17 food and drink trends for 2024 - from offal to the return of the martini

As we start to pack away the Christmas decorations, thoughts turn to what this year may have in store.

Published 3rd Jan 2024
Updated 4 th Jan 2024

From new year's resolutions to what's in fashion, there's plenty to think about, but what are the main food and drink trends for 2024?

A range of Scottish business owners, chefs and bartenders have shared their predications on what will be on trend for 2024, from offal and solo dining to world whiskies and classic cocktails.

Food trends for 2024

Offal

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Picture: Shutterstock

It may be a turnoff for some (and many people's idea of food hell), but Dean Parker, chef patron of Celentano’s in Glasgow says that we’ll see more chefs experimenting with the whole carcass and using every part of the animal.

This, he said, helps to reduce costs and ensure goals of sustainability are met. Dishes you may see include cods’ head Linguine and pigs’ head ragu.

Scott Smith, chef patron of Fhior, Edinburgh, agreed and said menus will become more fluid and become more ingredient-led using those ‘think on your feet’ skills adopted throughout covid - taking in a whole carcass, whole fish, and plentiful seasonal vegetables for example and developing a menu around what you have.

Paul Wedgwood at Wedgwood Restaurant on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh has always championed offal and in particular haggis.

Currently on the menu is his pheasant haggis with confit leg terrine. In 2024, Paul will also team up with Castle Hill Game to create a seasonal range of haggis to be sold to restaurants and direct to customers.

Obscure ingredients

The 2024 trends report from Resy said that ‘today’s diners are more educated than ever and looking for quality, transparency, and uniqueness’.

Scott Smith’s development of Mixtapes at Fhior, Edinburgh, an intimate supper club series with a compilation menu of classics, does just that with ingredients such as Shh’annu Lamb, Skirlie and Beremeal.

Paul Wedgwood at Wedgwood Restaurant on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh has always been experimental with offal, invasive species and foraging. Often you can find squirrel, Japanese knotweed and three-cornered leek on the menu.

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Asian fermentation

As chefs look for new ways to create innovative and unique flavours in their dishes and with ingredients, Asian-style fermentation is popping up on fine-dining menus, which should see further exploration in 2024.

Sam Yorke at the Michelin-starred Heron, Edinburgh uses koji with turbot, grape and almond and Scott Smith at Fhior, also uses koji in his cauliflower dish with apricot whilst using ume boshi together with celeriac and bay leaf.

Drink trends for 2024

Gut-health focus

alcohol-free
Picture: Left Field Kombucha

Waitrose Trend Report mentioned that we would be seeing more microbe ingredients that benefit mental health and support the gut-brain axis.

Using gut-busting ingredients to create mindful cocktails such as kombucha, is an example, which can be enjoyed with or without alcohol.

Bars are also soon to be adding things like apple cider vinegar and kombu, an Asian seaweed.

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Asian flavours in cocktails

We’ve already seen the spike of a chilli margarita, mixologists are going to take this one step further experimenting with spices and ferments from kimchi and miso to Yuzu, Sake, and Soju.

This can be found in the Celentano’s, Kimchi Margarita, Miso Rum Punch and the Cranberry and Sparkling Sake. At Lady Libertine, Edinburgh, Gochujang- a fermented chilli paste popular in Korea is used in their On the Dot Cocktail.

Bar manager of Lady Libertine, Douglas Murray said: "Asian flavours and spirits are seeing a big boom in the UK bar scene.

"Yuzu, Sake, and Soju being ever present in cocktail menus up and down the country, however we see more and more influence from other flavours that are common in the East."

The Whisky Exchange also predicts a surge in Asian spirits in 2024, including Baijiu, Awamori and whiskies are gaining prominence on the global stage.

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For example, Ming River Baiju, Mizuho Island Spirits Ryukyu Awamori and Goalong Blended Chinese Whiskey.

The team at Edinburgh's Copper Blossom predict a year of unusual fusions of flavour.

