The work-from-home lifestyle has spurred the trend of quick-fixes in the kitchen. People are not just customising recipes to suit their needs but are also trying to go beyond taste and convenience to understand the various facets attached to food and drink—and this includes provenance, nutritional value and environmental cost. These themes are central to defining the 'beverage and drinks' trends of 2021.
1. Easy does it
Between online yoga sessions and 10 am Zoom calls, one can squeeze in a few minutes to brew coffee. Pour-over packets and instant coffee sachets are a must-have for time-constrained Mondays. “Homebound coffee drinking is yielding more convenient coffee formats like concentrates, steeped, single-serve bags and edible coffee snacks,” reads the WGSN Food & Drink forecasts for 2021. In India, a few brands such as Blue Tokai, Subko and Araku are offering pour-over coffee sachets. Meanwhile, Pooja Dhingra's Le15 recently launched Dipkies (a bite-sized cookie that can be dipped in teas and coffees) as a perfect accompaniment to your home-brewed coffee.
2. Cooking with tea
Lounge columnist, Aravinda Anantharaman, wrote about cooking with tea in her weekend column. And this experimentation is likely to become a huge trend in the new year as well. “Although cooking with tea and incorporating tea into cocktails has been very popular in the West, it’s a slowly-developing trend in India, which we believe will really catch on in 2021. This is, in part, because of how versatile tea is, complementing our five senses and working well with so many different cuisines,” says Priti Arora, founder of the tea label Karma Kettle.
3. Drinks from waste
The pandemic propelled the need to be more sustainable in our food and drink choices, and brands have started to pay for attention to the waste generated during the production process. The husk of the coffee bean and the pulp of the cacao pod are often discarded in the making of coffee and chocolate. But, coffee husk, known as cascara, is now being used to brew tisanes, while the cacao pulp can be a used for a cooling drink. “It can be a flavourful alternative to coconut water, topped with eye catching edible flowers for the perfect non-alcoholic refresher,” reads the Baileys Treat Report 2021. Last year, Blue Tokai launched cascara and Lounge did a story on the many ways to try this drink.
4. The rise and rise of Rosé wines
“Blush wines pair very well with vegetarian food,” shares Sonal Holland, the founder of SoHo Wine Club and the Sonal Holland Wine Academy in Mumbai. She predicts that the blush-coloured styles of Moscato wines with its medium-sweet taste and low-alcohol content will continue to rise in popularity. Be prepared to add more rosés, from French Provence, Italy and Spain, to your home bar in 2021.
5. Learn as you sip
Food and drinks-related Instagram lives and webinars will continue undeterred. The pandemic unlocked online conversations about health tonics by wellness experts, cocktails lessons by bartenders and industry knowledge by business leaders. Holland predicts that both consumers and professionals in the trade will continue to consume education about beverages and wine well into the new year. For excellent classic cocktail recipes, check out the Three Barstools on YouTube run by the team behind Sidecar in Delhi. For trends and industry news, scroll through the Instagram lives of @GetGurglin, an independent beverage e-zine.