Check Out the Cocktail Trends of 2018

Cocktail Trends of 2018

Posted: May. 25, 2018

Creative ingredients and methods with health benefits are changing the way bartenders make cocktails in 2018.

This summer, health and wellness continue to inspire new culinary trends, and they’re crossing into a new territory: bar menus! The salad-in-your-drink cocktail trend of 2016 sounded like a funny fad, but it was just a taste for what was to come.

In 2018, bartenders across the country are developing unique cocktails with fresh ingredients and methods, from cannabis to fermentation. The inspiration for these new creations is a little more serious than the traditional tiki-bar cocktail, but that doesn’t mean bar menus are losing their fun appeal. If anything, bartenders have more ingredients in their arsenal to play with, and cocktails at large are getting upgraded.

Check out which cocktail trends of 2018 we are most excited about below. Share them with your staff at the next meeting and start brainstorming new cocktails for your bar!

Cannabis-Infused Drinks

The future of cannabis cuisine is bright, and there are some mixologists who believe the same goes for cannabis cocktails. A few drops of CBD (cannabidiol) oil and bar guests would go from party-like-it’s-1999 to chilled out after one drink.

CBD oil comes in different potency levels. Some oils are distilled from hemp while others are from the marijuana flower and have a stronger effect. Cannabis use isn’t legal everywhere in the United States, so you would have to navigate your state or region’s laws before allowing CBD oil anywhere near your bar.

Famous for its relaxed position on cannabis use, it’s no surprise that several bars in California have been adding CBD oil to their cocktails for years. You’ll notice that CBD drinks use mostly gin or herby liquors for a base. That’s because CBD oil has a strong marijuana flavor that’s best paired with vegetal or plant flavors. Fresh herbs are a perfect match, and gin, made from juniper berries, is an easy liquor to work with.

You might be wondering how CBD oil is good for your health? Experts tout its anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety properties as wellness benefits. There’s also the chance that you’ll have less angry drunks.

Vegetables Instead of Fruit Juices

Blended fruits make up the base for many cocktails, but in 2018, bartenders are swapping out sugary fruit juices for healthy vegetable juices and syrups. Like CBD oil, vegetables are best paired with herby and vegetal liquors, but since there is a broad spectrum of flavors, from sweet to earthy to spicy, the options to mix are endless.

At your bar, stand out by stocking produce that’s in season. Not only will your bartenders enjoy the challenge of coming up with new cocktails every month, your guests will enjoy the rotating menu selection.

Fermented Drinks

Fermentation might be the oldest technique for making liquors; historians believe humans were fermenting foods at least 9,000 years ago. But on modern-day menus, fermentation is usually reserved for a side of kimchi.

It’s believed that fermented foods and drinks have stomach-calming properties (it’s all related to the probiotics the fermentation process creates), and some ingenious mixologists are experimenting with different fermented drinks for a truly healthy cocktail. For instance, Chauhan Ale & Masala House in Nashville has a huge selection of fermented fruits and vegetables, and kombucha (fermented tea) cocktails are the latest drink trend in New York City.  

Liquor isn’t known for having a good impact on the gut, but fermentation is the cocktail counterbalance that happy-hour-loving health aficionados are looking for.


Like fermentation, turmeric has been used in kitchens for a long time. Traditionally used in Indian cuisine, the rich, golden-yellow spice adds a powerful flavor to any dish—or drink—it’s added to. And like fermentation, it’s also great for your gut’s health. It has anti-inflammatory properties and is packed full of antioxidants.

Turmeric works well with other exotic flavors, like cilantro or red peppers, and is a perfect match with tequila. For a refreshing cocktail, muddle these ingredients with cucumber and shake them with ice before pouring into a highball glass.

These adventurous cocktail trends challenge the most experienced bartender and are delighting guests with their healthful properties. Incorporate one or all of them into your bar menu this summer!

Use a bar POS system to manage your inventories, track sales, and boost operations.



Posted: May. 25, 2018 | Written By: Emma Alois


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