This past year was a year of many trends, and the drink menu was no exception to the rule. For my money, micro brews have been the biggest hit of 2017 and the last couple years in general. With so many local breweries of renown like Three Floyds, 18th Street Brewery, Devil’s Trumpet, Figure 8, Burn ‘Em Brewing, and more, there is no shortage of great tasting, locally made and unique beers. They have been the beverage of choice for many of my friends and I, and have revived the uniqueness that makes beer so great when you’re looking for something outside the mainstream beer selection.
Among some of the highlights in cocktails, the consensus among aficionados across the board generally included these tasty and potent potables:
10. Sazerac – This New Orleans originating beverage can be made with Cognac or Whiskey along with bitters and sugar, and in its strictest form can come in an absinthe-coated glass.
9. Mojito - Made with rum, lime juice, soda, cane sugar, mint, and ice, this fresh Cuban beverage has been a popular one for a number of years and probably won’t be fading any time soon.
8. Moscow Mule – Traditionally served in its iconic copper mug along with vodka, lime, ginger, and soda, this drink can warm you on the coldest of Siberian nights.
7. Margarita – Tequila’s favorite vehicle is undoubtedly the margarita. Served frozen or merely chilled, the drink includes tequila, fresh lime, and agave syrup. Personally, I like to make mine with some blended ice, tequila, grand marnier, and frozen lemonade concentrate.
6. Dry Martini – A classic that puts one in mind of a certain 007, it is made with gin, vermouth, and garnished with olive or citrus.
5. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and sugar, the Whisky Sour has been a classic for years and will likely remain so.
4. Manhattan – The Manhattan is another name most will not be surprised to see on the list. Made with spicy rye, sweet vermouth with Bulleit, Rittenhouse, and Maker's Mark.
3. Daiquiri - the most common rum cocktail, it is made with white rum, lime juice, sugar syrup, though it is often known for fruity mixtures as well.
2. Negroni – A drink that has really risen in the ranks from its native Italy, it is comprised of Campari, sweet vermouth, and gin.
1. Old Fashioned – Rye or bourbon whiskey, a sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and a large ice cube make the bourbon the simple king of cocktails that it has been.
I also spoke with Jennifer Leeson of Industrial Revolution in Valparaiso who shared her thoughts on the most popular beverages of the year among restaurant goers.
“The biggest thing is definitely the microbrews. They are popping up everywhere and the ability of these breweries to make these exotic flavors and smells is amazing. It’s one of the big things we’ve captured in the 16 tap handles we have. We do as much local as possible with places like Aftermath Cidery, Three Floyds, Burn Em’ Brewing, Devil’s Trumpet, and Figure 8,” said Leeson.
For 2018, Industrial Revolution is also trying to bring back some retro drinks with their Pre-Prohibition drink menu, which will be released some time early this year.
At Fiddlehead Restaurant in Michigan City, Aaron O’Reilly noticed some trends that stood out among the rest as well.
“Our biggest sellers this year are by far Mules. We do Moscow mules with vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, and hibiscus bitters. We also have a Mexican mule with tequila and orange bitters, Irish mule with whiskey, and angostura bitters, and a dark and stormy mule with spiced rum,” said O’Reilly.
Jung Lee of Indiana Beverage knows a thing or two about what people are buying and saw a lot of trends coming on the horizon based on 2017.
“Two beer trends I see this year, are more beers being released in cans and breweries launching more new products in the hard cider and alcoholic sparkling water categories,” said Lee.
There are several new brands coming out with beer in can package only:
Lagunitas Little Sumpin Easy 12pk cans
Samuel Adams Sam 76, Samuel Adams Rebel Anytime IPA 15pk, Samuel Adams New England IPA
Sierra Nevada Hazy Little Thing IPA and Otra Vez
Success of War Pigs, only available in cans (and draft)
Sun King also only available in cans (and draft) including their new SK IPA
New Holland can options including Extra Time, Tangerine Space Machine, and Passion Blaster
Pabst American Pale Ale
Two Hats Lime and Two Hats Pineapple
Angry Orchard Rosé
Truly Spiked and Sparkling
White Claw Hard Seltzer
Henry’s Hard Sparkling Water
Arnold Palmer Spiked Half&Half