Retro cocktails make a comeback

Retro cocktails are making a major comeback – think ’70s favourites such as Blue Lagoons, Pina Coladas and Mai Tais – reflecting a post-pandemic desire for fun experiences.

Topping the list of feel-good drinks is the Pina Colada. The drink, invented in a luxury hotel bar in Puerto Rico in the 1950s for wealthy tourists looking for a taste of the Caribbean, is now Australia’s third most popular cocktail in the on-premise, after Mojitos and Margaritas.

Pina Coladas are popping up on all the best cocktail lists around Australia. The Osbourne Hotel in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, is even celebrating National Pina Colada Day on July 10. The pub is mixing things up a bit, with variations on the classic, such as the Strawberry Colada and Ginger Colada.

At Merivale’s The Quarterdeck in Narooma, the cocktail menu is crammed with kitsch favourites all year round, ranging from Banana Daquiris to Mai Tais, Zombies and Pina Coladas.

As CGA’s OPUS survey noted last week, cocktails have been gaining traction in Australia and are one of the categories most likely to be drunk more than last year by Australian consumers. In fact, a huge 28% of Australians say they are drinking more cocktails in bars and restaurants than last year. The experts behind the bar are also confident about the future success of the category, with 59% of bartenders stating that they believe that cocktails are in the best position to thrive in 2022 – the number one choice among all beverage categories.

But why are cocktails so in tune with the returning on-premise visitor? The latest OPUS data shows that the main driver behind ordering a cocktail is that consumers are “looking for a treat” (45% of category drinkers). 

Looking at Australia’s favourite cocktails, CGA said Mojitos and Margaritas are leading the way with 24% of Australian cocktail drinkers enjoying these serves, but the Pina Colada has surged into third place (22%).

Queensland hard seltzer brand Hard FIZZ also reports that its new limited edition flavour – Pina Colada FIZZ – is a winner with customers. Currently only on tap at FIZZ HQ, there are plans to release it nationally.

“I can’t tell you how many times people have told me they love pina colada FIZZ so it’s well on the way to being canned and stocked in bottle shops,” Hard FIZZ chief brewer Paul Wootton said.

International retro cocktail trend

The Pina Colada now also the UK’s third most popular cocktail, after Negronis and Mojitos, according to a new survey.

The survey by Drinks House 247 found the Pina Colada was most popular among those aged between 25 and 44, and 55 and over.

UK supermarket chain Waitrose’s latest drinks report has revealed similar results. Searches on the supermarket’s website for Pina Colada are up by 40% from last year.

They’re a firm favourite in the US too. Bruno Mars entered The Ellen Show to toast host Ellen DeGeneres with two Pina Coladas on her second last show. Meanwhile, Kylie Jenner posted a pic of herself sipping one on Instagram last month.

Nobody tell Kylie that Pina Coladas contain as much sugar as eight Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts and as many calories as a Big Mac, OK …

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