Drink Trends March 2024

March 13, 2024

Drink Trends March 2024

Nostalgia, NoLo, customisation and convenience are all influencing the latest drinks market trends, including retro floats, low-ABV sherry cocktails, and healthy golden milks. New launches reflect this too, with new sugar-free fizzy drinks and returning pop flavours as well as reduced ABV RTDs.

 To the top – the rise of Floats

Ice Cream Soda

Drinks evoking nostalgia and comfort continue to prove popular through times of widespread economic and global turmoil.

This month’s trending drink, the classic American float – or ice cream soda – also ticks the boxes for indulgent but affordable little luxuries, fresh serves, international inspiration, convenience, and customisation.

Retro and classic creations are the familiar favourites mainly gracing menus. Blue raspberry or bubble gum flavours offer visual appeal and childhood nostalgia, as do classic coke floats, cream sodas, cherry sodas, and root beer floats. The latter are being given modern twists too, like craft sodas or by using syrups.

Sherbet ice cream float

Syrups are being used alongside sherbets and sorbets too, offering a fresher and more versatile base to traditional ice cream. These also allow for boozy creations, like the G&T berry sorbet floats and mimosa sorbet floats being shared on socials. Sangria, wine, and even lager, cider and stout floats can also be made using sorbets.

Twists on the base ingredient can also create lower calorie, low sugar, or dairy-free floats too. Seemingly functional floats use alternatives like sparkling water in fruit slushies or almond milk with whey protein.

Global flavours are helping to refresh this retro drinks trend too. This includes Asian fruits like lychee, yuzu, and nashi pear as well as spices like chamoy and tajin, taking inspiration from the Mexican agua fresca.

Seasonal Ice Cream Floats

Seasonal flavours will keep this new drink trend current year-round. Cupid’s floats for Valentine’s Day, and apple cider or pumpkin spiced rum floats for Fall, all make the cool drink a winter go-to too.

 Sherry baby – the potential of Sherry cocktails

sherry cocktail

Sherry cocktails have come full circle. Once a staple tipple in Prohibition-era cocktails, they’re now a go-to ingredient in low and no-alcohol cocktail culture.

The fortified wine’s lower ABV and variety of characteristics – it can be rich, dry, nutty, briny or umami in flavour – set good stall for sherry in the NoLo market.

Dry sherries are already being used as an alternative base in boozy classics like Martinis, while sweet sherries can complement bitter, savoury, or smoked notes in complex cocktails.

Classic sherry cocktails can be found on many drink menus already, offering kitsch-feeling creations often with a modern twist. The Sherry Cobbler – simply sherry served over citrus, sugar, and crushed ice – can be elevated with rums and marmalade flavours, for example. And the Bamboo, Adonis and Sherry Coladas are being enhanced with craft ingredients or sherries celebrating the drink’s Spanish origins.

The Andalucian-conceived Rebujito could now push sherry to be the new summer spritz ingredient. This spritz, combining sherry and lemonade, is a lower ABV cocktail but can also be upped a notch by replacing the lemonade with Cava.

Sherry pearls

Alternative forms of sherry are on offer now too, including foams, syrups, pearls, and vinegars – Scottish Mixology showed off its salted sherry caramel syrup on socials.

Fruity and floral sherry cocktails are another trendy twist for the wine, with its flavours pairing well with apple and strawberry, as well as cherry blossom, violet, and rose. Spicy flavours like warming pumpkin, cardamom or saffron and rich notes like coffee and chocolate can pair with rich sherries too – we’re expecting to see pumpkin-spiced sherry cocktails on Autumn menus.

 Golden age – the rise of Golden milk

golden milk

Golden milk is taking the top spot for drinkers keen on customisable, healthy creations with aesthetic appeal.

The Indian drink of turmeric-infused milk is nothing new. Traditionally known as haldi doodh, it has been enjoyed by health-conscious drinkers for some time, but its recent resurgence as a new drinks trend is all thanks to TikTok.

Its golden glow makes picture perfect drinks to share on socials, with baristas and influencers alike creating golden lattes, mochas, chais and smoothies. Ready-to-drink and powder blend Golden milks are available too – Healthxcel’s Organic Turmeric Calm powder blend won in the UK Organic Market Awards last year.

Golden milk’s customisable, adaptable nature and health credentials appeal too.

Its turmeric base can help to reduce inflammation and support immune and digestive health.

This earthy, base flavour can be enhanced with spices like ginger, cinnamon or black pepper, as well as cardamom, lemon myrtle or allspice, and tropical fruit flavours like pomegranate or blood orange. While cow’s milk is the traditional base, coconut milk and almond milk carry these flavours just as well.

New launches – flavoured fizzy drinks & low ABV RTDs

Tango mango

In the UK, Tango has launched a limited-edition sugar-free flavour, Tango Mango, while the Coca-Cola Lemon has been reintroduced for sale after 18 years away.

Coca Cola spiced

Over in the US, Coca-Cola’s new Spiced drinks blend the signature taste with raspberry and spiced flavours. And Scoot has launched as a new frozen lemonade. The brand’s easy-serve pouches offer original, strawberry, and peach flavours. Dunkin’ has a new launch for US markets too. Its SPARKD energy drinks combine caffeine with vitamins and minerals in Berry Burst and Peach Sunshine flavours.

Back in the UK, two new alcoholic drinks will appeal to the NoLo target market. Fosters has launched its Proper Shandy – a 3% ABV RTD. And Absolut and Sprite have teamed up, combining their drinks to create a 5% ABV RTD.

Set drinks market trends

We are leaders in the science, art and innovation of drinks flavours at Simpson’s Beverages. Staying across the latest drinks market trends, we use our knowledge and expertise to ensure our customers are first movers in their categories.  Chat to our team about your next project today.

Image source: Trendhub The Food People 2024

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