Lemaire Assistant General Manager Chauncey Jenkins (Photo by Steve Hedberg)
On the Rise
I’m not sure if it was the tiki drink that introduced more rum to the scene or vice versa. What I do know is you can now go to many bars in the city and find multiple Caribbean countries represented by their respective rum offerings. We’ve also stopped pigeonholing rum as exclusive to mojitos and dark and stormies. Well done, RVA.
The idea of egg white in cocktails isn’t novel, but what was once a daily special is now populating permanent menus. Whether it’s something as small as a gin fizz or a more elaborate flip, these are making a serious impact, while adding texture and depth.
I’ve seen infusions played with as often as house-made bitters, but they’re finally widespread among a variety of bar concepts. Infusions are also becoming a lot more playful, and allow us to increase speed during service by removing a step when adding flavor.
The Downward Spiral
Names like Grey Goose, Belvedere and Ketel One are being replaced by local options and Tito’s. While this doesn’t hold true everywhere, labels such as Cirrus and Silverback Distillery’s Nelson 151 are picking up steam as sustainable, neutral-grain spirit options for the martini and vodka soda.
Summer’s over. So long to the frosé, the piña colada, the painkillers. Autumn undoubtedly offers prime patio weather, but frozen cocktails and fall are as polarizing as plaid and stripes. Trade in your frosty friends for Missoni sweaters and allspice dram.
I’ve seen a few interpretations of the mule, some even using infused spirits, but it’s not a good drink in my opinion. This may not be on the outs —I still see tons of these ordered every shift — but I close my eyes and click my heels three times for it to disappear.