What Are We Drinking In 2023?

Food & Drink

What’s in our glass next year? According to Bacardi’s 2023 Cocktail Trends Report, we’ll be getting virtual and experiencing a ‘pleasure revolution.’

What does that mean? The fourth annual edition of the cocktail trend reports identifies more martinis (plus espresso martinis), familiar flavors, and ferments (kombuchas and kefirs) as incoming trends. We’re also going to drink more sustainably and often in the meta-verse.

Insights are organized into five overarching macro trends that will define the next year: pleasure revolution, transformational tastes, virtual experimentation, sophisticated sips, and conscious cocktails. Let’s break down what that means.

Pleasure revolution

Rather than stick to convention, Bacardi predicts a switch to ‘frivolous flavors’ as people experiment with new ingredients and flavor profiles at home and in cocktail bars. This trend is already in motion — according to this past October’s Consumer Survey, the daiquiri, margarita, and bloody mary were the top-ordered cocktails in the world. These drinks aren’t necessarily consumed in bars: 37% of people surveyed globally now making more cocktails at home vs. 2020 and more than 30% drinking more cocktails than wine and beer.

The report also suggests a shift back to comforting cocktails: nostalgic classics like martinis, negronis, highballs, and old fashioneds. “For many people, pandemic lockdowns amplified aspects of creating coziness,” says Brandy Rand, chief strategy officer, IWSR Drinks Market Analysis. “Flavors and smells like chocolate chip cookies, fresh-squeezed lemonade, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich bring back the nostalgia of childhood and are simple comforts.”

Transformational Tastes

We’re moving towards bolder flavors, with spicy, tequila, and vodka-based cocktails rising appeal (think ingredients like jalapeño and tabasco). Bitter flavors remain popular, with ingredients like coffee (heard of an espresso martini?) and aromatic bitters gaining popularity, alongside ferments: kombuchas, tepaches, and kefirs. (This information is pulled from Bacardi’s annual brand ambassador survey).

Virtual Experimentation

Likely needing little introduction after the last few years, the report predicts a continuous lean into the digital realm. “2023 will see the continued acceleration of on-demand drinks and experiences thanks to the convenience of digital commerce.”

Online shopping is included in that prediction — 31% of respondents plan on increasing the use of online delivery services for ordering cocktails. Bacardi also predicts the digital world offers a new path to drinks education and experimentation. Then there’s the metaverse — technology research firm Gartner predicts in the next three years, 25% of consumers will spend a minimum of an hour a day in the metaverse.

Sophisticated Sips

Consumers are continuing to embrace high-end spirits. 2023 will see these spendier sips utilized in simpler servers highlighting more premium ingredients and forgoing fussy garnishes and decorations. Tequila will continue to be a category to watch, as will single malts, aged rum and mezcal.

Of note, premium spirits consistently performed over the pandemic, reinforcing alcohol’s resilience.

Conscious Cocktails

Green ingredients, recyclable packaging, waste reduction, and sustainable practices are priorities for consumers. 9 out of 10 respondents in the Indian market said they would be willing to spend more on a drinks brand that stands for sustainability, and respondents in Mexico and South Africa also prioritized environmental consciousness. The US and U.K. were less responsive to sustainability.

Respondents found that recyclable packaging was the most important theme, followed by reducing single-use plastic, buying local, water preservation, carbon footprint reduction, and sustainable sourcing.

Consciousness also extends to alcohol consumption, recognizing the growing importance of the no- and low-alcohol categories.

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