Back in 1998, we had a massive craze for vodka and Redbull (any old vodka would do), then there were the good old Fishbowls in 2002. Redbull was still the buzz of choice in 2006 when it began to have a shot of the famous herbal digestive liqueur Jagermeister thrown in for good measure.
Since then, we’ve seen various cocktails come and go, but thankfully the next trends seem to be leaning more toward quality and refinement and away from getting a slap of booze in the back of your throat, a kick of sugar pulsing through your blood and caffeine rush that keeps you up all night.
With the average cocktail lover becoming more and more discerning, mixing up a cheeky cocktail has never been more complicated.
Gone are the days where you could just grab some cheap vodka from under the counter and get away with it. Todays’ cocktails are things of beauty that are composed of the finest, often organic and homemade ingredients with top shelf spirits.
They need to look great too! Instagram and Facebook love a good photo, and it’s important that the cocktails are as beautiful on the eye as they are on the palate.
There are so many bars and things to do at night in Albufeira and across the Algarve. You can sit and enjoy a classic Mojito with Havana or Mulata Rum (Cuban is best) fresh mint and a dash of soda or a beautiful big bowl local artisan blue Sharish Gin & Tonic with fresh strawberries.
The variety of cocktails is astounding, and there is something for everyone’s taste, whether it be a Blue Lagoon or a Pina Colada at the beach bar, a virgin mocktail for the kids or a Martini or Cosmopolitan in a club in the evening. Cocktails are one of the few things that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Smoke and mirrors can play a big part in the presentation in the 5 Star lounge bars, but you’ll also find plenty of places in the down-town areas that do all the classics with long straws and umbrellas included.
Lower percentage cocktails continue to be popular and are becoming more diverse with many people preferring to have a fun evening and wake up early without the pains of the morning after. It’s commonly believed that fortified wines and herbal digestives will play the staring role as key ingredients rather than as an extra.
The addition of weird and wonderful, foraged items is becoming more and more popular, and the use of herbs and spices that you would traditionally expect to find in meals are making a regular appearance. Even in a simple Gin and Tonic, you can frequently come across a sprig of rosemary, a few basil leaves, peppercorns, cardamom pods or star anise.
It might seem a little odd, but when you think about it, the Bloody Mary is practically a meal with vodka in it.
We spoke with some of the movers and shakers (pardon the pun) of the Algarve and asked them, what trends they thought we should expect to see in 2018.
Multi-award winning Nelson de Matos of the Michelin starred Gusto at the Conrad Algarve explained
“Sustainability and closed circle (honest) cocktails are here to stay, and with them, the bartenders’ concern is to minimise the environmental impact and strive to support the local community, such as low alcohol, alcohol-free cocktails and concern for the health and well-being of customers.
We are privileged to be able to purchase our products from local farmers and producers. All our products are biologically based, and the raw materials are used to the maximum. We support fair trade and the local economy. So In my opinion, I would say that the trend for 2018 is sustainable, local and responsibility.”
Énio Velho, from the luxury Albufeira resort, EPIC SANA Algarve, told us:
“Bluum Bar loves to borrow the simplicity of old methods and fresh quality ingredients to create new flavours. We create homemade tinctures, sweetened drinking vinegars, flavoured syrups and use shrubs, to produce modern and honest cocktails brimming with two centuries of tradition.
This sentiment is echoed by our team, who are always seeking new methods, quicker and genuine service, as they purify even the most basic things to create the ultimate cocktails.
Concerning innovation: lightly alcoholic and fermentation is huge, which is interesting as it’s an immensely creative new path.
Not forgetting Sake, which is starting to be huge.”
Head Bartender, Bruno Pinto from the Tivoli Sky Bar in Carvoeiro and formally from Gleneagles and Michelin starred The Kitchin in Edinburgh and Bon Bon, Carvoeiro told us:
“To be honest, I think like this, the bartender community will be doing more research about local, organic and new products. There is so much to learn about products from the land, sea and forest and of course the new techniques. Kind of like a whole new world, an ecosystem of flavours.
Cocktails for each season, people will spend more time exploring the seasonal products that are available to them at certain times of the year; naturally, we will see more hot cocktails in the bar menus.”
Jeferson Santos, Head Bartender at Taste Restaurant and finalist in Portugal’s Bartender of the year 2017 said
“I believe that when we entered the new millennium, it was the beginning of a new era for cocktails. Mixologists are constantly evolving, and as we have more and more premium products and understanding of flavours, the combinations are becoming braver and bolder. It’s imperative that the presentation is on point and the delivery of a balanced drink, to an exacting recipe, is achieved every time. For me, the classics are king, and it’s the interpretation of the Bartender that will make for the perfect cocktail.”
João Rodrigues, the winner of the 2016 World Class competition and front man at Bar Bow Tie in Faro, told us about his ethos and explained that he doesn’t believe that one thing is important
“It’s hard to say which spirit will be the new “in” spirit. In this industry, you always hear different predictions, a few years ago I was told that rum was going to be the new trendy spirit, but the reality is, people are still asking for gin & tonics. What I’ve found is my clients are more interested in the body of the cocktail, not just the spirit, they like the concoction more than the ingredients.
Hence why I make experimental cocktails, I want my clients to enjoy not just the flavour but the carefully curated creation that we make. Anyone can mix a drink, but only true artists can fuse flavours and create something people want to take pictures of and tell their friends about.”