Trending in Spirits & Cocktails: 2024 Predictions

Spirit and cocktail trends 2024
// By Malika Wichner // , Oct 3, 2023

As people’s tastes change, the alcohol industry is poised to adapt and launch new products. One thing remains the same: the alcohol producers and the bars and restaurants that sell alcoholic products that can catch trends early will continue to take in huge profits.


Here is Backbar's list of the top trends in the alcohol industry worth keeping an eye on.


1. The Mixers You Use Matter


In 2024, an olive in a martini or an orange in a Blue Moon isn't going to cut it anymore. People are craving mix-ins, enhancements, and fermented mixers in their drinks. 


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This trend also extends to garnishes. While over-the-top garnishes will add to your costs, if your lavish drinks can attract more customers then you will easily make that money back. The classic bloody mary will always be a big hit with its edible garnishes. Sometimes garnishes can easily become a bit over the top. But these days, people want cocktails and mocktails to not only taste good but also be visually stunning and include interesting – if not always edible – garnishes. As your chefs will tell you, tasting starts with the eyes, and the cocktail world is doubling down on that trend as well.



2. Coffee As An Ingredient Still The Craze


In 2022 you couldn't go anywhere without seeing the Espresso Martini. To the point where it dethroned the Manhattan as the top-selling cocktail. To try and recreate this success, bartenders and cocktail specialists alike have been playing with the coffee + liquor combination to create new interesting, and delicious drinks that we think will be a hit in the new year. 


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The espresso martini walked so tons of other delicious coffee-based cocktails could run in 2023 and into 2024. Let's break down some delicious coffee cocktails that would be easy additions to any drink menu. 


White Russian: Let's start with another classic. Similar to a Black Russian, which is equal parts vodka and coffee liqueur, a White Russian simply adds cream to the mix for a decadent and dreamy mouth feel. Turn it into a White Mexican by using horchata instead of cream or a White Cuban by subbing the vodka for rum. 



Irish Coffee: Arguably the iconic "original" coffee cocktail, Irish Coffee is simply made by combining Irish whiskey, typically hot coffee, and sugar. It's quick and easy to make and a hit in colder weather.  


Carajillo: This classic Spanish cocktail features espresso and Licor 43. You can make this cocktail "puesto," with the coffee layered neatly on top of the alcohol, or "shakeado," where the ingredients are shaken together into a delicious, homogenous froth.

Cold Brew Negroni: The negroni has taken off across the globe. The standard cocktail combines gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari for an aperitif drink. Adding cold brew to the mix might sound strange, but trust us it just works. 



Revolver: Another twist on a classic, the Revolver takes its base from the iconic Manhattan. The original recipe uses Bulleit bourbon as its base and it replaces sweet vermouth with coffee liqueur for sweets and is finished with a bit of orange bitters.


3. Soju Making Waves In The U.S.


Soju, also referred to as Korean vodka, is the most popular alcohol in the world. According to, Jinro Soju sold 86.3 million cases in 2019—more than any other liquor brand in the world.


Soju It’s usually 20% to 24% alcohol by volume, which is very light when compared to vodka, which is typically 40% ABV. Soju has a very neutral flavor, like vodka, but doesn’t come with the harsh alcoholic burn making it very easy to drink straight or in cocktails. Soju is meant to be enjoyed similar to wine, paired with food. 


The worldwide rise in Korean culture due to entertainment like K-pop music and streaming K-dramas has everyone interested in Asian-traditional food and drinks as well. If you're on the fence about plain soju, most brands also offer flavored soju, again similar to vodka but without any of the bite. The flavoring typically masks any hint of alcohol. This means you can easily sip it, take it as a shot, or substitute it in any cocktail you'd typically use vodka for a smoother and sweeter finish. 



4. Drink Performance Art & Social Media Restaurant and Bar Marketing 


Since we live in a world ruled by TikTok and Instagram guests are wowed by visuals at bars. Utilizing social media as part of your marketing strategy is how you take your bar or restaurant to the next level. Posting what we eat and drink has become such a standard practice that bars have to give customers something to brag about to elevate their head counts. 


This means aesthetically pleasing decor, garnishes, drinks, glassware, and so on can impact your sales by driving more social media "foodies" to your business. 


Performance bartending and over-the-top drinks are also becoming the standard for super-hyped locations. Wowing guests with theatrics and visuals, giving them something to post on social media, that's how you stand above your competitors in today's world. Lavish finished drinks, charming and knowledgable staff, interesting and unique use of ingredients, all of these should be things you're thinking about when evaluating your menu for the new year.


This also means training your bartenders how to engage with guests and training the rest of your host and service staff to remind customers to tag you in any photos or videos they post on their social media. That's FREE marketing right there! 



Top 5 Cocktails for 2024


These cocktails, traditional or with your own unique spin, are a must for any 2024 drink menu. 


1. Negroni - The Negroni may have been invented in 1919, but 2023 is the year it hit its peak. This is potentially the most popular gin cocktail... ever. Gin, Campari, and sweet vermouth come together for a beautiful mouth fill. Negorni's are traditionally garnished with an orange twist for added oomph



2. Hugo Spritz - Tiktok made this drink a big deal during the 2023 Summer season. The Aperol Spritz walked so the Hugo Spritz could run. Elderflower liqueur, like St. Germain, is used instead of Aperol and combined with prosecco and club soda and garnished with a lemon or lime wedge and mint spring. This drink tastes like summer and is easy to sip. 


@cambridgewines The Aperol Spritz is dead!! There's one drink that may have kicked the Aperol Spritz to the sidelines and that is the Hugo Spritz 🍸#aperol #aperolspritz #hugospritz #spritztok #cocktailtok #summercocktails #homecocktails #fallcocktail #cocktailrecipe #winetok #wineshop ♬ original sound - Cambridge Wines

3. Paloma - Palomas were a hit in 2022-2023 and we predict it'll hold on to its reigns in 2024 (mostly because tequila is quickly becoming the best-selling spirit). The perfect combination of tequila, grapefruit soda, and lime juice is just always delicious. Garnishes can range from a simple lime wedge to a sugar rim and dried grapefruit wheel. 



4. Old Fashioned - The Old Fashioned is the perfect example of a cocktail that has come a long way. With the advancements in flavor, whiskey has undergone since this drink was created in the mid-1800s this classic drink will never really go out of style. Whiskey, sugar, and bitters are the base for an Old Fashioned. Playing with the type of whiskey or adding smoke or even playing with the classic orange peel garnish are easy but effective ways to add a modern Old Fashioned to your drink menu.



@chefrodrigofernandini The best #oldfashioned I have ever had 🔥 #cocktail #drinks @eleventhhousepr @mydeliciouslife ♬ Come Check This - FETISH

5. Espresso Martini - Can't do a cocktail list without including the Espresso Martini! Martini's in general have had a big spike in recent years in terms of popularity, but the current queen is the Espresso Martini. There are tons of ways to switch up the recipe and make it unique but the tried and true recipe is a 3-part mix of vodka, coffee liqueur, and espresso. Sweeten with simple syrup and you're all set. 




Malika Wichner

About the author, Malika Wichner

Malika is the Marketing Content Manager for Backbar. Prior to creating content to link industry professionals to Backbar she worked as a bartender and server in Chicago. She enjoys red wine or an IPA with a good book in her free time.

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