Marco Airoldi, general manager for Copper Blossom, said: said: "following a successful summer of spritz cocktails on the terrace and a preference for unusual fusions of flavour, the team have created a series of serves that combine everything from Jack Daniels, malbec and prosecco to plum sake and allspice syrup."

Tequila based drinks on the rise

food and drink trends 2024
Picture: Shutterstock

The team at Copper Blossom said it will come as no surprise that Tequila sales are booming, however, there is a notable shift around the agave spirit once being ordered as a shot.

It is, more recently, being appreciated for its caramel or spiced flavour profile being enhanced in a cocktail.

Tomi Carlsson, bar manager of Ness Walk, Inverness added: "the conversation around ethically and sustainably produced tequila brands is helping to grow interest in this versatile spirit that offers a great base for cocktails.

"We love to get creative with flavours in the well-known Margarita and will be featuring more in 2024”

Non-alcoholic beer, cocktails and wine

The trend for low or no drinks will continue into 2024 with new research from Alcohol Change UK, the charity behind Dry January, revealing that amongst UK adults (excluding non-drinkers), 30% of men and 26% of women would like to reduce the amount of alcohol they drink in 2024.

As well as the usual non alcoholic beer, mocktails and spirits we have become used to, tea-based drinks, infusions and syrups will be on trend in 2024.

Douglas Murray explained: "Tea as an ingredient in cocktails is on the up. Being used in infusions and to make great herbal syrups.

"Bars across the globe are using teas as a consistent flavour component, with now great access to a wide variety of tea styles, Lapsang Souchong a tea from China can add some intense smoky flavours to any drink

Non alcoholic Scottish companies are on the up, with Jump Ship Brewing, the first non-alcoholic brewery in Scotland, will open its doors with a new distillery tour experience in January for sober curious beer drinkers.

In Fife, Feragaia has recently appointed a new distiller at the helm of the non alcoholic spirit brand, which saw a strong year of growth in 2023 and the launch of new ready to drink cans.

Classic cocktails make a comeback

food and drink trends 2024
Picture: Shutterstock

2023 saw the return of the margarita with the popularity of mezcal and tequila and with nostalgia and comfort still on the agenda for 2024, retro cocktails are set to make a return.

The Dirty Martini at Michelin-starred Heron, Edinburgh uses salty fingers, a coastal herb to give it a briny, almost savoury taste. Fhior in Edinburgh’s ‘Gooseberry Boshi Martini’ replaces olive brine with salted gooseberries.

The Whisky Exchange also highlighted nostalgia as a big drinks trend for 2024. The team there said: "The coming year is set to be defined by a return to the classics, with consumers seeking comfort and familiarity in their drink choices.

"Nostalgia will play a pivotal role, influencing those to choose drinks that evoke memories and timeless experiences."

The team at Copper Blossom agreed, saying: "Whilst the appetite for unusual flavour combinations continues to grow, consumers are still hunting for a sense of comfort and embracing nostalgic, classic serves such as cosmopolitans, negronis and martinis which remain a menu staple."

Sustainable wine

wine books
Picture: Shutterstock

In 2024, the key word in wine will be sustainable. Wines with chemicals are set to lose popularity as people are mindful of their health.

Valerio, sommelier at Torrish, Inverness said: "handcrafted and artisanal winemaking will be embraced and we will seek out quality. Two grapes to look out for in 2024 are Greek red variety, Xinomavro and white grape from Spain, Godello."

Brandy takes centre stage

The Whisky Exchange predicts that this old-school Christmas special is set to be the drink for 2024.

They said that unique blends like Seven Tails brandy, a harmonious fusion of Cognac, Armagnac, and 'French brandy,' are set to capture the attention of enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, while the classics like Cognac and Armagnac are back in the limelight.

Ticket sales for The Whisky Exchange’s Cognac Show were up by 20% on the previous year, and three times as many Dream Pour tokens sold, indicating a significant increased interest in the category.

World whiskies are on the rise

While Scotch remains a favourite, consumers are ready to explore the unexpected frontiers of world whisky as the spotlight shifts towards a diverse range of whiskies from around the world.

