It is often said that fashion comes full circle with the delights and trends of past decades returning for another bout in the spotlight. This applies to cultural habits as much as it does to clothing – and the resurgence of classic cocktails is the perfect example.
Read our Classic Cocktails whitepaper now or download a version for later to find out why the classics will always remain in style.
Today’s society is centred on the cocktail bar but while you might think that it is the new and exciting concoctions which draw the crowds, it seems that the classics are still the best.
According to a report produced by Love Antiques, 95% of bartenders have seen an increase in demand for classic cocktails over the past few years with 84% believing that it is important to maintain the original presentation and ingredients of a classic cocktail when reproducing it for modern punters – although that doesn’t stop 87% from agreeing that classics can still be improved!
Head Bartender Erik Lorincz @ The American Bar in The Savoy Hotel London stated that:
[tweet_box]“If you don’t know the classics, how can you make any other cocktail?” #ClassicCocktails @TheSavoyLondon[/tweet_box]
This research was generated from a tour of 40 of London’s best cocktail bars and shows just how far the humble cocktail has come in 2015. If you fancy paying any of these swanky bars a visit, check out our A-Z of classic cocktails map to pinpoint their location.
Merchant House Bar
Great news for business
Yet the resurgence of classic cocktails isn’t only good news for the drinks connoisseur, it also bodes well for mixologists, bartenders and bar owners.
Love Antiques’ wrote in their report that some of those they interviewed cited “cyclical trends” as the reason for the growing popularity of classic cocktails – as we mentioned above – but there are other elements at work too.
“Others cited the popularity of shows such as Mad Men, Boardwalk Empire and Sex And The City for the upturn, thanks to their cocktail-downing stars,” the report explained. To find out more about classic celeb favourites take a read of our classic-cocktails-classiest-quaffers post.
With “lifestyle writers and the emerging blogosphere” feeding into the hype, it was “only a matter of time” before mainstream bars “caught up” and recognised the greater profit margins available with cocktails over beers and wines.
But what do new classics taste like?
More than just considering how classic cocktails have regained their position as the number one tipple, the report also considered how new takes on the old favourites actually measure up in the taste department.
An interesting discovery was the increase in the number of artisanal spirits made available in the average bar.
Quoting Martin Baeta – bartender at Good Godfrey’s in Wardorf Hitlon – the report says “four years ago, we stocked maybe 70 brands of gin…now we have closer to 250!”
The emphasis here is clearly on variety and quality.
Bartenders and their punters are no longer content with standard mix spirits. Instead, they want specially distilled and expertly crafted choices that offer an abundance of flavours, strengths and intensities to turn today’s classic cocktails into something truly remarkable.
A quote from Marco Piroli of Lab Bar summarised this idea perfectly in the report, saying:
“We prefer to get spirits from the people who have been making them for 100s of years. They have the expertise and the physical space to produce excellent results”.
From here, London’s bartenders add their own flair and flavour to today’s classics via home-grown purees infusions and bitters. Distilling their own spirits may be a stretch too far but today’s mixologists are experts in experimenting with other flavours and accompaniments to produce the sensational cocktails that we are all so familiar with today.
Given the data generated in the report, it seems rather apt that the undisputed favourite of all classic cocktails is the Old-Fashioned (closely followed by the Martini and Mojito).
Smokey-Old-Fashioned- Canvas Bar
Today’s cocktails may share the old names and familiar presentations but the approach to mixology is modernised to ensure new twists are added to old classics; improving the taste and cocktail-drinking experience while remaining true to the original recipe.
Download Love Antiques’ ‘Classic cocktails come of age: An in-depth survey on the state of the classic cocktail in 2015’ to find out more about how this cultural trend is shaping up in the 21st Century