Cocktails continue to grow in the UK’s on-trade, reports CGA

Mojito Matthew Clark

The amount of cocktails being drunk in Britain’s bars, pubs and clubs continues to grow, according to new research – but the Mojito remains the UK’s number one.

The annual Mixed Drinks Report from on-trade research specialist CGA Strategy, published today, found that the volume of cocktail sales rose by 4% in the last six months. This is in contrast to total wet sales which were down 7% compared to the previous six months.

It also reveals that “sophisticated” and lower-strength drinks such as the Pornstar Martini and Espresso Martini have risen in popularity among consumers over the last six months.

However, other more established serves that are higher in alcohol, including the Long Island Iced Tea, have fallen slightly out of favour.

“Skinny” and light mixed drinks have risen in popularity, with a fifth (20%) of frequent cocktail drinkers now saying they always prefer to order one.

CGA predicts that both trends are likely to continue through this summer – the peak trading season for cocktails.

The Mojito remains the UK’s favourite cocktail in the on-trade, with 41% of respondents saying they like to drink it.

Vodka is the most commonly used spirit in cocktails but speciality spirits are now close behind in second place.

Cocktails are most popular among women but men enjoy them too: 52% of women say they drink cocktails and 35% of men.

CGA Strategy’s research also highlights opportunities for the on-trade to get a greater share of the cocktail market. Cocktail promotions are a big driver of footfall, with 80% of people likely to visit a venue because it was running one.

Two in five (39%) are influenced in their choice of drink by bartenders’ recommendations. Price is an important consideration too, and a third (34%) of those who do not drink cocktails say they are put off by the expense.

Tom Lynch, commercial director at CGA Strategy, said: “Our latest research further reinforces the scale of the cocktail category and the breadth of cocktail consumption when people go out to drink.

“We’re now seeing a far greater variety of serves making their way into the consumers’ repertoire, with more adventurous flavours and increasingly sophisticated mixology now permeating the mainstream for the first time.

“We’re also seeing the rise of healthier, lower-strength serves, mirroring similar trends that we’ve seen in wine and beer, providing operators with a challenge: extend your menus to meet increasingly diverse customer expectations, while maintaining cost control in a challenging category to deliver efficiently.”

The Mixed Drinks Report is available from CGA Strategy now. Visit

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