Over the last 15 years, the world of drinks has been rapidly evolving-new spirits from around the globe have been introduced in the U.S., and food trends like the locavore movement have inspired bartenders to experiment. Looking back, it's amazing to see how diverse beverage options have become. In the mid-1990s, sushi soared in popularity. As a result, sake became a beverage of choice for Americans enjoying Japanese food. Sake is brewed from rice and a special starter mold called koji. When Nobu opened in 1994, sake slowly started going mainstream, and today it's often paired with non-Japanese food, too.
At the turn of the millenium, Latin food suddenly exploded in the States. As Nueva Latino cuisine increased its hold over the American imagination, drinks from the same culinary genre took hold, too. From the Cuban mojito to the Brazilian caipirinha, muddled drinks with mint began appearing on drink menus across the country.
Once the local, organic, and sustainable trend started influencing restaurants, drinks needed to meet new standards. Craft beers, super premium tequilas, single-barrel bourbons, and biodynamic wines provoked excitement in food enthusiasts. These products attempt to distill the "foodie ethos" into liquid form by focusing on great ingredients and refined techniques.
The last 15 years have been immensely exciting for drinks. As the food world continues to expand, mixology will grow today, incorporating new techniques and beverages into an encyclopedia or alcoholic deliciousness. To read more about drinks from specific countries, click here. For a list of the 15 drink trends of the last 15 years, click here.