The Most Popular Restaurant Trends of 2017


2017 is the year of the cocktail.

Out of all of the food and beverage trends we wrote about for Tripleseat’s Great Venues Blog this year, the most popular posts were about how venues were creating new experiences at the bar. From modern takes on traditional drinks, to getting creative with ingredients, cocktails were on everyone’s mind.

So, pull up a chair, grab your favorite beverage, and revisit the top 7 restaurant trends of the year.

1. The Modern-Day Bar Cart

In 2017, restaurants took the craft cocktail craze to the next level by stepping out from the bar and going mobile, mixing drinks tableside at bar carts. Restaurants are offering either a single signature drink experience, or a small list of select beverages, and the drinks are all over the map – ranging from classic beverages like a French 75 to a drink that is garnished with lemon and orange peel set on fire with flaming brandy.

2. Trend Alert: Flavored Cocktail Ice

The least exciting part of a cocktail is the ice. Sure, it cools off your drink, but it’s just frozen water. This year, we saw bartenders get creative, using frozen ingredients in their cubes that chill your drink while releasing new flavors as the ice melts.

3. Let’s Call it the Summer of Spritz

The classic summer spritz got a makeover in 2017. We saw variations of citrus, tart, cucumber, and mint, and one special spritz topped with a paprika-dusted mango slice. We still have a long winter before these are back on the menu, but there’s plenty of time to create new variations before the weather is just right to enjoy a spritz on the patio.

5. Why Does Every Drink Suddenly Have Turmeric?

Turmeric juice is a pretty common ingredient at juice bars, smoothie shops, and coffee shops. The superfood is now becoming a regular player on drink menus. We’re seeing it combined with mezcal or gin and cucumber juice at beach bars. Indoors, it’s mixed with vodka and carrot juice, or tequila and vermouth, and served in non-alcoholic drinks like lattes and sodas.

6. Bringing Back the Michelada 

If you’re not familiar with the michelada, it’s a light beer combined with something tart (like lime juice), something spicy (think hot sauce), and a salted rim. The 2017 version of the michelada got an update, with bartenders changing the recipe by adding ingredients like cucumber juice, Clamato, orange, kimchi juice, soy sauce, habanero, cilantro, or a spicy green chili liqueur.

7. How Poke Became The New Sushi

A lot of people hadn’t even heard the word “poke” before 2017. But once you did, you couldn’t help but notice: poke was everywhere this year. The Hawaiian dish at its simplest is raw, chopped fish, combined with soy and sesame seeds, served over rice, and garnished with anything from avocado to scallions. Restaurants embraced the poke concept and, of course, tried their own spin, changing up the ingredients, or moving from the bowl to the plate with poke tacos and tostadas.

8. Why Bartenders Love Low-Proof Cocktails

Vermouth, sherry, and Amari are some of the low-proof liqueurs that were in high demand this year. More bartenders were serving up these drinks for a variety of reasons. People generally spend more time on a lighter cocktail, which leads to more moderate drinking. And, ordering fewer cocktails means you’re consuming fewer calories.

Be in the know

What’s ahead in 2018? We’ll keep on top of the next best drinking and dining trends, and the best venues to hold your next event on Tripleseat’s Great Venues Blog. Check the blog for new posts, or get them sent directly to your inbox by visiting the blog and scrolling down to the Subscribe feature.