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Brief Published: 23 Jan 2020

Why Genderless Cocktails Could Win Gen Z

Burger & Lobster

Young consumers may be embracing gender fluidity, but a study from UK restaurant Burger & Lobster suggests that at least 21% of UK drinkers remain uncomfortable ordering cocktails commonly associated with the opposite gender. To challenge this attitude, the bar launched a range of nameless, colourless cocktails.

The drinks riff on classic recipes such as the mojito, Negroni, cosmopolitan and margarita. Rather than reference these names, the menu gives each cocktail a number and lists them according to their ingredients. A Negroni is listed as cacao-coconut, while a cosmopolitan is denoted as vodka-rhubarb-apple. To further erase lingering cues of masculinity and femininity, each drink is clear in colour – achieved by heating the juices used as mixtures, then removing the remaining solids (a process known as clarification).

These clear drinks nod at the playful beverage we noted in Fluid Flavours, part of our Spotlight Trend The Future of Flavour. It’s not just bars embracing eye-catching menu riffs – as featured in Top 3 Restaurant Trends 2019, Atlanta pop-up restaurant Nakamura-ke lures diners with glow-in-the-dark ramens and cocktails. Such sensory manipulation is a clever way to appeal to Gen Z consumers who, as we mention in Gen Z Rewrites Food Culture, are judicious when it comes to alcohol consumption, but open to one-of-a-kind indulgences.

Removing references to gender is an astute strategy when devising products for younger consumers. As we describe in Beyond Diversity and The Green, Clean Man, the fashion and beauty industries are embracing a genderfluid approach to product development, using varied colours and shapes to subvert stereotypical gender roles. Consumer demand for gender-neutral products is a development the hospitality and food service industry will also need to reckon with. For more on the future of gender representation, see The Consumer of 2035: Inclusivity Outlook.