2021 Cocktail Trends Report

A Foresight Report for Barcadi

category - alcohol
category - covid-19
sector - food & drink
type - case studies
Case Studies
Well into another year of uncertainty and time spent in our own homes, emerging trends are influencing the drink sector. Bacardi commissioned The Future Laboratory to produce a new foresight report identifying these trends and insights that will shape the future of cocktails for 2021

Global premium spirits company Bacardi Limited looks ahead at the key trends impacting cocktail consumption and the spirits business in 2021, in association with The Future Laboratory. This report draws on insights from Bacardi-led consumer and brand ambassador surveys, interviews with the bar and restaurant trade, Nielsen CGA data, and The Future Laboratory’s independent research.

"The Future Laboratory have been our trusted thought-partners and we’ve worked with them for a few years now. Their deep know-how of nascent consumer behaviours, product innovations and foresight on mindset, has complemented our internal insights and industry expertise, making them a great collaborator to associate with."
: Karina Abramova, Director of Cultural Insights and Trends, Bacardi Limited

Combining expert interviews with consumer insight, The Future Laboratory identified the emerging trends and attitudes that will transform the drink and alcohol markets. This report delves into the year ahead – helping Bacardi to communicate with its customers effectively.

Click below to discover the resulting 2021 Cocktail Trends Report, with key take-outs and statistics for this new era.



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Commissioned by:

5 February 2021

Author: The Future Laboratory


: Home Premise


: Domestic Drinks : The global pandemic has had a profound impact on the drinks industry. It has undoubtedly expedited the at-home and e-commerce convenience culture we had already begun to enjoy, bringing more experiences straight into our homes than we could ever have imagined.

The pandemic has made home the focal point of our social lives and changed the eating and drinking landscape forever. Initiatives such as virtual happy hours and live-streamed gigs have allowed people to recreate their favorite elements of bars and restaurants. With many bars now offering online cocktail classes and carefully concocted drinks delivered directly to our doors.

: New Drinking Cultures : For consumers, the pandemic has ushered in entirely new drinking cultures, ranging from Japan’s on-nomi (online drinking) to walktails (cocktails to drink while walking) and making cupboard cocktails from reserves at home.

Cocktail classes and kits have seen huge success via highly visual platforms with vast audience reach, such as Instagram. The appeal of this DIY approach is echoed in data from Nielsen CGA, which shows that 40% of consumers are interested in make-at-home cocktail kits, followed by bottled pre-made and grab-and-go options (both 37%).

‘Cocktails in a can are a hot trend, and the lockdowns appear to have increased their popularity as a safe and portable drink option. In addition, cocktails-to-go have really taken off, with bars and consumers embracing the trend at a fast rate as a viable choice for social occasions and this is a behavior we expect to see continue in 2021.’ 

Brenda Fiala, Global Vice President, Strategic Insights and Analytics, Bacardi

: Pleasure Revolution

Mother Root Ginger Switchel, UK

When Covid-19 restrictions ease and social life resumes, consumers will seek pleasure, nostalgia, and escapism, shifting their focus from enhancement to enjoyment. During what some are predicting to be ‘the second roaring 20s’, we will return to bars, seeking quality over quantity and perhaps to celebrate after a tough year. It’s a sentiment echoed by the Bacardi Holiday Survey 2020, with many people planning to treat themselves, their friends, and family in 2021. 

Some of these emerging, indulgent trends including:

: Flavour sensations
A desire for extremes will dictate our drink choices in 2021, with sensorial experiences that range from the striking heat of chili through to super-sweet, sour, bitter and smoked flavor profiles.

: Nostalgic classics
In terms of spirits, various trends are emerging among classic categories such as gin, tequila and rum, and interesting differentials are arising across markets.

: Traditional cocktails with a twist
New and creative ingredients will add a fresh perspective to classic drinks when we’re back at the bar.

Discover our Pleasure Revolution macrotrend on LS:N Global – a look at a future shift from enhancement to enjoyment.


‘Heat will be key, with cocktails such as the Chilitini, Chili Whiskey Sour, Chili Libre and Chili Bloody Mary. This also reflects a wider shift toward fresh ingredients, including ginger. ’

: Bar Reinvention


Post-lockdown, consumers armed with newfound knowledge and appreciation of spirits and cocktails will fuel a reinvention of the bar. Venues will step up to offer more personalized and unique concepts for this spirits- savvy customer, who will seek out deeper connections with bartenders in order to learn even more.

Respondents to the Nielsen CGA On-Premise Survey concur, predicting that many of the creative solutions developed in 2020 – cocktails-to-go, delivery of cocktail and meal kits, and escalation of e-commerce – will endure when restrictions ease. We could see venues and bartenders playing with menus, offering changing weekly options according to stock levels, and special drink deals as well as virtual classes, tastings and happy hours.

As an industry, hospitality has been slow to embrace digital transformation, but the pandemic has resulted in a multitude of new digital platforms. Apps now enable easy ordering and payment through a range of methods, and bars are being demystified through better online menus.

While digital platforms can’t replace human contact, the Bacardi Global Brand
Ambassador Survey shows that bartenders were exploring digital solutions in late 2020 and will continue to do so into 2021. As we move through this decade, these solutions, combined with new emerging technologies, will facilitate a new level of comfort for customers and make bars more accessible to everyone.

This is just a snippet of the 2021 Cocktail Trends Report. Click below to download the full report PDF.

‘20% of customers now keen to sample drinks that they would never have tried pre-lockdown.’
Bacardi Holiday Survey 2020

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