According to a survey conducted by the National Restaurant Association of almost 2,000 professional chefs, culinary cocktails and artisan liquor both rank in the top 20 tends for menus items in 2010. The chefs surveyed are all members of the American Culinary Federation. Additional alcohol trends include organic beer, wine, and spirits, food-beer pairings, craft beer, gluten-free beer, specialty beer, and organic cocktails whipped up by special chef/mixologists.
The idea is for chefs to excite diners’ palates by pairing food and drink to enhance their dining experience. “The culture of food preparation has changed dramatically,” says Michael Ty, American Culinary Federation national president. “Consumers are more affluent, and they are bold and more demanding when it comes to their dining expectations.”
Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of the NRA points out that in addition to the recent sustainable food concept of locally sourcing food to the restaurant table, chefs and ‘beer sommeliers’ now strive to select and combine complementary solid and liquid flavors. The culinary cocktail transports the dining experience “beyond the traditional drink into more complex and adventurous culinary landscapes, often with savory ingredients such as bacon, hot peppers, and fresh herbs.”
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