Julian Short represented South Africa at the World Class Bartender competition in Mexico earlier this year.
Battling it out with the best in the world behind the bar, Short didn’t get a podium finish but the experience was priceless.
“It’s something every bartender wants to do, to be able to say they represented their country on a global stage,” says Short.
Short is perfectly placed to then give an overview of cocktail trends and what’s hot and what’s not in bars in SA and around the world.
Ironically he says the first drinks trend is very close to home.
“More and more people are making cocktails at home. So people want to know what is in their favourite drink and how can they make it themselves.”
“Often I step into friends kitchens and then I make cocktails with whatever’s there. It’s a global trend now that people want to make signature cocktails in their own kitchens and bars,” says Short.
Another trend on the horizon is a rum craze that Short believes will soon hit SA.
“It’s gathered momentum overseas and this summer I’m pretty sure more and more people will be drinking rum cocktails.”
He points out that a craft rum movement will take longer to get their spirits to market so gin will still be a lingering spirit for the foreseeable future.
“Craft gin is relatively quick to produce so turnaround times to get it to bars mean that there is still a lot of gin out there, and good gins as well,” says Short.
When travelling overseas and competing with bartenders from around the world, Short said he noticed that SA can hold it’s own.
SA is not divorced from global drinks trends and in many aspects have added extra layers to make it feel more homegrown behind the bar.
Indigenous botanicals and flavours have coloured our spirits which Short says makes many of our drinks hold their own with global competitors.