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Bartenders' Favorite and Least Favorite Cocktail Trends

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Article 14.
Article 14.
Photo: Christopher Watkins

As we head into the last day of Cocktail Week, here are the favorite and least favorite cocktail trends of some of the bartenders' who have helped make Atlanta's drink scene as strong as it is today. Want to weigh in? Do leave thoughts and opinions in the comments or send a note through the tipline.

Arianne Fielder, Article 14:
I can't think of my least favorite trend at the moment, but my favorite trend would have to be seeing more and more fresh juice being used in restaurants all over the city. Cocktails are only as good as their weakest ingredient and juice in a bag off a soda gun is not the way to enjoy a quality cocktail. Mimosas with fresh squeezed orange juice, margaritas with fresh lime, and a whiskey sour with fresh lemon (and maybe even an egg white!) showing up at chain restaurants, BBQ spots, and places without "craft cocktail" programs make my heart warm!

Navarro Carr, The Sound Table:
I really don't have an opinion on favorite trends or least favorite trends. My only request is that if you choose a direction/trend then commit to it and give it your best.

Jason Kemp, Timone's:
One of the recent trends that I always find to be a touch annoying is the seemingly perpetual mixologist take on the classic cocktail. I believe that the classics are just that, Classic. More than a few aspiring barkeeps in this town should seriously learn the basics and take the time to stir a thousand Manhattans and then perhaps they can go off the reservation and create Sazeracs made from Fernet and/or mescal and made with their own bitters.

Julian Goglia, The Pinewood Tippling Room:
Pet Peeve, but I've never been a huge fan of seeing cocktails made completely of arcane ingredients. [A favorite trend]: It seems like a vast majority of bars are using fresh produce in their drinks!

Bradford Tolleson, Restaurant Eugene:
My favorite cocktail bar trend in the city right now is the sheer growth and knowledge going on. Every year, cocktail bartenders keep getting better, and more guests are seeking out high quality drinks.

My least favorite trend is probably ice spheres. They look really cool sitting in a glass, but when I try to take a sip, I'm worried I'm going to chip a tooth. I still prefer nice, big king cubes that stay away from my face and sit perfectly in the glass.

Melissa Hayes, Holeman & Finch:
I'm sort of over the quirky ingredients like breakfast cereal. That stuff is usually fun for one drink.

Lara Creasy, Beverage Consultant for Rocket Farm Restaurants:
Bar trends I am not into:
Cocktails on tap— I just don't see the point
Barrel-aged cocktails— I personally think that restaurants go through too much volume in too short a time frame to really have a barrel make much of an impact on a cocktail. But I am sure others have had success with this.

What I AM into: Shrubs — ever since I took a seminar on using vinegar in cocktails a few years ago at Tales of the Cocktail, I can't get enough of making shrubs. Nutty flavors — So many cocktails either tend toward acidic or bitter in flavor profile. I am really into the mid-range, flavors that are a little rounder and richer. There are some great nut liqueurs on the market right now, like the Nux Alpina Walnut liqueur from Haus Alpenz, and also using Sherry is a great way to get that profile. Wine-based cocktails like Cobblers. Orchard fruits — fruits like apples and apricots give a softer fruit profile to cocktails, and right now is the time of year! We have a few things on the menu at King + Duke that I love right now, like an Alexander with apricot brandy and white creme de cocoa, and also a Manhattan with apple bourbon.

Paul Calvert, Paper Plane:
Trends in general are a bummer. Here's something I do like: simple, elegant cocktails that either feel or are classic and iconic.

Michael Searles, Cibo e Beve:
Smoked drinks. Nothing destroys the palate like smoke, and drinks that are served still smoking affect the palate of guests next to you... Seriously, it's not Disney World. Let us make your drink with kitsch that DOESN'T ruin the experience of your fellow diners
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