Spirits Trends in 2016 – Are you drinking correctly?

The best cocktail and spirits trends for 2016

What are the newest spirit trends for 2016? Many seem to have an opinion. We’ve summarized the thoughts of a few key bloggers to help aid you in your cocktail crafting as you venture deeper into the new year.



Adam Morganstern, a regular contributor to the Forbes blog, voiced his opinions about the trends in 2016. He asked a group of top mixologists and spirit writers what they were looking forward to drinking more of in the new year. Rum and Tiki drink answers were abound. Here’s a summarized list of what he found. Original article here.

  • Session Cocktails – (lower alcohol, but not a mocktail. Good for day drinking).
  • The Digestif
  • Sherry Cocktails
  • Apple-based Spirits
  • Extractions (Blue Agave Spirits anyone…)
  • Infused Spirits
  • The Spritz
  • Classic & Tiki
  • Eau de Vie
  • Daiquiri
  • Domestic Amaro
  • Savory and East Asian Cocktails
  • Specialty Whiskies (flavored and blended)


A popular website for everything beverage; just-drinks.com laid out their key spirits trends for 2016 and to no surprise – they differ from Forbes authoritative opinions. We tend to be a bit more partial to these suggestions as the obvious trend towards darker spirits and liquors has been identified with.

“From Scotch loch to whisky tsunami”. One can’t deny that the ever-increasing demand for scotch-like spirits and blended whiskies has become a cultural shift. Sophisticated drinkers are willing to pay higher prices every single day for a new concoction that matches their self-esteem. And not to mention the hybrids and infusions that drive many modern day “craft cocktail” bars – a concept that was once taboo; mixing your fine aged specimen with something of lesser stature.

They also speak to vodka and its new market resilience since the flavored dilution of its species with endless options, as well as the re-alignment of the cognac category.

Happily, they see what we see – a surge in the demand for Tequila, or more importantly Blue Agave Spirits. Along with a few other key categories, just-drinks.com states that Blue Agave persuasions “will continue to find their way into trend-setting metropolitan western hotspots, satiating the demands of a promiscuous Generation X demographic for exotic alternatives to staple categories, while at the same time adopting an increasingly more premium positioning”. Original article here.


There are some noticeable parallels here. Kyle Thacker, a writer for Uncorkd seems to have hit on the head when he sums up the trends. His assessment mirrors those above with a noticeable movement in the trend toward Rum-based Tiki drinks and also flavored whiskies. There’s a shift happening in American culture right now and what used to be identified as “the sophisticate” or “Playboy cocktail“, is now a bit boring and drab. Why sip a single malt or distilled spirit when you can enjoy the complexity of a hand crafted cocktail by an enlightened spirits expert?

As noted in their article, its an exciting time to drink in America. Nearly any bar or restaurant that you happen to wander into, will likely have a mixologist on staff to dazzle and impress. At the very least, they offer pre-designed cocktail menus crafted by spirit consultants that follow the latest spirits trends. Yes, that’s right – spirit consultants And with a re-focused energy on ingredients and technique, the aftermath of an evening out has become a bit more acceptable the morning after. Original article here.

The Verdict

There’s no doubt that American culture is one of diversity and expectation. Tradition may always have its place amongst some, but creativity and ingenuity will always prevail. Science and Cocktails go hand in hand. The above summaries lead us to one conclusion – darker spirits, aged spirits and craft cocktails are shaping the culture of American bars. Whether its rum based Tiki drinks, blended whiskies, aged and infused beers, or blue agave cocktails, the modern socialite (gender aside) prefers to take some risk.

As for the “session cocktails”, a brilliant man named Kramer once said “imagine, you can walk around drunk all day”!

Spirits Trends in 2016

Kramer Drinking Hennigan’s.

Cover image by Joel Koyama – Star Tribune.