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Behind the Bar: Drinking in 2012

Contributed by

When it comes to predicting what we’ll all be drinking in 2012, who better to ask than our resident master mixologist and Liquor.com advisor Dale DeGroff? Here are some of the trends he sees taking off this year.


The farm-to-glass movement is really picking up steam. Even more professional and home bartenders will be shopping for local produce in farmers’ markets and tending their own plants. Adam Seger was the first mixologist I know of to install an indoor herb garden, which was at his former establishment Nacional 27 in Chicago. And on the other side of the country, Santa Monica, Calif., restaurant Michael’s recently added a rooftop fruit-and-herb garden to serve its bar. Get some inspiration of your own by reading Bridget Albert’s Market-Fresh Mixology or Scott Beattie’s Artisanal Cocktails.



For years, chefs have been flash-smoking food, and now tabletop smokers are showing up in watering holes. The mixological technique was pioneered by New York barman Eben Freeman. But it does require some restraint, since more delicate spirits are less likely to be improved. (The Bloody Bull and the Bullshot, two steakhouse favorites in need of a revival, are brilliant candidates for a smoky infusion.) Washington, D.C., bartender Derek Brown even makes his Where There’s Mezcal… with exotic smoked cassia bark.


One trend I expect to gain traction is the celebration of simple and unadulterated classics, like the Daiquiri, Manhattan and Vieux Carré. (Williams & Graham, which just opened in Denver, features more than three dozen old standbys!) In the name of creativity, many bars now offer an endless number of twists on standards; as a result, it’s hard to find a naked drink. I venture to say that some bartenders relatively new to the profession are so wrapped up in creating variations that they may have neglected to master the originals.

Smoked Bloody Bull

Contributed by Dale DeGroff

  • 1.5 oz Absolut Vodka
  • 1 dash Fresh orange juice
  • 4 dashes Tabasco Sauce
  • 1 dash Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 oz Beef broth
  • 2 oz Tomato juice
  • Garnish: Orange peel
  • Glass: Goblet

Add all the ingredients to a mixing glass and roll back and forth to mix. Cold smoke the contents of the mixing glass with a tabletop smoker. Strain into a goblet filled with fresh ice. Garnish with an orange peel.

Master mixologist Dale DeGroff is the author of The Essential Cocktail and The Craft of the Cocktail. He is also a Liquor.com advisor.

Series & Type: Trends

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