Alongside increasingly artful gastronomy, craft cocktails are shaking up the dining experience— When it comes to modern mixology, we are returning to our roots in our ingredient choices and base recipes while simultaneously spiraling out in all sorts of strange and delightful directions.
True art pays tribute to those that came before while bringing something strange, fresh, and new to the table. This can be seen in both the beards of those behind the bar and the masterpieces they serve.
History in the (Cocktail) Making
It is evident in our current “craft cocktail” trajectory that we are both yearning for the past and looking towards the future— In terms of the former, historical influences are popping up in our palates, as well as all over the bar scene:
- Patrons prefer syrup, mixer, and garnish ingredients that come from the ground…or were at least grown nearby and have been delicately hand-crafted from scratch in-house.
- Bartenders of the highest prestige are openly modeling their recipes after early mixologists of the nineteenth century.
- An increasing number of drink venues are striving to emulate saloons and speakeasies in their ambiance.
Behind the Bar — A Battle of Creativity
A breakdancer can’t win a battle without both strongly representing the fundamentals of the style and shocking his audience by shaking it up with his own personal creativity… The same goes for a bartender.
To truly stand out and win over all taste buds in attendance, he must exhibit a strong foundation of how a cocktail should be while also surprising the tongue with something new.
To win loyalty and top-tier tips, he has to twist up the textures, flavors, and aesthetics of classic drinks without stirring up dismay from those who hold to original recipes like a religion.
Modern Mixology is a Matter of Alchemy
Cocktails have crossed the boundary of simple creativity and are now becoming full-fledged science experiments. The alchemical aspects of mixology are becoming so prominent that we might as well be searching for an elixir of life…or life of the party, at least.
Through intuitive hypotheses and intelligent experimentation with botanicals, liqueurs, syrups, sodas, and more, certain bars are coming close to a formula for sure-fire ecstasy—especially at brunch time.
Beyond Bloody Marys — Brunch is Getting a Makeover
Brunch has become a modern favorite, providing a morning-to-midday break from the mad society we live in and replacing it with utter serenity for an hour or two.
This has swung the focus of many mixologists toward formulating cocktails that are specifically meant to add more bliss to the mix…stimulating conversation, keeping energy levels up, and complementing the classic yet totally unique atmosphere they aim to cultivate.
Lake Effect’s mimosa bar in Salt Lake City is a spot-on example of alchemical brunch success— Offering a synergistic balance between the standard mimosa’s tried-and-true simplicity and wonderfully weird whole ingredient, taste bud tantalizing flavors…they turned a classic meal into an embodiment of the contemporary craft cocktail movement.