Drinks trends are set to shift to suit the changing seasons. Bright and bold tastes of nature will trend through spring, coupled with beverage trends seeking to solve some of the global challenges consumers are most concerned with.
Familiarity was key through the pandemic, with evocative or nostalgic flavours offering comfort in times of uncertainty. But now tastes of adventure and escapism are tipped to be the future flavours drinkers want.
A ‘shore’ winner – seaweed tops future flavours
Salty, savoury flavours might not seem immediately obvious for drinks, but seaweed and algae flavoured offerings will be some of the top drinks trends for 2022.
Seaweed cocktails, seaweed seltzers and even seaweed beers appeal to the most adventurous of drinkers while tapping into health and wellness trends, thanks to their breadth of flavour and variety of health benefits.
Seaweed has long been popular in cuisine as a so-called ‘superfood’, packed with vitamins and offering a tasty alternative to animal-derived protein. It’s also recognised as a truly sustainable seafood too. Its growth supports the environment as it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, and it doesn’t require chemicals like pesticides or fertilisers to flourish.
Giving a rich flavour, there are many varieties of seaweed offering a spectrum of flavour from sweet to bacon-like, meaning possibilities are wide, if not quite endless.
The more unusual flavours will appeal to those drinkers who continue to seek out the boldest tastes and aromas post-pandemic – mixed with miso, sesame and soy, seaweed gin suits drinkers accustomed to botanical infusions. For broader reach, additions of cucumber or lemon are creating refreshing seaweed cocktails and seaweed seltzers, while mixes with tangy blackberries are tempting drinkers to try sweet seaweed rums.
Contributing to efforts to improve the climate and delivering direct health benefits for drinkers, this growing tide of seaweed-themed drinks ticks a lot of boxes for consumers.
Consumers increasingly concerned by sourcing and sustainability are keen to use their purchases to make a difference, driving other key beverage trends too.
Keeping up the caffeine habit – coffee drinks trends
Coffee production is being impacted by the climate crisis, with tropical regions home to the hugely popular Arabica coffee plants some of the worst affected. So coffee lovers are turning to alternative beans out of both necessity and care.
To keep pace with the estimated two billion cups of coffee enjoyed globally every day, coffee producers have been looking to other plant species. Robusta coffee looks to be the solution.
As the name suggests, Robusta plants are somewhat tougher than Arabica plants, able to tolerate higher temperatures while growing in lower regions, and with greater resistance to pests. Robusta coffee is also naturally higher in caffeine, appealing to the most hardcore coffee drinkers. And recent improvements in cultivation processes mean Robusta coffee offers a smoother flavour with its own boldness of character, to no longer be regarded as the poor relation of Arabica coffee.
Another plant being eyed by producers as a future flavour favourite is Liberica. Like Robusta, this is more resistant to warmer climates, and Liberica coffee’s smoky flavour gives hints of chocolate and fruity florals, much like Arabica.
Familiar flavours aren’t key to all the latest drinks trends though – as pickle juices demonstrate.
Getting pickled – the boldest future flavour
Offering a sweet, vinegary taste, plenty of aroma and visual appeal that’ll make drinkers double-take, pickle beers, pickle cocktails and pickle hard seltzers have got people talking.
Pro-athletes first popularized pickle juice sports drinks for their health credentials – they quickly rehydrate drinkers by replenishing reserves of sodium and potassium while also supporting a healthy gut. Dill pickle juice drinks packed with vitamins to boost your immune system speak to the increased focus on health and wellness of recent years.
New converts to pickle drinks are likely to appreciate the irony it serves too – those electrolytes mean pickle beer boasts all the health benefits to ease hangovers. Pickle also suits the calorie-conscious cocktail drinkers as savoury pickle cocktails offer high taste and low sugar without straying too far from the norm. Taking inspiration from a classic, pickle vodka Dirty Martinis simply replace olive brine with pickle juice.
Offering fun flavours, health benefits and a nod to nature, pickle cocktails and beers sit across the key drinks trends drivers for 2022.