What might 2018 hold for cocktail culture? We peer at the tea leaves to see what might possibly be coming our way, from increased interest in robot bartenders to spirits we might soon be pouring, mixing and sipping.
Sorry, human bartenders. We still love you, but there has been a groundswell of interest in finding ways to make drinks faster and more efficiently, and often that talk leads to speculation about machines that make drinks. On some cruise ships and flashy venues, robotic arms already can make and mix drinks, and at the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail conference, an entire seminar was devoted to “Bartending Robots: Friend or Foe?”
Blame “Game of Thrones.” Or maybe blame the advent of hipster mead (prime example: the Brooklyn opening of All-Wise Meadery, backed by Dylan Sprouse, a former Disney child star). Or blame books that are demystifying the honey wine, such as the forthcoming book by Fred Minnick, “Mead: The Libations, Legends and Lore of History's Oldest Drink” (Running Press, $25).
We’ll have no problem with over-the-top infusions and 12-bottle pickups, as long as someone else is making the fancy drinks. And we’ll expect the visuals to match. From drinks served in logo-branded coconut shells at Maison Premiere in New York to glam garnishes and glassware, 2018 will still be about ready-for-Instagram cocktail moments, the more dramatic the better. We can’t wait to see how bartenders will top themselves in the year ahead.