Toasting the Top Culinary Trends

Hand-crafted spirits, culinary cocktails and also local beer and wine rank among the 20 hot trends for 2011 identified by more than 1,500 professional chefs. The chefs, all members of the American Culinary Federation, once again cited the importance of alcohol beverages in the American dining scene in the annual survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association and released the first week of December.

Specifically, the chefs were asked to indicate whether each of 226 trends is a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news” or “perennial favorite.” Artisanal spirits, locally-produced beer and wine and culinary cocktails ranked 11, 12 and 16, respectively, on the top 20 trends list and lead the top 5 alcohol trends list, which was rounded out with food and beer pairings/beer dinners and bar chefs/mixologists.

Leading the “perennial favorites” are California wines, traditional cocktails and food and wine pairings.

What’s edging on “yesterday’s news?” These trends were deemed as such by 40 percent or more of responding chefs: muddled cocktails, wine on tap/draught wine, sake/mirin, absinthe, grappa and wine-based/wine cocktails.

On the non-alcohol trend watch, the chefs cited specialty ice tea, organic coffee, agua fresca, house-made lemonade and enhanced/flavored waters as the hottest trends.

For the complete “What’s Hot in 2011” survey results, click here.


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