Short of enlisting a crystal ball, surveying consumers and bartenders is a good way to get ahead of next year’s drinking trends. Whether you’re an established bar owner or spirits producer, or considering jumping into the beverage space next year, it’s helpful to understand the trends driving decision making. For everyone else, its just fun to see what people are drinking and care about.
Bacardi Limited released its fifth annual Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report, which anticipates the key trends that will define cocktail culture and the spirits business in 2024. It includes Bacardi-led research, plus external analysis, interviews with bartenders, and insights from strategic consultancy The Future Laboratory.
Top Bar Calls for 2024
Based on a global consumer survey, the below cocktails are expected to be the 20 most popular drinks at bars in 2024. The global influence is seen in picks like Gin Lemonade and Vodka Lemonade, which are common orders in the U.K. Interestingly, mainstay cocktails like the Old-Fashioned, Manhattan, and Negroni are nowhere to be found.
|1. Gin & Tonic
|13. Irish Coffee
|4. Bloody Mary
|14. Vodka Soda
|5. Whiskey and Coke
|6. Piña Colada
|16. Espresso Martini
|8. Rum and Coke
|18. Tequila Sunrise
|9. Gin Lemonade
|19. Whiskey Highball
|10. Vodka Lemonade
|20. Tequila Soda
Top Ingredients Bartenders Want to Experiment With
Bartenders chose these nine items as those they most want to play with in 2024, from top-level picks like zero-waste ingredients, to more granular wish-lists like flavored tonics.
- Zero-waste ingredients
- Ferments (kombucha, kefir, etc.)
- Aromatic and flavored bitters
- Flavored sodas
- Herbs and herbal flavors
- Flavored tonics
The Year of Sustainability
Sustainability has been top of mind for several years, but the focus on better products and reducing waste is expected to be even more prevalent in 2024, both at bars and from spirits producers. These are the top sustainability issues that survey respondents want to address next year.
- Reducing single-use plastic
- Recyclable packaging
- Helping to preserve clean water
- Buying local
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Buying sustainably sourced ingredients
Macro Drinking Trends for 2024
Per the report, these are the macro trends driving next year’s drinks market, from an increased focus on no- and low-ABV drinks to AI’s impact on beverage experiences.
1. Limited Libations. Next-gen drinkers are embracing a “less but better” approach, continuing to support the ongoing premiumization era for key spirits, liquors, and NoLo (non-alcoholic and low-ABV) categories. Consumers are seeking small luxuries and elevated lifestyle products, including limited-edition bottles that prioritize storytelling. Simultaneously, the NoLo category continues to evolve and embodies choice. IWSR research shows that almost half of NoLo consumers choose NoLo options on certain occasions, and full strength options on others.
2. Innovative Aging & Blending. 2024 will usher in an era of innovation for dark, aged spirits, with brands embracing unique aging methods and novel flavor combinations. Distillers are venturing into uncharted territory, discovering new sources of innovation in the expanding category, with bold and unexpected pairings and regional experimentation. yields spicy, fruity, and zesty profiles in innovative formats.
3. Escapism Elixirs. Cocktail culture is transporting consumers across destinations, countries, and even eras. In 2024, the link between drinks and destinations will deepen, with classic cocktails and European flavors whisking drinkers from the beach to the bar. This evolution isn’t just about where but also when consumers enjoy drinks. As for letting loose, non-traditional venues are on the rise, with Bacardi research indicating a shift away from nightclubs to festivals as the new hub for revelry.
4. Notes of Nature. In the coming year, consumers will reframe their relationship to the natural world, impacting where they spend their time, the brands they support, and what they consume. With a resurgence in next-gen outdoor activities and a growing emphasis on sustainability, drinks brands are redefining their connection to the environment through intentional ingredients and eco-friendly practices. Expect to see brands and bartenders take a holistic approach to nature and its flavors by harnessing sustainably sourced aromatics, florals, botanicals, and oils to create cocktail experiences uniquely rooted in nature.
5. Tech-Enhanced Tastes. Digital advancements are inciting change in what, where, and how drinks are enjoyed, and driving new routes to personalization, brand experience, and community. As consumers increasingly seek personalized brand interactions, AI is introducing new opportunities for tailored cocktail experiences, accessible anytime and anywhere.
You can view the full report here.