Des Moines, IA – Crafted drinks aren't a new concept, but they're gaining popularity in bars, hotels and even on cruise lines across America.
Skilled mixologists like Nick Eldredge, at Americana Restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa, are pushing boundaries on what can go into a cocktail and how it's made.
"I think that's the cool thing about mixology is you're understanding how people's palates are changing and they're getting a little more sophisticated," said Eldredge.
Bar patrons are familiar with classic techniques -- like shaking and stirring-- but may not know that mixing, straining and muddling can each give a different flavor to the alcohol.
"James Bond really ruined it for everybody when he said 'shaken, not stirred' cause there are a lot of good cocktails that are stirred," said Eldredge.
His bartenders like to use other techniques patrons are less familiar with, like using fire on fruit peels to get oils and heating up alcohol to change flavors.
More than just alcohol and juices, mixology movement cocktails have herbs, fruits, candy, and specially prepared ice to put a twist on vintage drinks and even create some never done before.
"What we try to do is find out what some of these cocktails are and where they came from and then figure out how they really started. Then go back to those original flavors so we're not using so much artificial," said Eldredge.
While Eldredge says he thinks drink making can be an art form and should inspire people to try something new.
The mixology movement extends beyond traditional bars. One cruise line is serving up custom cocktails in a pharmacy-style setting in the middle of the ocean.
Carnival Cruise lines rolled out Alchemy, a vintage-themed bar on their ships, specifically for guests looking for high end cocktails.
"They still want fun in the sun, I think they still want umbrellas in their drinks but they want to know that they have a really great drink in their hands as well," said Edward Allen, vice president of Carnival's beverage operations.
Six of the ships in their fleet have the Alchemy bar. They train mixologists not only to prepare drinks but make it part of the entertainment out on the high seas.
"I think our guests realize that Alchemy is an experience. It's not just a bar to go to, grab a drink on the way to some other destination. They are really coming to Alchemy, finding the bar, claiming it as their own," said Allen.
Like Carnival Cruise Lines, bars all over are taking note of the atmosphere to go along with their specialty cocktails. Heather Greene of New York's Flatiron Room says there are fun ways to play with flavors but restaurants also have to be mindful of ambiance.
"A speakeasy or a very mellow kind of bar is an antidote to a really rough day. It asks you to slow down, enjoy conversation and enjoy what you're drinking," said Greene.
Greene's specialty is whiskey. She plays with ingredients to bring out different flavors for the same alcohol.
"Some of the great aromatics that are delivered by whiskey are fig, cinnamon, orange, lemon, vanilla, coconut. And what I like to teach bartenders to do, or home bartenders to do, is to really kind of tease out those aromatics and play off of them," said Greene.
She says while new drinks are fun, you can't go wrong with centuries old concoctions.
"Old fashions and Manhattans are easy to make, they taste great and they really deliver all the full spectrum of wonderful aromatics that come out of a whiskey," said Greene.
Eldredge, Allen, and Greene agree more customers are looking for better quality drinks. They care about what alcohol and mixers are put into their glass and are interested in learning about how the drinks are made. Eldredge said he expects many more restaurants to catch onto the trend and that people will begin to understand, “that’s how it should be done.”
Reed McDowell contributed to this report.