“What can I get you?” the bartender asks, an expansive array of liquor and wine bottles shining brightly in the background; a line of beer taps stretching a mile long before you. Undecided and feeling the pressure, you ask for the drink menu, hoping it’ll at least jog some inspiration.
Whether your New Year’s resolutions include expanding your cocktail palate or scaling back on the alcohol, here are a few tips and trends to help you navigate the 2020 beverage scene like a pro.
Stick with the Classics: Most Popular Drinks to Order at the Bar
If you’re looking for a popular, tried-and-true cocktail that you know you can order at pretty much any bar, we suggest keeping this list of best-selling cocktails in the world handy. To assemble the list, Drinks International tapped (pun absolutely intended) nearly 130 bartenders from award-winning or nominated bars around the world to rank their top 50 sellers. The Old Fashioned took the number one spot, with favorites like the espresso martini, margarita, Aperol Spritz and Moscow Mule filling in the top 10.
Non-Alcoholic Beers, Mocktails & Kombucha
With research showing a downward trend in alcohol consumption among younger generations, beverage manufacturers and mixologists alike are coming up with innovative ways to satisfy the tastes of increasingly health-conscious consumers. In 2017, Heineken launched its non-alcoholic Heineken® 0.0 beer, with other commercial and craft breweries following suit.
If beer isn’t quite your vibe, virgin cocktails or “mocktails” are growing in popularity as bartenders experiment with alcohol-inspired flavor profiles—minus the alcohol, and less the sugar. And as you’ve likely seen in and around San Diego, kombucha is starting to join the ranks of its hoppy, generally-boozier counterparts on tap at bars and breweries, while being featured prominently at kombucha bars throughout the city.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is purported to provide many of the anxiety-reducing benefits of the plant it’s derived from, without any of the psychoactive effects of THC. Food & Wine recently consulted owners and bartenders from across the U.S. to get the “buzz” on this emerging trend. Though exact descriptions vary, the consensus seems to be that CBD-infused drinks not only create an interesting flavor and texture profile when paired with complementary liquors, but they can also leave you feeling more “relaxed” or “mellow.” In that case, we’ll take two!
New Year—Why Not Try Something New?
As we head into both a new year and a new decade, what better time to experiment with the latest innovations in San Diego’s food and beverage scene than during San Diego Restaurant Week? Follow us on Instagram and tag a friend who could use a cocktail—or mocktail—come January 19th–26th.