You really don’t have to have a crystal ball to predict some of the developments that will carry on to dominate Denver’s foods and beverage scene in 2022. The QR codes are in this article to stay and we’re warming up to 12 months-spherical outdoor dining. But what about the micro-traits that cooks and cocktail artisans are rooting for—the components they’re hoping we’ll chunk at and the drinks that they are betting will garner enjoyment in the new calendar year?
We posed the dilemma to area cooks and bartenders: “What tendencies do you be expecting will acquire off in 2022?” Here’s what they have to say.
Mezcal…as an Ingredient
You’ve found tequila-lime shrimp or whiskey-braised small ribs on cafe menus just before. Following up are mezcal-spiked dishes, predicts 3-time James Beard Award nominee Dana Rodriguez, who is opening Cantina Loca, a Mexican road food stuff place, on January 12 in LoHi. There, she’ll have a tasting home for her premium mezcal, Doña Loca. But the smoky agave spirit will also increase complexity to dishes like the cantina’s salsa borracha (a drunken salsa). Mezcal, she states, is ripe for culinary experimentation. As an instance: Last slide, she donated some of her small-batch mezcal to “Hispanic Top Chef,” a culinary competition held at Metropolitan Point out College by the Colorado-dependent Hispanic Cafe Affiliation. Utilized as a “secret ingredient,” one particular of the contestants established a delightfully sweet and smoky pork marinade.
Pizza, French fries, fried rooster, and mac ’n cheese ended up a element of the excellent comfort food stuff comeback of 2020 and 2021. Now, it’s time to consume your veggies. “I feel 2022 is the calendar year of vegetables—or just wholesome having in general,” predicts Jeff Osaka, proprietor of Osaka Ramen and Sushi-Rama restaurants. Osaka, for the to start with time, put a vegetable-centered ramen as the seasonal special on the menu at his RiNo ramen place. Loaded with roasted Brussels sprouts and mushrooms and designed with squash broth, sage-miso butter, and tofu, it’s been a well-known order in December, even in advance of the nutritious ingesting New Year’s resolutions.
Fermentation (But Make it More quickly)
Prior to there were being freezers and canned foodstuff, fermentation was the way to protect food items. Inside of the final couple of years, although, the generations-previous technique has designed a comeback, with kimchi, sauerkraut, yogurt, and kefir reaching star status, thanks in aspect to the possible gut health advantages they have.
Derek Simcik, the director of culinary functions for Sage Restaurant Concepts (Urban Farmer, Kachina Cantina, and additional), suggests he expects applications like OCOO to start out generating their way into kitchens. “Think of it as a pressure cooker for fermentation,” he claims. As an example, black garlic—which is refreshing garlic that is been aged and fermented—takes 3 several hours in its place of three months, he claims. The kitchen device can put together extensive-fermented pastes like Korean Gochujang or soybean paste in a matter of hrs, relatively than months.
Speaking of fermentation, Simcik says koji paste (a Japanese fermentation starter) is possessing a instant. “I really like rubbing a minimal bit of koji on beef and letting it sit for a little bit prior to support, as it brings a gamey or funky flavor, very similar to what you find in dry-aged, grass-fed beef,” he says.
A Aim on Asia
A few of decades back, coconut milk obtained level of popularity in the United States as a adaptable and dairy-absolutely free option to milk, states chef Taylor West, operator of Denver-dependent GetFed Ideas and a personal chef who qualified prospects sushi and dim sum pop-ups. West predicts miso and turmeric are about to be among the following “it” elements to take off stateside. He’s been applying miso a whole lot in his dishes, with the fermented paste adding umami to almost everything from starters to desserts.
“Miso caramel is anything I’ve been employing on my modern tasting menus and it’s been a genuinely pleasurable way to introduce the component to people,” he claims. As for turmeric, the golden spice has been made use of for generations in Ayurveda and conventional Chinese medication, and it has been popular in the United States in golden milk lattes and in nutritional supplement form. But the spice is getting a lot more mainstream (hope it in dishes and cocktails!) and Entire Foods set it on its record of top 10 foodstuff trends for 2022.
Experiential Dining (At Household)
To-go has been a go-to in the very last pair of many years, and the subsequent iteration of this pattern is a far more experiential takeaway working experience, predicts Denver restaurateur Frank Bonanno (his principles consist of Mizuna, Luca, Osteria Marco, and some others). “I can see common administrators starting off to search at these orders as a way to recreate the restaurant expertise at dwelling,” Bonanno claims. “More to-go cocktail possibilities? Possibly a regionally produced candle to insert some flare? A complimentary dessert? Themed menus? There are so several approaches to get resourceful.”
Cocktails with Big Flavors
The spicy margarita will maintain its popular cocktail crown and a lot more versions of it will arise in this agave-loving town, predicts Drew Stephens, bar manager at Green Russell near Union Station. He also expects filthy martinis with numerous brines and washes and infusions will acquire some momentum. The espresso martini could carry on to go potent as its a single that can be designed with liquors other than vodka (imagine: tequila or amaro) to contrast the sturdy coffee and chocolate notes.
Anything these beverages have in widespread? They are no shrinking violets. People bevvying up to the bar are craving “big, bold flavors and delicate, nuanced flavors have fallen out of the limelight,” Stephens says.
Gone (hopefully) are the times of juicing a lime or zesting a lemon and then tossing the fruit’s carcass out. Stephens suggests bartenders are finding additional resourceful, and accomplishing so in the identify of sustainability. “I hope we see factors like scrap cordials created with spent fruits and fruit skins along with repurposing outdated crimson wine, like Eco-friendly Russell does with our cranberry cordial,” Stephens claims. One more sustainability illustration at his bar is the acidulated purple wine which is manufactured by introducing citric acid to oxidized red wine to give it the very same punch as lemon or lime in a cocktail. It can be made use of in location of a lemon in some thing as straightforward as a whiskey sour, Stephens states, and tastes excellent.
Handle Yourself Mentality
Just after saving cash by cooking at household, friends are inclined to make some splurges when they dine out, in accordance to cooks from Hai Hospitality, the team behind RiNo’s Uchi. That implies patrons will go for those people higher-finish merchandise like caviar, A5 wagyu, and specialty fish and get best-shelf Japanese whiskies and sake.
Whiskey Cocktail Revival
We will need not rely the methods in which Coloradans like whisky (and whiskey-ahead bars). But whiskey cocktails are all set for a shakeup. “Bartenders and friends have so significantly to experiment with when wondering about whiskey,” claims Cooper Smith, function manager at 7 Grand Whiskey Bar on the Dairy Block. Together with the classics (Aged Fashioneds, Sazeracs, and Manhattans), expect to see much more assumed remaining poured into whiskey beverages. For case in point, Smith claims: Which cocktails work ideal with a rye vs. a bourbon? Can peated scotch be made use of outside of drinks like the Penicillin? Could the caffeinated Revolver be the following cocktail to make a comeback?