The latest Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report has forecast the key trends impacting cocktail consumption and the spirits business in 2023, with bold flavours, retro creations and low-alcohol options top of mind with consumers.
The report is created in collaboration with The Future Laboratory (TFL) and draws from external research and Bacardi-led consumer surveys and bartender insights to share the newfound undertones that will impact everything from tastes and timings to venues and occasions that people anticipate embracing in the coming year.
“As 2023 arrives, we see people adapt to the shifts around them, and the onus is on brands to find innovative ways to captivate and delight their audiences,” said Brenda Fiala, Global Vice President of Strategy, Insights & Analytics at Bacardi.
“As cocktail culture flourishes, people are seeking inspiration from the new flavours, sensations, and experiences they’re seeing in bars and restaurants and using these to deepen their enjoyment in the creation of cocktails.”
Here are the macro-trends defining how, what, where, and why consumers will be sipping spirits in 2023.
Consumers will be turning away from convention, instead seeking new experiences in their drinking occasions. As a result, we will see fresh ingredients and fun and frivolous flavours come to the fore as people experiment at home and out in traditional and new cocktail consumption venues.
This trend is already in play, as evidenced by data from the Bacardi Consumer Survey conducted in October 2022, where the daiquiri, margarita, and bloody mary were among the cocktails people most frequently ordered and created globally.
The desire for experimentation is seeing the popularity of cocktails soar, with 37% of people surveyed globally now making more cocktails at home versus 2020 and more than 30% drinking more cocktails than wine and beer.
According to Bacardi, 2023 will unleash an era where people will redefine when and where they celebrate and with which cocktails and flavours.
Hybrid working has resulted in nearly 40% of people in the US and UK choosing to enjoy their spirits and cocktails earlier in the evening. This shift is leading to a rise in the orders for spicy drinks, with tequila and vodka-based cocktails finding affinity with bolder flavours, with ingredients like jalapeño and tabasco.
Bitter flavours also remain popular, with more than 30% of bartenders looking to ingredients such as coffee and aromatic bitters, and to ferments including kombucha and kefir, according to the Bacardi Global Brand Ambassador Survey 2022.
In 2023, Bacardi predicts consumers will seek out cocktails that transport them back to better times, with a recent Mintel study revealing that consumers aged 25-44 are most likely to enjoy things that remind them of the past. People will seek cocktails and flavours that transport their memories back in time, enjoying classic sips like the Martini, Negroni, Highball and Old Fashioned, but elevated with a twist.
The digital realm has proved advantageous for drink technology, providing unique paths to discovery, creation, and enjoyment. 2023 will see the continued acceleration of on-demand drinks and experiences thanks to the convenience of digital commerce. Of US respondents, 31% plan on increasing the use of online delivery services to deliver cocktails to their door in the next year.
With their intrinsic openness, digital spaces have the potential to create new paths to drinks education and experimentation, with forward-thinking brands using gamification strategies to make such concepts even more engaging. Technology research firm Gartner predicts that by 2026 25% of people will spend at least one hour a day in the metaverse to work, shop, socialize or consume entertainment, and spirits brands will continue to explore web3 experiences as a way of deepening desire with existing audiences and attracting new ones.
Minimalism is emerging as a trend in premium venues where the focus is on quality ingredients that shine in simpler serves. 72% of bartenders say they’re seeing the most premiumization within tequila, followed by single malts, aged rum, and mezcal.
The popularity of rum-based cocktails is driving growth and premiumization across this spirit segment, with the Bacardi Global Brand Ambassador Survey 2022 revealing that 32% of bartenders expect to see increased premiumization in aged rums over the next year.
As the mindful drinking movement matures, consumers will expect similar values from the brands they interact with, encouraging ongoing moves toward sustainability and community-building within the industry. Globally, more than half of respondents stated that recyclable packaging was crucial to their liquor and spirit considerations.
This mindset also expands to alcohol consumption, with a new category of NoLo (no and low alcohol) drinkers emerging. Those who enjoy NoLo drinks in place of full strength on certain occasions, or even the same night, will continue to grow in numbers. Interest in NoLo will also expand in new markets outside the UK and US, with 57% of respondents globally stating they will participate in Dry January and/or Sober October in 2023.
Top 20 globally sought-after cocktails
- VODKA SODA
- BLOODY MARY
- GIN AND TONIC
- PIÑA COLADA
- WHISKY HIGHBALL
- RUM AND COKE
- ESPRESSO MARTINI
- TEQUILA SUNRISE
- BLUE HAWAIIAN
- LONG ISLAND ICED TEA
- WHISKY SOUR
- DARK & STORMY
- IRISH COFFEE
Download the complete Bacardi Cocktail Trends Report 2023.