Reindeer moss, RinQuinQuin and pasta straws. We’ve got the lowdown on drinks trends 2017 with the founder of Smultronstalle, one of the hottest bar concepts in the UK.
The fortified Sherry wines of Jerez have been a staple of Grandma’s cupboard for decades but what happens when you open your eyes to the incredible world of Sherry (for example)? From the dry and grassy flavours of Fino & Manzanilla to the nutty creaminess of a great Oloroso through to the almost puréed raisin decadence of Pedro Ximenez; there is a Sherry for everyone!
Outside of Sherry, there is another world that is unfortunately mostly undiscovered flavours belonging to Vermouths, Quinine Wines & Aperitifs. They’re largely inexpensive and deliver as much flavour as most spirits, perfect for daytime drinking or getting adventurous at your next dinner party.
I would recommend anybody to look up RinQuinQuin a la Peche (pron. ran-can-can). Its a beautiful dry French aperitif wine that has peaches and their leaves infused into it; or Byrrh Grand Quinquina (pron. beer grand kin-keen-a) that uses red grapes, fruit and spices to deliver an incredible array of flavours perfect with rich desserts.
In short, whether drunk cold from the fridge (don’t forget to treat your fortified wines like wines), paired with food, lengthened into a highball or mixed into a cocktail, there is definitely a fortified wine out there for everyone! And this is my top drinks trend 2017.
The tastes and aromas of Mother Nature herself. We are not talking raspberries and blackberries here. Surely born from the modern foraging movement, new flavours previously unexplored by the bar world are popping up now and then and will certainly increase in 2017 as the esoteric becomes more mainstream. Think grass and reindeer moss alongside your gin. Slate or stone infused into your vodka. Finding acorns in your cocktail or soil flavours in your Champagne may not be too far around the corner.
Of course there are the more pedestrian choices of samphire, sea buckthorn and oyster leaf too but I like to think 21st century drinkers want to push the envelope a little!
Say NO to Straws!
Millions, if not billions, of plastic drinking straws get tossed into the rubbish every single day around the world; this has to stop! Landfills are at breaking point and we as responsible drinkers can do something about it.
Abandoning those clear or black plastic straws all together is the only way forward and drinking without a straw is not as bad as it seems, but if you absolutely must then there are a multitude of options to use as a replacement.
Paper straws are widely available and they look a lot cooler than the plastic ones! Alternatively you could invest in metal versions which can be sterilised and used over and over (think everlasting straws). If neither of those do it for you, follow my lead at Smultronstalle and use Bucatini, pasta that is shaped like a straw. 100% biodegradable and pretty damn cheap too!
Tasting Menus – Bonus Trend
I cannot talk about drinks trends 2017 and not mention something so close to my heart; the tasting menu. Usually reserved for fine dining circles, my aim is to break the status quo and change up the bar model. Serving cocktails in a pre-set menu much like a restaurant would showcasing a clear coherent progression of flavour. Playing with textures, tastes, aromas and ingredients in a way not found in cocktails before. Despite my own bar Smultronstalle being the only bastion of this art form currently I would still like to see it popping up in other places in the UK as a core offering.