Skip to main content

Costello on Cocktails: 2016 Trends

costello on cocktails 2016 trends beer and cocktail
From his current haunt at Ledlow in downtown, Tom Costello, a highly sought after bartender in Los Angeles, gives The Manual the skinny on upcoming trends, recipes, and some craft beer guidance.

Drink Local Craft Beer

Related Videos

The US currently has around 3,000 breweries, which means it only took us the better part of a century to get back to pre-Prohibition numbers, so where to even start when looking for good craft beer? Drink local. That’s a rule Costello lives by, especially when travelling. “With the laws governing distribution and sales of alcohol in the US and the cost of distributing product over large distances, some of the best beers in the country are only available regionally: Third Rail in New York. Monkish and Three Weavers in Los Angeles. Cigar City in Tampa. If you’re in Virginia, you get to drink Port City!” Costello cautions that just because something appears to be a craft brew doesn’t necessarily mean it is. Ballast Point out of San Diego sold for somewhere around a measly ol’ billion dollars to Constellation Brands and LA’s own Golden Road was snapped up by AB-inBev. That fact doesn’t make them any less delicious; all it means is that if you want truly craft beer, it’ll take a moment more of research. According to Costello, sour beers (think Belgians) will be the big thing this summer.

Colonial Cocktails on the Rise

In 2016, cocktail trends are going way back, reviving a popular drink from the Colonial period (and maybe created by smugglers!): shrub cocktails. While it conjures up images of a tumbler of scotch garnished with unwieldy sprigs from a bush, it’s far more appetizing. “Shrubs are infused, vinegar-based syrups and are super-tasty…” Not only are you getting to party like it’s 1776, the shrub concept can also be applied to virtually any recipe you already love.

Costello promises it’s easy to make. “Simple syrup is a 1:1 or 1.5:1 or 2:1 sugar:water solution depending on preference. I like 1:1. Bring a volume of water to a boil, add the equal dry measure of sugar, stir. Chill. To infuse said syrup, add whatever aromatic or herb or fruit desired (example: Vanilla beans, basil, cranberries, pineapple) while you heat the water.

To make the syrup into a shrub, add a vinegar component (something fresh, preferably, example: Apple cider vinegar from [your] farmers market) after stirring in sugar.”

DIY Cocktails

Not into trends, but also haven’t found a cocktail to make your signature drink? Costello has an idea. “My feeling about creating new drinks is that the classics are your friend and your guide. Certain proportions just work well together. Example: A Manhattan is 2:1 whiskey to vermouth with a dash… of bitters. You can change that drink any number of ways – half/half sweet vermouth with dry; different flavor of bitters in whole or in part; take out vermouth altogether and add shrub (as vermouth was the sweetener). You never have to start from scratch and yet can create something new and distinct.”

Editors' Recommendations

The 8 best protein shakes that are ready-to-go
These shakes come with all the good stuff, and none of the crap

With as busy as we have become as a society, we always seem to be on the go. This can make life challenging, especially when it comes to wellness goals. In a perfect world, you could hit the gym hard, crush a workout, then immediately refuel with a balanced, home-cooked meal. But, since life happens and we are always on the go, it’s not always feasible to take the time to actually cook up a muscle-building meal right after your workout. Whether you’re on the go and short on time, or just can't stomach a full meal after exercising, having a quick and easy, protein-packed option that doesn’t require kitchen time, is a helpful alternative to refuel your body and maximize your results.

This is where protein shakes come in handy. Numerous ready-to-drink shakes are available that provide muscle-building protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories to fortify your body after a workout. They offer the benefits of protein powders with the convenience of eliminating the need for a shaker bottle, or high-speed blender, let alone making a mess with powders. Simply give the bottle a quick shake, pop the top, and you’re good to go.

Read more
The 7 best CBD-infused drinks we tried in 2023
These tasty CBD-infused drinks will have you feeling calmer in no time
Cans o RisEau cbd drinks.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, has been hot for a while now, making its way into everything from CBD teas to a variety of CBD coffee brands. If you're wondering "what is CBD?" — it's a naturally occurring compound present in cannabis plants. According to the World Health Organization, it's not addictive, has a solid safety profile, and won't get you high. In clinical trials, it's been effective in the treatment of epilepsy and shows promise in treating a number of other conditions.

In addition to CBD-infused water, tea, soda, and seltzer, another growing trend is CBD-infused nonalcoholic spirits and cocktails. The adult beverage market is flooded with CBD products promising to help you relax, sleep, destress, and mellow out, all without the hangover you'd get from booze (CBD is considered a controlled substance and can't be legally added to booze, at least not yet). We've rounded up a few of our favorite CBD-infused drinks below, from CBD cocktails to CBD water, so you can work your relaxation into your daily routine no matter where you are.

Read more
Here’s how to make a margarita, according to top bartenders
The only margarita recipes you'll ever need
margarita tequila cocktail lime strainer

The best margaritas do not grow on trees, nor do they show up in a can (although there are some tasty canned drinks these days). No, the tastiest version of the tequila classic is made fresh, with love and care and some wisdom from a couple of top bartenders.

It's a balancing act, for sure, but when it's dialed-in, the margarita is one of the best and most refreshing cocktails ever devised. The classic mix of agave spirit, lime, salt, and a touch of sweetness is great alone or with any number of dishes, especially within Mexican cuisine (the nation where the drink was born).

Read more