Three cocktail trends to watch in 2024

The New Year is quickly approaching and there's a lot to look forward to seeing and doing. That includes within the cocktail industry and these are three trends that should stand out in the coming months.
Austin Greer prepares an Old Fashion at new restaurant Symmetry in Oklahoma City, on Thursday, Nov.
Austin Greer prepares an Old Fashion at new restaurant Symmetry in Oklahoma City, on Thursday, Nov. / NATHAN J. FISH/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY

2023 is ending, but the celebrations aren’t going to stop any time soon. With Christmas and New Year’s Eve on the horizon, there are plenty of parties to come. And as always, nightlife and drinking festivities will continue. As with any other industry, there are trends to keep an eye on once 2024 hits. These are three trends in cocktails that consumers, bartenders, and establishments should check out for the next 12 months.

The Return of Happy Hour

The last three years haven’t been the best. COVID-19 and inflation both hampered the ability to enjoy libations for millions around the world. Business owners had to get creative with how they would entice customers back into their venues once doors opened. The same will be true in 2024, as bars and restaurants need to find new ways to make their place stand out. That is where the famed happy hour will come into play.

Many locations are already taking a unique approach to happy hour. While most expect drink specials to come between the hours of five to seven, finding new ways to brand hours of the day “happy” is a great way to get people in for cheap drinks and eats. As prices continue to rise, look for locations to use happy hour as a way to lure people in with what looks like reduced rates.

Social Media Continues to Embrace Cocktails

Posting pictures of your food and drink, no one cares to see that. People are back to focusing on the experience they will get at your establishment, and that is where experienced bartenders come into play. More and more, social media profiles are highlighting the tricks that bartenders do while preparing cocktails and the unique concoctions that are available at these establishments. Look for more bars to embrace talented performers who put on a show while crafting a drink. Fire? Flipping Drinks? Shots in fancy contraptions? All these things are on the table heading into the new year.

More Days to Drink throughout the Week

The opportunity to work from home continues to be a struggle. Employers want their staff back in the office, while employees look for more time to work from home. Working from home also has an impact on the nightlife scene. On one hand, establishments will have to do more (see improved happy hours) to get customers to leave their homes after work to come grab a drink. However, this also opens the door for more people to be willing to spend time out drinking on Sunday or starting their drinking days earlier on workdays. It will be a back-and-forth game to see how the fight for work-from-home impacts the bar and restaurant industries.

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