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Updated: Apr 19, 2021

It was the job made cool by Tom Cruise in the 1980s with his movie Cocktail and ever since then, the role of a barman has only gone up in the world. Now we have expert mixologists, in demand across the globe for their innate ability to combine flavours, discover new and exciting ingredients and guess the perfect drink for you.

Just as baristas have turned coffee-making into an art form, mixologists have created a world of exotic flavours to transform our nights out. So what are the most popular cocktails according to the experts? And what latest cocktail trends will be gracing our Saturday nights?

Go East

You may have thought that great whiskey was the reserve of the Scots, but the Japanese are certainly trying to give them a run for their money. And it’s not just whiskey that Japan is bringing to a bar near you. The latest cocktail trends will see your drink blended with Japanese gin, perhaps even the fermented rice drink sake, a favourite drink served in Japanese restaurants. In fact, Japanese spirits have become the favoured ingredients of the most sophisticated of bars. Think trendy Roku gin, or even shochu, distilled from sweet potato, barley or rice. Fancy a taste of Japan? Head to Barcelona’s newest bar and restaurant Terminal 42, where the craft cocktails take you on a journey around the world.

Good enough to eat

You may have thought you had seen every type of cocktail, but one of the popular cocktail recipes of the moment is actually being influenced by what we eat. Yes, stand by for cocktails with peppercorns, Greek yoghurt and even bone broth. In Mexico, a mixologist at one hotel has created a chocolate and blue cheese-infused drink, while Santa Monica’s Hotel Casa del Mar picks up ingredients such as red pepper form the local farmer’s market and pops them in cocktails. Add in other mixologists playing with texture and giving drinks a stronger mouthfeel and your cocktail could soon be a whole meal.

Sunshine in a glass

If you want to sum up the flavour of the Caribbean, the best way to do it is with rum. This humble sugar-cane drinks found across the Caribbean, Central and South America has been tipped as ‘the next gin’, a potential ingredient in the most popular cocktails of the moment. But forget those rum punches you’ve enjoyed on the beach (although they are delicious), rum has taken a sophisticated turn, mixed with whiskey and lemon perhaps, or blended into the classic dark and stormy or even turned into a rum sour with lemon sour and orange curacao.

Beyond botanicals

The first person who distilled juniper berries to make gin 500 years ago couldn’t possibly have known what he was starting. Half a millennium later and it’s still one of the most popular cocktails in the world, although the ubiquitous London-dry style is being overtaken. Gin producers are branching out into ever-more exciting combinations, with flavourings like ocean water, cherry blossoms, blood orange and sloe gin. Because of the relatively neutral taste of gin, it makes an ideal spirit to combine with almost anything. Many gin-based cocktails include syrups and plant-based ingredients, and many bars attached to restaurants are making the most of access to their own gardens.

Time for tea

You may have thought the idea of missing caffeine with alcohol stretched only to espresso martinis and Irish coffee. But it’s time for tea to take centre stage as one of the more unlikely latest cocktail trends. Fragrant Earl Grey is a particular favourite, its citrusy flavour profile perfectly accompanying a martini or perhaps even blending with a refreshing gin. It doesn’t stop there though, trendy matcha tea – the ground powder of green tea leaves – makes a meaningful addition to a mint julep, while chamomile tea can perfectly balance whiskey and honey for a rich cocktail recipe. With tea long hailed for its healthy properties, could this be one of those latest cocktail trends embraced by even the health brigade?

Try something new!

There is no doubt about it, the cocktail landscape is changing and there is always something new to try. Not sure which trend is for you? Then head to a bar with a great mixologist, pull up a stool and tell him what sort of flavours you like... then let him whip up his own concoction. You may find a new favourite cocktail.

Want to try something a little different? See the Terminal 42 cocktail menu here, and check out their exciting and popular cocktail recipes, combining regional spirits that evoke international travel. If you’re in Barcelona and need a welcoming place to call home for a day or even just an hour, Terminal 42 will welcome you with open arms and make you think twice about getting on your flight. Visit now!

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