What we order at a bar says a lot about us. Our drink orders provide a portal into what we desire, of course, but also how we desire to be seen. And while we all have our old standbys (like my friend who continues to order Cosmopolitans everywhere he goes no matter how uncool they have become), most of us are at least somewhat concerned in appearing in-the-know. That’s why we here at AMASS rounded up the trendiest drinks of the past decade, as a glimpse into the cocktails and beers and shots we ordered and drank in an attempt to seem cooler than we actually are.
2010: THE FOUR LOKO
The decade started out with a bang with the rise of the now-infamous Four Loko, a caffeinated alcoholic beverage responsible for many a forgotten night out. Once beloved among college students for its potency and almost concerningly low price point of 3 bucks a can, the caffeine-and-sugar-laden concoction has since been banned (fair), but its legacy forever lives on.
2011: PABST BLUE RIBBON
Unlike its fellow cheap beer counterparts, in its prime PBR was beloved not among bro-y frat stars, but among the beanie-clad, handlebar mustached hipsters of the early 2010s. It was the beer you drank if you were in a band, and although it quickly became outshined by the emerging craft beer scene, for a fading moment it reigned supreme.
With the popularity of Don Draper came a short-lived but nonetheless memorable Americana phase. Many an old fashioned and whiskey sour were drunk and The Avett Brothers were played loudly and often. In the words of a not-so-American writer, it was the best of times and it was the worst of the times.
Back in 2013, Campari launched Negroni Week in an effort to 1) celebrate the cocktail, 2) raise money for charities around the world and 3) sell a lot of Campari. It worked, and the classic cocktail became the drink du jour. (Of course, we’re partial to an AMASS Negroni, which you can shake up at home with our recipe here.)
2014: OVER-THE-TOP BRUNCH COCKTAILS
The advent of Instagram brought Instagram-friendly cocktails, and none were more extra than the Bloody Mary. Stacked with everything from fried chicken to cocktail shrimp to cheeseburger sliders, these savory cocktails were a lesson in excess.
While Fireball first had a surge of popularity in 2012, it wasn’t until 2015 that the cinnamon-flavored whiskey became the top-selling liqueur in the United States (and the one countless college freshman would cite as the reason they can’t stomach the taste of cinnamon anymore).
The moment has passed, but the “frosé all day” tee shirts still remain. The unofficial white girl drink of 2016, frosé, or frozen rose, is like a grown-up slushie made with pink wine and fresh strawberries. It’s best drunk poolside, ideally with one of those pizza or donut-shaped pool floats nearby.
2017: NATURAL WINE
Natural wine, or wine that is made with fewer additives and sulfites, became popularized in France back in the ‘60s, but it took some time (over 50 years, to be exact) for the movement to gain traction stateside. Made with the principle that “nothing is added and nothing is taken away,” natural wine’s growing popularity mirrored consumers’ growing concern about what they were putting into their bodies.
2018: THE APEROL SPRITZ
Ah yes, the cocktail that spurred countless Instagram posts and a hotly-debated New York Times think piece. Aperol, the part sweet, part bitter Italian aperitivo, has been around since the ‘50s, but it wasn’t until an intense marketing campaign led by Campari that the drink became a stateside sensation. The buzz has since mellowed a bit, but expect to still see the orange-hued cocktail on your feed come June.
2019: LOW ABV ALTERNATIVES
While consumers at the beginning of the decade were primarily concerned with how to get drunk fast (hence the popularity of Four Loko), we’ve since entered into an era of low ABV and more thoughtfully sourced ingredients. It’s why hard kombucha and mocktails (and yes, even White Claws) have hit their stride now, and is a trend we’ll continue to see as we bid the 2010s adieu.
Written by Nicole Carullo