Summer 2019, when White Claw reigned supreme, already feels like a lifetime ago. Luckily, summer 2020 seems likely to offer drink trends far more exciting than canned hard seltzer.
Canned mild-flavored drinks like White Claw made sense in 2019, when life was far busier. There was a distinct appeal in being able to pick up a package of cheap inoffensive-tasting canned booze to bring to a backyard party or music festival.
But in 2020, with many people staying closer to home and reducing their social schedules, we can get a little more creative with our summer drink choices. Here are the trends we think will take over this summer season!
Simple Vintage Cocktails
These days, many people are looking to replicate the bar experience at home. However, not everyone wants to commit to stocking a full bar’s worth of ingredients, or learning complex drink recipes.
Simple classic cocktails fill the home bar need perfectly. Drinks with three to four easy-to-find ingredients, like the Paloma, Negroni, or French 75, lend themselves well to home bartending and never go out of style. They don’t require any fancy equipment or technique to make, and the recipes can quickly be committed to memory.
You can easily find the recipes for any classic cocktail online, but it can also be nice to keep a cocktail recipe book at home.
By the same DIY token, drinks featuring fresh ingredients harvested from a garden or from nature will also reign this summer. With more time at home to source homegrown or foraged ingredients, it makes sense to use them in beverages.
Those ingredients will depend on where you live and what you’re growing, of course. Mint or basil from a garden can find its way into a mojito or a gimlet. Easy-to-make DIY rosemary syrup opens a world of cocktail possibilities. You can even make nonalcoholic iced tea using wild-harvested nettle or dandelion.
Sangria is another super-easy way to put seasonal produce to good use, and this homemade cocktail is nearly impossible to mess up.
Sangrias use a base of wine, a touch of soda or sparkling water, and a selection of fruits to create a fresh summery pitcher drink that’s a little different each time. They’re a great way to use up extra fruit or an unfinished bottle of wine, reducing waste in your kitchen. We think rosé sangria, with its summer-friendly light taste and pretty color, will be especially popular this year.
Last year, Aperol frosé was a big drink trend, using the bitter apéritif Aperol to add complexity to frosé (or frozen rosé, basically a wine slushy). Homemade versions of it will remain popular this summer—along with many other spiked slushy-style drinks.
Because blenders are easy to come by and make homemade drinks more exciting, we foresee new, creative twists on frosé and other boozy slushies this season. Sangria, margaritas, spiked lemonade, and much more can all be made in a frozen version for those extra-hot days. Plus, they’re easy to customize with whatever ingredients you have on hand: think mint-lemonade slushies or frozen raspberry margaritas.
Boozy Iced Coffee
If the dalgona coffee fervor showed us anything, it’s that people really want to make their homemade coffee a little more fun. Adding booze to coffee drinks is a logical next step!
With summer heating up, though, that boozy coffee will definitely be iced. Iced coffee makes a great base for countless homemade cocktails—all it really takes is a dose of Kahlua, rum, or whatever strikes your fancy. If you’re really feeling adventurous, try a Wake the Dead cocktail, which mixes espresso and tequila. Drinks like these might offer just the boost you need to tackle your next summer home improvement project.
With simple, appealing flavors like orange or rhubarb, a bottle of flavored gin is the easiest way to elevate a classic gin drink, like a gin and tonic.
Local Wines and Beers
This year, many people are exchanging aimless wandering through store aisles for relatively stress-free home delivery. The economic pressure of the pandemic also has many people wanting to support their favorite local brands.
Even if you didn’t usually drink local before this summer, this is the time to find out what’s being bottled near you and give it a try. Some local wineries and breweries deliver and may even have subscription clubs so you can get their latest exciting offerings at your door.
Although not quite a “drink,” we’ll say the boozy popsicle is close enough to count. You might have seen the idea featured on a popular Instagram account or food blog before, only to think, “Sounds great, but who has the time to make those?” Well, summer 2020’s the time!
You can make alcoholic popsicles in nearly any flavor combination you can imagine, and they’re the perfect kitchen craft for a hot summer day at home.
With more people staying home and looking to save money, this will be the summer of DIY, local, and creative drinks. Sure, you might put a little more time into your summer drinks than usual this year—but that will only make the finished products all the more rewarding.