retro cocktail revival bar trend

Retro Cocktail Revival Brings Nostalgia to Growing Bar Trend

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Bitters are back in the bar. Drinks your grandparents’ generation (and older) enjoyed have been rising in fashion since the mid-2000s, with a restaurant and bar trend towards a retro cocktail revival.

Serving Up the Cocktail Revival Trend

New York City, ever the trendsetter, seems to have launched the new wave of throwback drinks, and on-trend restaurants and bars across the country caught on. England is another one of the countries riding the retro cocktail trend.

Beer and wine have found rivals in resuscitated cocktails. A survey of 200 bartenders put bitters as the number three trend in spirits and onsite barrel-aged drinks as the top trend of the year. Sixty-five percent of the bartenders surveyed said traditional cocktails were a perennial favorite.

Women Supporting Scotch

Another sign of the “old is new again” trend? Female members now make up 13 percent of the Scotch Malt Whiskey Society, compared to two percent when the organization started two decades ago.
retro cocktail revival bar trend whisky society

Where to Find Retro Cocktails

Retro drinks are being served up at speakeasy-style places, new American bars and restaurants, and places where the drink menu stands out much louder than any dance music. And classic cocktails are hooking a younger audience to whom they are still a novelty – the 20-40-somethings with enough income to plunk down $10-15 per drink or nurse a glass for a few hours.

What’s Topping the Charts?

A 2012 survey of 1,000 Americans showed that the most popular drink was tied between the martini and the Mahattan. Old Fashioneds came in third, and the gin and tonic was fourth.
retro cocktail revival bar trend

Other retro revival drinks? The Sidecar, Sazerac, Pisco Sour, Campari drinks like the Negroni, bitters-based drinks, and rye whiskey, the latter two of which have come back big time.

Want to go really “retro”? Shared punch bowls at restaurants and bars (something the British brought back from India in the 1600s) and huge blocks of ice used to chip off smaller drink ice chunks are other big restaurant and bar drink trends gathering steam.

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