Having just returned from the onslaught of incessant trendy libations and cocktail culture known as Tales of the Cocktail, which happened this year in New Orleans July 18-24, the Houston Press has gathered the most abhorrent trends that made themselves known in the worst way at the largest booze conference in the world. These trends are undoubtedly heading to Houston whether you want them to or not. Some are bad. Some are bizarre, but all seem inevitable.
6. These Annoying, Godforsaken Drink Clips
All it took was one bartender to use these tiny craft-store clothespins in a cocktail competition and now it's all over. These stupid little clips, essentially just mini clothespins, are everywhere. In fact, they've been starting to make the rounds on worst-of lists and WTF-themed articles among booze writers. You probably can't even find them at Michael's Stores anymore. When you spot the first one in Houston, please notify us immediately so we can close off the area for quarantine ET-style.
5. Even More Tattoos
Bartenders love tattoos. That's no secret. But if you can believe it, at least two parties at Tales of the Cocktail featured actual tattoo artists giving away both branded (Slow & Low whiskey neck tat, anyone?) and non-branded (regular old scorpion neck tat, anyone?) ink to attendees. Granted, the waiting lists to get a tattoo were ridiculous, but this all makes one thing very clear: Bartenders love ink so much that tattoo artists are now a party feature. It's only a matter of time before somebody finds a legal way to make tattoo artists an actual bar feature.
4. Annoying Paper Straws
They melt. They disintegrate. They do what they did back in the days when paper straws were actually worthwhile, back when they contained Pixy Stix candy, which is to get soggy, sticky, crumbly and disgusting, and yet they keep appearing in cocktails, primarily those of the rather gimmicky French or Italian nature. But honestly, the cocktail industry's huge sustainability movement will likely put an end to this trend anyway.
3. Bartenders Trained to Kill
Well, they're already in Houston. That's right, the city has its own Bartender Boxing Organization, as do many other cities, and at TOTC, bartenders from the Bayou City boxed bartenders from Los Angeles, duking it out in front of hundreds of bartenders to earn the first titles in what's certain to be an ongoing championship, sponsored by tequila brand Cazadores.
Houston's own Jess Householder of Prohibition Bar took home the women's title. Really, it's not a bad thing that these bartenders are advocating a healthy lifestyle; it's just a little terrifying that they took up a sport that can leave you with a bashed-in face, but whatever.
2. These Frightening Drinking Turbans
We're not really sure how you'd actually describe these glittery turbans that everybody and his or her mother seemed to be wearing around Tales of the Cocktail other than...drinking turbans? Are we supposed to don these before consuming endless amounts of vodka and "being fabulous," as the meddling youths call it? If it's luxury vodka brand Absolut Elyx's purpose in life to make the world look like Blanche Devereaux, it appears to be succeeding. These things start out at $129 each.
1. Cumbersome Drinking Vessels
Behold a squirrel that is cute beyond twee-ness and impossible to drink out of because it's so damn heavy. It could at least be grabbed by the tail, the squirrelly thing. Its copper friend, a rabbit, was heavier than a dumbbell, with an unruly top half that threatened to fall off and break your toe if you so much as moved. We're guessing these copper drinking vessels are actually prototypes because they were way too awkward to actually enjoy drinking from, unless of course they were propped on a bar the whole time and you just bent over to sip — not the case at a party hundreds-deep.
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We're all for cool barware, though. We spotted a bartender with his own pentagram strainer, particularly functional and extremely metal. Though we do have to admit, the gnomes pictured below (they're cups, not shakers) are super-cool. Still, they'll set you back a cool $99.
What bar trends are you absolutely sick of? Leave a comment and let us know.