The general trend towards sustainable and responsible consumption has also taken hold in cocktail bars. A ‘greener’ cocktail places great emphasis on using the best ingredients! No more overfilled and overcomplicated creations.
The big comeback of highballs confirms this desire to offer a more minimalist vision of the cocktail. Paradoxically, these long drinks must also demonstrate aromatic complexity.
Simplification of recipes
One of the major current trends - and one that has been around for some time - is to consume more responsibly. Conscious consumers are seeking to reduce their impact on the environment by, for example, favouring ‘short circuits’ or organic farming. In the world of mixology, this translates into greener cocktails: reuse of organic waste, natural ingredients and plant-based alternatives. The consumer who wants to reduce their carbon footprint also naturally turns to better quality and more authentic products.
Mixology is shifting back to simplified or refined creations. In practical terms, recipes with extra ingredients, sometimes with more than seven ingredients, are now exiled from the most famous cocktail bars. Indeed, the great classics on a cocktail menu are almost all made up of three ingredients, no more. Cocktails such as Negroni, Old Fashioned, Sazerac and Gimlet, with few ingredients, appeal to bartenders who like to bring them up to date with a contemporary twist whilst emphasising quality spirits. The Artesian bar at the Langham Hotel in London has not hesitated to offer a menu composed solely of cocktails made of two ingredients.
The three-ingredient rule is making a comeback in shakers. It then becomes essential to take an interest in choosing quality products. It is no longer a question of mixing flavours but of enhancing the two or three selected ingredients. Spirits should not be chosen at random, not even soft drinks. In addition, consumers are prioritising conscious consumption and are increasingly receptive to local products.
Note also that this trend of less is more also concerns glassware and garnishes. Sleeker glasses emphasise the content whilst the absence of garnishes avoids any waste. Remember, the main aim is the simplification of the recipe. However, this does not mean that sophistication has no place. Quite the contrary..
The Highballs' Return
In this trend, the highball is once again finding its place on counters. To give a little background, this type of cocktail originated in England at the same time as the first sodas. An American actor at the time asked for a ‘scotch & soda.’ The drink soon became popular in England and the United States and then spread to the four corners of the globe under different variants. The highball has even integrated Japanese culture in its whiskey-water-ice version. It is a cocktail that is often cheaper than beer in Japan!
Of course, the highball is simply a long drink cocktail made using a very simple formula: one part spirit (gin, vodka, rum, spicy rum, tequila, cognac…) for three to five parts of soda or fruit juice. It may also be garnished with a slice of orange or a wedge of lime. This mix is often appreciated by those who prefer light alcohol blends.
The success of the refreshing, low-alcohol Spritz only confirms this trend. The same is true of Gin Tonic, which has been increasingly ordered in recent years. Premium gin brands do not hesitate to offer unique aromatic profiles based on botanicals that give them a certain sought-after complexity.
Vermouth and tonic, very accessible, and delighting a clientele that appreciates bitterness, are also available with unique flavours. Among our creations, the Vermouth Bergamot Tonic is composed of the trio MONIN Bergamot syrup + White Martini + Tonic.
As we briefly mentioned above, it is clear that this return to the simplification of cocktails does not conflict with innovation. On the contrary, the challenge today is to offer sophisticated recipes with few quality ingredients! Bartenders are stepping up their technique and expertise to enhance the taste of each component in order to get the best out of it.
In the mixology world, we’ll talk of simplexity, which is the contraction of simplicity and complexity. In other words, how to elevate a ‘simple’ highball to that of a cocktail of aromatic complexity. The new generation of Paragon Cordials lends itself willingly to this exercise: the Penja V & T perfectly mixes Paragon White Penja Pepper + Martini Rubino + Tonic.