Seasonality shaking up cocktail trends in the US On Premise

As cocktails continue to hold a strong allure in the On Premise, CGA by NIQ's latest US Consumer Impact Report shows how consumer attitudes towards the category vary considerably depending on the season, unveiling trends and opportunities for beverage suppliers and operators to seize in 2023.
Download the snapshot

The latest report sheds light on how the changing seasons significantly influence consumers’ cocktail preferences. In the summer, a substantial 79% of consumers seek refreshing cocktails to cool down. Iced cocktails dominate too, with 57% of people choosing them compared to just 17% in the colder season.


In winter however, people’s focus shifts towards warming beverages (47%), with consumers choosing them when in the On Premise. Interestingly, even during the winter, a significant 43% of drinkers still opt for cooling drinks, suggesting opportunities for more refreshing options during the colder months.


Meanwhile, other purchase drivers such as cocktails that pair well with food, their sessionability, and their colour do not show significant seasonal differences. Regardless of the season however, colour does play a big part in influencing consumer choices when selecting cocktails. The report reveals that pink and red cocktails hold the highest appeal, attracting a substantial 53% of consumers. Orange and blue closely follow, capturing the interest of 50% and 48% of cocktail drinkers, respectively. Bars and restaurants can leverage colour psychology to their advantage by creating visually enticing cocktails that align with customer preferences.


Cocktail flavour is also crucial in attracting consumer interest, too. During the summer, fruity, sweet, and refreshing profiles dominate, appealing to 56% of consumers, and berry- and citrus-flavoured drinks follow closely at 53% and 42%, respectively. In contrast, the winter season witnesses a shift towards heartier aromas, particularly coffee-based cocktails (37%), as the top choice for winter users, with creamy profiles and hot drinks (28%) following. These insights underscore the importance of crafting seasonally relevant cocktail menus to cater to varying palates.


When it comes to cocktail choices, consumers exhibit a preference for both familiarity and uniqueness during the summer. Well-known recipes – like Margaritas – hold the top spot, preferred by 64% of consumers, yet riffs on these classics appeal to 53% of cocktail drinkers. Additionally, consumers express an inclination towards signature cocktails (45%) that are unique to a specific venue.


Bars and restaurants can capitalise on these preferences by offering a mix of classic favourites and innovative concoctions, yet venues can also rely on bartenders to influence consumers’ choices – 60% of cocktail drinkers admit to taking a recommendation from bar staff when selecting a drink.


Matthew Crompton, regional director – North America said: “The US On Premise cocktail scene is a dynamic landscape influenced by seasonal preferences. By crafting seasonally relevant cocktail menus, harnessing the power of colour psychology, and training bartenders as brand or category ambassadors, brands and operators can effectively cater to the diverse taste preferences of American customers and seize new opportunities in the market.”


*CGA’s Consumer On Premise Impact Report uses data from a survey (July 19-21 2023) of 1,599 consumers within Florida, Texas, California and New York to explore their expectations, desires and how they plan to behave in the next two weeks.


The report tracks how consumers currently feel about the On Premise, and how the sector can position its offering to increase visitation. The latest Impact Report snapshot by CGA can be found here. For more information on the Impact Report subscription, click here.


For more information, please contact Matthew Crompton at

Recent posts:

Share post


Subscribe to our newsletter

Access the latest On Premise news and reports by signing up below.