Labour Day Culinary Cocktails

By / Wine + Drinks / September 6th, 2009 / 1

Lemongrass, basil and ginger are moving from the kitchen counter and onto the bar counter for summer and into fall 2009. According to a recent survey of 1600 chefs conducted by The National Restaurant Association, 33% of those surveyed said the “culinary cocktail” is the number-one concept for 2009. Thanks to professional bartenders who approach drink-making as a chef does a food recipe.

Aside from culinary cocktails, other alcohol beverages are also very trendy. If you’ve ever had a drink containing vitamins, super-fruits (like blueberries) and vegetables, you’re among the many Canadians who have consumed a functional cocktail. 26% of surveyed chefs believe these health bombs will be hugely popular. Another up-and-coming trend is the food and spirit pairing. Wine isn’t the only thing to complement and enhance your food. 23% of chefs said food-spirit pairings will rule the alcohol scene in 2009 and 2010.

Master mixologist, Gavin MacMillan of Bartender One agrees: “We’re really excited to see Canadians are willing to experiment with new combinations of exotic fruits, herbs and spices. Even the trendsetting Mojito which was a big hit last summer is having a renaissance as bartenders across the country are creating new mixes like muddled jalapeno and watermelon Mojitos. By simply adding fresh lemongrass to a traditional Mojito you can create a whole new taste sensation.”

Finding the right balance for such drinks – the perfect marriage of a flavourful spirit with sweet and bitter components – means that the new concoctions are often bolder than traditional cocktails. Today’s cocktails are often shaken with lots of freshly squeezed juices, nectars, whole fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs.

“Canadians love herbs like lemongrass for its fresh citrus flavour, and modern bartenders and mixologists are showcasing how to pair it and a variety of other ingredients with spirits to create drinks that really are good enough to eat,” said Lisa Jazwinski, Group Brand Manager at Bacardi Canada. “I’m looking forward to seeing how creative our Canadian bartenders will get this summer and fall.

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