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Ten Predictions About the Future of Bay Area Cocktails

How Bay Area drink makers are reinventing our favorite alcoholic beverages.

A drink gets the finishing touches at Duke’s Spirited Cocktails in Healdsburg.



Two decades into the Bay Area’s cocktail awakening, you’d think that bars would have settled into a comfortable middle age—the imbibing equivalent of staying home to Netflix and chill. But you’d be wrong.

Creativity stirs all over the region, and drink makers and bar owners continue to spin out new ways to stay relevant and keep us guessing: with secret menus, popup concepts, and menu launch parties; with vibrant drinks, exotic ingredients, and bar-specific spirits; with quality concoctions served at double the speed, thanks to newfangled juices and outsourced ice. And to meet the expanding demand for quality, novelty, and expediency in booze consumption, new clusters of great bars have sprung up not just in the East Bay but also to the north and south. These changes are often nuanced but pervasive, taking place across many bars in many precincts throughout the ever-thirsty Bay Area.

Scanning the cocktail horizon, you can spot the big ideas and the small revisions that are changing the way we drink in 2018 and beyond. Here are 10 of them.

1. Bartenders Are Going Straight to the Source

2. Forget The Simple Description: These Are Very Complicated Cocktails

3. Wine Country Has An Unofficial Cocktail AVA

4. The Future (and Present, Actually) Is Female

5. Asian Restaurants Are the Center of Cocktail Innovation

6. Viking Drinks Are So Hot Right Now

7. You'll Be Spending the Night in San Jose

8. Your Highball Intake Is About to Increase Dramatically

9. Outsourcing Is In

10. The Mission Has Only Just Begun


Originally published in the February issue of San Francisco 

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