Capital celebrations & carbonated creations
Drink trends November 2022 include London Cocktail Week and a range of soda trends are the top talking points across the drinks industry.
October’s annual London Cocktail Week showcased and celebrated the most innovative and creative drinks that venues and mixologists have to offer. Globally, soda drinks are enjoying their own innovations, being fused with other drink types, or reimagined to reach new audiences.
Causing a stir – London Cocktail Week
Sharing was a key ingredient for this year’s London Cocktail Week.
The annual event was hosted across more than 250 of the capital’s venues over 11 days in October. It saw pop-ups, takeovers, and masterclasses for mixologists and drinkers alike to share their favourite drinks and try out new venues and experiences.
Immersive experiences showed the range of social and cultural influences behind beverages trends.
A foraging event, finding wild ingredients to make cocktails minus the food miles, and a riverbank clean gave the partying some purpose through nods to sustainability. Sustainable cocktails were showcased too, using ‘waste’ or leftover ingredients, such as a banana peel-infused rum cocktail.
Ever-popular international influences were shared too. Tequila and mezcal-based Mexican cocktails graced lots of the menus, as well as chilli-infused classic cocktails. Japanese cocktails also featured heavily, following the re-emergence of sake as a trendy spirit. Makers prioritised Japanese culture as highly as the cocktail flavours when showcasing these. Many also shared umesha cocktails, made using the traditional Japanese liqueur, derived from ume plums.
Some bars also drew on the popularity of these two cultures to pair them, fusing Mexican cocktails and Japanese cocktails by combining tequila or agave with sake.
Classic cocktails and creations celebrating ‘old school’ styles and flavours were just as popular across the event. Retro cocktails featured flourishes of candyfloss, sprinkles and sherbets – all done in style, of course. Classic cocktails were elevated with newer or trendier flavour additions. Blood orange flavour cocktails were among the most common, as the citrus complements the flavours of spirits like tequila and whisky.
Other bold flavours enjoying a ‘moment’ across the event included chocolate – with chocolate bitters, cacao liqueurs and a rum and chocolate masterclass all featuring. Elsewhere, drinkers enjoyed aromatic lavender cocktails, as fashion trends for soft purple shades have influenced floral drink trends this year.
All in a fizz – soda trends
The soda category has stood the test of time. It has evolved over the years, keeping pace with wider soft drink trends.
In this time, the lines between different carbonated soft drinks have blurred. Sodas, tonics and sparkling waters increasingly share similarities as producers develop new flavours or alternative marketing approaches.
The most recent soda trends see the drink merged with other categories. Health is the main driver for change here, as sodas offer drinkers low sugar, high functionality beverages.
‘Better-for-you’ sodas boast low sugar, suiting health trends and working to the new HFSS regulations in the UK. Functional fizzy sodas use added nootropics, probiotics, adaptogens or vitamins.
Arguably the most extreme healthy sodas are inspired by sour drinks. Bold drinkers gain gut-friendly probiotics from tart tasting apple cider vinegar-based sodas.
Sustainability-focused soft drink trends are also influencing soda trends, with producers sourcing ingredients locally and venues developing sodas in-house to limit packaging requirements.
Venues around the world have been creating homemade twists on classic sodas in this way. In America, one venue has created tamarind soda, using homemade cola syrup with the tart tropical fruit in a simple base of soda.
In another drive for innovation, Pepsi has emulated the beer category’s successes by developing drinks to pair with certain foods. In Japan, it has crafted Karaage Senyo Cola, a crisp flavoured soda to complement the richness of ‘karaage’ deep-fried dishes.
Pepsi is no stranger to diversifying its drinks. It launched the world’s first nitro sodas earlier this year, inspired by nitrogen-infused beers and coffees, to offer a smoother taste from nitrogen’s smaller bubbles.
Rivals Coca Cola have looked to the ‘meta’ digital world to set new soda trends. Its limited-edition releases – Starlight, Byte and Dreamworld – are promoted based on modern-day concepts, rather than typical ingredients lists.
The continued popularity of retro soft drinks is also helping sodas. Healthy reworkings of classic retro soft drinks, like root beer, cream soda and ginger beer, allow sodas to straddle multiple soft drinks trends.
Flavour remains at the heart of most soda trends of course, from fruity fizz to retro soft drinks.
Flavourful sodas and tonics also help drinks to move beyond being ‘just’ mixers for spirits. Leading brands like Fever Tree have released flavoured tonic waters with fresh new ingredients good enough to enjoy alone, including Fever Tree’s clementine tonic, and London Essence’s pink grapefruit.
Drink Trends November 2022 – inspiration to set the next trend?
To develop your own sodas, mixers or pre-made cocktails, get in touch with us. We are leaders in the science, art and innovation of drink flavours.
For more ideas and inspiration, check out our other blogs and trend reports.
Images Trendhub The Food People 2022