Food & Drink

2023 Summer Drink Trends From The Experts

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(In photo: Hamilton Princess and Beach Club mixologist Dae Paynter with a Christmas cocktail he mixed up)

Summer time is synonymous with fun and sometimes fun includes a cocktail or glass of wine. And this summer will be no exception. But instead of that same old cocktail or glass of wine, let’s step out the box and have a bit more fun.

Bermudians love to be trendy and libations are no exception! In order to guide you in the right direction for trendy cocktails and wine this summer, we spoke to Bermudian experts to find out their thoughts on drink trends for the summer. Whether you prefer a perfectly chilled glass of wine or a cocktail, we’ve got something fun for you to try.

Meet our experts: Dae Paynter, Best of Bermuda Award winning Bartender of the Year 2022 and John Lake, veteran mixologist and sommelier. They both agree that spritz-style cocktails will be popular this summer.

Mr Payner said: “I was recently in Amsterdam, they’ve started a spritz vibe already. When you present it early, people get used to it and they say ‘you know what? This would be nice by the pool or relaxing by the water’. And who doesn’t love a little bubbles?

“A spritz gives you a chance to make two cocktails in one glass, really three if you mix it. The bottom would be more flavourful and sweet than the top and the top would be dry adding prosecco or champagne. If you mix it together, it becomes a unified cocktail that becomes balanced.”

Mr Lake agreed and said: “Things like aperol spritz or a Hugo spritz have been popular for a while. But a lot of bartenders and beverage directors are using the spritz style of cocktail in lots of cool and creative ways. The whole point is that you as a customer can have a couple over the course of the afternoon and be able to wake up the next morning and get on with your day.”

He also said he’s seeing customers switching to cocktails that are low or no ABV (alcohol by volume).

“People are conscious about what they are drinking on a daily or weekly basis. They want to go somewhere with friends and have a few drinks but still be a little buzzed, but not feel drunk.

He continued: “The problem a lot of cocktails have is customers want to drink a drink that tastes like the real thing. A lot of these non-alcoholic spirits out there claim it’s a non-alcoholic gin or tequila and you taste it and that’s not really what it is. In my experience making mocktails, the key is to use fresh ingredients to give someone who’s not drinking something enjoyable to drink that’s not water or soda because they still want to enjoy drinks and have fun without drinking.”

Mr Lake said one trick is to make the drinks longer by adding coconut water, tonic water or soda water to a straight up cocktail.

Mr Paynter said he thinks cocktails will be more popular than wine and beer this summer.

“It’s more of a new experience to drink craft cocktails from each bar in the summer rather than just drinking a glass of wine. I’ve noticed when people come to my bar people will say ‘I was just gonna have a glass of wine but what do you think?’.

It gives me the opportunity to ask them what they like – sweet, dry, spicy? You could drink wine but I could make you a cocktail that suits your personality. You don’t just drink one. You drink iit for the rest of the night. If I don’t hit the mark, they are gonna drink the wine. It’s a personal challenge. This is why I see people coming to me for cocktails more. People want to try something new.”

But Mr Lake said he thinks wine will be more popular.

“For me, different drinks suit different occasions, seasons and moods. Whilst a perfectly stirred Manhattan works wonders in a dimly lit bar with wood fixtures in the winter, it would be completely out of place at Warwick Long Bay in July. The same can be said for a beautifully chilled glass of Albarinho in the reverse.

“I think that for most people wine is what you drink at mealtimes, whilst cocktails are more for a happy hour or as an Aperitif/Digestif. This has been changing over the past few years with cocktail paired dinners becoming far more popular, but I still think that wine is and will be a more popular option for the average drinker for the next five to 10 years.”

And his pick for the summer is rosé.

Asked to name a spirit that’s making a comeback this summer, both experts agreed: rum.

Mr. Paynter said rum has become the new whiskey and tequila has become the new rum.

“You can do so many things with rum, it’s unreal. Rum for the longest was just rum but now for example Gosling’s has the Spirit of the Seas, which travelled back and forth from Bermuda to the US 80 odd times. It’s 88 proof but smoother than other overproof.

“One thing I’ve noticed is people are refining rum more. They are using oak barrels and barrels that come from tequila. As far as cocktails, Rum Old Fashions have become a big hit. I feel like in Bermuda that benefits us. Being from the islands, it benefits us. We will be playing around with a lot of rum.”

My Lake agreed but said rum has always been popular.

“The spirit I see having an explosion is rum. There is no spirit category which has the global diversity in production and taste as rum. From the grassy, funky column rums of Jamaica to the toasted coconut and ginger pot rums of Fiji, there are more amazing rums available to the average consumer than ever before.

“A lot of this surge in ‘new’ rums is the lack of barriers to entry versus spirits like Tequila or Bourbon. Rum can be made anywhere in the world and has very few if any rules on raw ingredients (sugar cane juice, molasses or both) or production methods. Even rums from the same country can vastly differ in taste and structure based on the decisions made by the producers. I wouldn’t say it’s a comeback because it’s been around forever.”

We asked both our experts what they plan to sip on this summer.

Mr Lake will enjoy rose, low ABV cocktails, spritzs and sipping rums, while Mr Payner plans to sip rum-based tea cocktails to keep things light and refreshing.

“I want something I can drink all afternoon. In Bermuda, most of us are day drinkers, so we need something we can start off with in the afternoon.”

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