Here's What to Look For at Your Favorite Bar in 2013

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barrelLook for drinks aging in barrels, like this one from Tuthilltown Spirits.I already shared with you what the top menu trends for 2013 are expected to be. But what can we expect in the way of adult beverages? 

The National Restaurant Association teamed up with the United States Bartenders’ Guild in a survey of drink slingers to predict what we’ll see sliding down bartops over the next 12 months.

The top 10 drink menu trends for 2013 will be: 

1. Onsite barrel-aged drinks -- Using small barrels, bartenders mix up a batch of cocktails,whiskey sours, say, and pour it into a wood barrel. Just as with aging wine, the wood -- and air -- softens the edges of the cocktail. Could take weeks, could take months. Weekly testing of the cocktail is recommended so find the sweet spot of the sour.

2. Food-liquor/cocktail pairings -- This is not new, but I’ll be excited to see more of it (I see a cocktail and food oriented Scott Joseph’s Supper Club coming up!).

3. Culinary cocktails (e.g. savory, fresh ingredients) -- Personally, I’m tired of seeing cucumbers and other vegetables in my drinks, but apparently there are lots of people who like to mix a stiff drink with the side veggies.

4. Micro-distilled/artisan liquor -- Small batches, like handcrafted beers.

5. Locally produced spirits -- Why not? Goes with the micro distillation trend.

6. Locally sourced fruit/berries/produce -- Locally sourced produce was a theme of the culinary menu trends. Only natural that some of that should find its way into our drinks.

7. Beer sommeliers/Cicerones -- Seemed inevitable with the hundreds of microbrews making their way onto beer lists. A cicerone (siss-uh-ROHN-ay or siss-uh-ROHN) can assist in the same way as a wine sommelier with advice on flavor profiles, hoppiness and, one assumes, amusing bouquets of a restaurant’s brews.

8. Regional signature cocktails -- Watch for a SJO-sponsored competition to come up with the definitive Orlando cocktail. What would you include in it?

9. Beer-based cocktails -- I look at these the same way I do cucumber in my drink.

10. Locally produced beer -- Central Florida is ahead on this trend.

Other trends cited include more guests dining at the bar rather than in the dining room (I almost always choose the bar and have for years) and more technology, such as tablets (iPads) and smartphone apps.

One the way out, according to the bartenders surveyed, are hard lemonade, non-alcoholic wine, “skinny” cocktails, dessert-flavored cocktails, white sangria, frozen cocktails, light beer, kosher wine, and boxed wine.

Which of the trends are you excited about?

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