The latest drink trends are all about aesthetics, science, and full flavour.
Iconic and social media-friendly aesthetics are behind the rise of cherry-flavoured drinks and the TikTok drinking trend. And scientific techniques are being deployed for both new cocktail creations and ever-more sustainable drinks packaging.
Read on for the latest Drink Trends October 2023:
Cherry on top – cherry-flavoured drinks
With an iconic aesthetic and broad flavour profile it’s little wonder cherry is on top.
Cherry-flavoured drinks are on the rise thanks to the versatility of the fruit’s earthy, sweet-tart flavour. Interest has been fuelled by the popularity of pink drinks and nostalgia-inducing flavours too.
Simple, standalone cherry is common in non-alcoholic drinks, like sodas, seltzers and energy drinks. And named styles like black, sour or maraschino are elevating alcoholic drinks such as Judge Jenkins’ maraschino cherry spiced rum. These varieties suit spirits including gin, whisky, rum, vermouth and sake, creating a range of bright and light, or dark and unusual cocktails.
Cherry’s broad flavour profile allows it to pair well with a range of other flavours, including fruits and florals to soften its tartness, richer dessert flavours to enhance its sweetness, and its earthy notes suiting herbal additions.
These rich flavours suit all occasions too. Luscombe launched a cherry and rose bubbly to celebrate the King’s Coronation earlier this year, while Café Nero’s new cherry and vanilla iced latte has year-round appeal. Cherry can be a great addition to coffees, sharing flavours with certain coffee bean varieties, and allowing extra flavours like chocolate, caramel, or almond in too.
As a natural accompaniment to apple, it’s little wonder cherry ciders prove popular, with cherry as the lead flavour or paired with berries for extra sweetness. Some brewers are even trying cherry beers too, with a retro cherry soda feel to them. And though cherry soda is about as retro as it gets, new creations are combining this with new trends too, using natural ingredients.
New cocktail techniques
Innovative and inventive ways of creating cocktails are being dreamt up by mixologists around the world.
As London Cocktail Week approaches (celebrated October 12th – 22nd) expect to see or hear of some of these new techniques making their way into the mainstream.
A number of techniques bring science to the bar for technical processes and impressive results.
For a sophisticated but kitsch result, foaming drinks top the bill. Foam-topped drinks – made using ISI guns, cream whippers or even helium for the most experiential drinks – suit the drinks trends for playful but affordable luxury.
Cryo concentration sees mixologists freezing liquids and removing their water content to deliver concentrated flavours from the sugars, acids or fats left. Concentrated flavour can also come from oleo-saccharum (Latin for oil-sugar), a revived technique that sees waste fruit peels or skins pickled in sugar to create a sweet syrup. And distilled drinks can offer venues completely unique takes on cocktails.
Many of these new techniques are simpler, though, coming from the culinary world to either elevate flavour or simply add exciting aesthetic appeal.
Suiting wider Asian cuisine trends, sushi rice is being used to smooth out the palates of cocktails while also enhancing flavour. To add extra zing to drinks, acid adjusting sees acidification powders like malic, citric, or succinic acids, enhancing natural acidifiers in citrusy drinks.
Hello hydration – TikTok drinking trend
Hydration is high on all agendas. Growing understanding and appreciation of the many health benefits good hydration offers are fuelling this wellness and drinks trend. That, and TikTok too
High quality hydration supports everything from energy levels and gut health to clear cognition and complexions, with many waters containing additional functional ingredients to further enhances this.
For simple, at-home hydration, TikTok is filled with inspiration. The TikTok drinking trend has seen influencers sharing how standard kitchen cupboard items like lemon, ginger, apple cider vinegar or salt can create flavourful, all-natural waters.
And there’s even a song to encourage adequate water intake. The catchy ‘beverage goblin song’ pushes the three-drink theory, to have multiple different drinks to hand.
This drinks market trend extends beyond the drinks themselves, too, to encompass the vessels they’re drunk from. Smart bottles even help drinkers track their intake, interacting with apps to send reminders or deploying in-built self-cleaning or water purifying systems. The Stanley Tumbler is the must-have receptacle according to TikTok.
These refillable options suit the eco-conscious drinkers, concerned by single-use or microplastics, as do the increasing numbers of watercoolers popping up in workplaces and public spaces.
Remove, replace, recycle – sustainable drinks packaging
Removing and reducing harmful substances and materials is the key to a number of new sustainable drinks packaging drives.
Fossil-free plastic bottles are expected to be on shelves by 2024. Made using waste and residues like used cooking oil, rather than the oil and gas typically used to make plastic bottles, these are made possible by new technologies from Finland-based Neste and will be used by Suntory.
Another sustainable drinks packaging partnership, between Transcend Packaging and manufacturer Kluber, is removing hydrocarbons from paper straws, using food-grade, sustainable ingredients instead.
Flawsome has a new carton for its juices, using paper wrapping for its paper straws to cut out 252kg of plastic from its packaging overall.
Coca Cola is also cutting out plastic. Its 1.5ltr multipacks now have sturdy cardboard holders and paper wrap to hold packs together, instead of shrink wrap. Already in use in Austria, this is said to prevent 200 tonnes of plastic use each year.
Green and growing – canned drinks
The benefits of some packaging types extend beyond just environmental gains too.
The canned alcoholic drinks market is forecast to achieve significant growth globally in the coming years. Future Market Insights estimates it could grow from its existing $17.35bn value to $76.55bn by 2033.
An annual growth rate of 16% is predicted thanks to canned drinks offering convenience, portability, and, typically, a more premium product, as well as recyclability.
Set new drinks market trends
At Simpsons we’re at the forefront of emerging drinks trends. As leaders in the science, art and innovation of drinks flavours we use our know-how to keep our customers as frontrunners or first movers in their categories.
Read our blogs for more insights and inspiration.
Image source: Trendhub The Food People 2023