lot of ‘light’ spirits popping up in the local market– light beer, light brandy, light soju, we even heard about a light tequila that will launch in the market. This trend is due to the demand of the younger consumers opting for a more extended drinking session with friends and not getting smack drunk after two to three glasses of hard drink.

Primera Light Brandy

Low ABV (alcohol by volume) cocktails are becoming a highlight in local bars, and mocktails are becoming a staple on menus.

We’ve also tasted non-alcoholic spirits Seedlip (seedlipdrinks.com) in 2018 Singapore Cocktail Week, and we’re hoping it will reach the local market soon. It is a non-alcoholic drink made in the same manner as gins, distilling botanicals with alcohol but the producers take out the alcohol before bottling. You can drink it with tonic, and it gives you the light feel of your favorite G&T minus the gin.

Seedlip

5) Food-inspired Cocktails

Food-inspired drinks are common in bartending competitions. In 2016, Diageo Reserve World Class PH champion Michael Tubiera showcased his lechon-inspired cocktail called Sibu in the World Class regional round in Bali, Indonesia and Diageo Reserve World Class 2018 PH champion Lester Ligon featured his cocktail Marahu Mule made with Ketel One Vodka, palapa cordial (palapa is a Maranao delicacy made from local scallions called sakurab, ginger, and chili), and fermented rice soda in the global finals in Berlin which earned him the Ketel One Better Drinking Challenge award.  

Sibu cocktail by Michael Tubiera

We’ve tasted a slew of food-inspired cocktails for the past year, which includes flavors of taho, bacon, cereals, and even bagoong! Last December, our local bartenders created a lot of Filipino food-inspired cocktails for DrinkManila.com’s Christmas recipes highlighting flavors of puto bumbong, bibingka (rice cake), buko pandan, ginataan (sticky rice balls in coconut milk), ube (purple yam), and polvoron (toastedflour, sugar, milk, and nuts). Some of the cocktails were made available in their respective bars, and we’re slowly seeing these items in our local bar menus even on the non-holiday season.

Tapa Old Fashioned cocktail

Click here for the recipe of Tapa Old Fashioned cocktail recipe

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