Beyond the familiar territories of American, Japanese and Irish whiskies, we’re delving into surprising places - French whisky, New Zealand and Nordic whiskies, in particular, are gaining popularity, offering consumers exciting alternatives to expand their whisky horizons.

Notably, brands like Thomson New Zealand Whisky, Stauning and Haut Glaces are all experiencing significant growth in volume.

Vodka’s revival

Nadar vodka

Vodka in 7% category growth is experiencing a revival in 2024.

Now sourced globally and crafted from a diverse array of ingredients, ranging from peas (Arbikie's Nadar) to Japanese Ukiyo Rice Vodka, expect even more new and innovative expressions to emerge.

Considered luxury

In a departure from excess, consumers are embracing a philosophy of "less is more" when it comes to their drink’s choices.

Measured luxury will be a key trend, with people opting to purchase fewer drinks but choosing those of higher quality, with each consumption becoming a special occasion.

Drink experiences

Much like dining, consumers want an experience when it comes to drinks.

Events like The Whisky Exchange's popular drinks shows (Whisky Show, Champagne Show, Cognac Show and Rum Show) have become sell-out successes, reflecting a growing appetite for immersive and educational experiences.

Dining culture in 2024

Immersive dining

Scran chefs

There’s no doubt the cost-of-living crisis has caused diners to stop and think where they spend their money.

Scott Smith of Fhior, has noticed the decline in footfall but those who do come are opting for the ten-course tasting menu for the full experience, so when people do come out, they want it to be special.

The same can be said for Calum Montgomery at the award-winning Edinbane Lodge on the Isle of Skye, who now only offers a 10-course tasting dinner menu.

This, he said, allows him and his team to take you on a memorable culinary adventure that truly showcases the seasonal ingredients grown in abundance on Skye.

Calum will also open two new suites in January 2024 featuring private garden access to provide a complete destination dining experience to more diners.

Chef Craig Grozier’s brand-new Fallachan Kitchen, Glasgow, allows diners, solo or as a group up to a maximum of 12, to communal dine and meet new people.

The nine-course tasting menu, showcasing Fallachan’s unwavering commitment to hyper-seasonal produce to create unique, produce-driven dishes in a modern-Scottish style of cooking.

Craig and his team frequently forage for wild food around Scotland, utilising ancient preservation techniques to compliment the freshest ingredients that they source exclusively from Scotland and around the UK.

Ballintaggart in Perthshire has been championing local, seasonal ingredients and communal dining as part of their feast dinners, which have been announced for 2024 and include Burns night, slow Sunday and shellfish.

Mingary Castle, which is situated in one of the most remote parts of Scotland on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula is a restaurant with rooms that, due to the remoteness of the location, sources a lot of the ingredients within a 50 mile radius and relies on produce from the local community.

Drinking and dining become one

Douglas Murray of Lady Libertine in Edinburgh said that he feels there will be a continued shift in drink culture.

The UK in particular has always seen a split between where customers eat and where they drink, but that is changing.

Experience is key now, and we are becoming much more aligned with European culture, where eating and drinking are enjoyed together as part of an event, rather than being considered separate occasions.

This can bee seen with the rise of wine and drinks pairings with meals, or small plates and cocktails, as seen at Stir in Edinburgh's Johnnie Walker Princes Street.

Copper Blossom in Edinburgh is also betting on this trend with their small-plate menu which can be paired with cocktails.

Solo dining will continue to rise

According to Resy, they saw a 25% increase in bookings for one last year and diners are now more confident than ever to try out that new place they’ve been meaning to try even if their friends can’t make it.

The bar seats at Celentano’s, Glasgow is the perfect place to enjoy snacks such as Lasagna Fritte and Cod Doughnuts alongside a Kimchi Margarita.

Amuse by Kevin Dalgleish offers a refined and relaxed dining experience in the heart of Aberdeen and is packed with cosy nooks for solo diners.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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