With so many events and tastings, it can be tough to identify the trends at Tales of the Cocktail, the world’s largest spirits industry event. The annual conference can be a harbinger for what’s next in cocktails. Here’s a roundup of some key takeaways from this year:
- Pisco’s popularity continues: The Peruvian spirit made a splash at last year’s Tales. In 2017, Tales featured more brands and Pisco-centered events, including a luncheon sponsored by the Trade Commission of Peru, where Tony Abou-Ganim and Dale DeGroff collaborated on their first cocktail together, a beguiling mixture of lychee, strawberry, Pisco, and Champagne.
- London, London, London: The urbane capital city took home numerous Spirited Awards, including the top honor of Best Bar in the World, which went to the Mondrian Hotel’s Dandelyan. Also in London, Swift won Best New International Cocktail Bar.
- Scent matters: Atomizers filled with perfume-like scents from flowers and citrus made regular appearances at makeshift bars and spirited dinners. Such touches took the experience beyond taste and looks.
- The cocktail was presented as spectacle: Last year, the trend at Tales was back to the basics, with few ingredients and simple presentations. This year, brands and bars, like DC’s Barmini, took a more theatrical approach, delighting participants color-changing gin and smoking cocktails. Spectacle extended to barware, most notably Absolut House of Elyx’s show-stealing copper drinking vessels shaped like forest creatures.
We're of course proud of our drinks and our pretty-as-hell bar, but this wonderful little nod is for the huge number of people that throw passion & hard work into making Dandelyan what it is. Of course, any "Number 1", or "World's Best" isn't definitive, but we're really proud of the culture, honesty and family that goes into Team Lyan and are very appreciative of this award to celebrate that. Huge thanks to everyone who's helped create, helped maintain, and have supported us for this!
- Sustainability surfaced as a major focus: Aside from Tales’ first-ever Sustainability Summit, powerhouse brand portfolio, William Grant and Sons, chose resource-friendly vegetables as a focus of one of its Spirited Dinners, The Future is Vegetables at Napoleon House. While the traveling project, Trash Tiki with Ford’s Gin, aimed to educate bar owners and slings about ways to reduce waste and repurpose cocktail waste.
- Gin is in again: Perhaps unsurprising since 2017 was the year of the martini at Tales, gin kept reappearing, with debut brands like Victoria Distillers’ Empress 1908 gin. Meanwhile, major brand portfolio, Diageo, put Tanqueray in the spotlight with Snoop Dogg headlining its party with his trademark gin and juice.
- Ann Tuennerman and host, Michael Ian Black, at the annual Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards Josh Brasted
- Tanqueray brand ambassador Snoop Dogg performs at the Tales of the Cocktail Diageo party Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images for Diageo
- Tequila Exotico at Tales of the Cocktail Josh Brasted
- Tony Abou-Ganim and Dale DeGroff collaborated on their first cocktail together, a beguiling mixture of lychee, strawberry, Pisco, and Champagne. Colin Baugh