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Food by VICE

Millennials Want to Drink Cocktails That Their Parents Liked in the 70s

A report says that young people are ready to return to the days of Long Island Iced Teas, Mai Tais, and Screwdrivers. Oh, and they want to smoke weed.

by Hilary Pollack
Sep 9 2015, 4:45pm

Photo via Flickr user Sam Howzit

Rust Cohle of True Detective once famously said that time is a flat circle. Sure, he was referring to the "terrible and secret fate of all life," but this principle also applies to less heavy matters. The resurgence of those stretch plastic chokers from the 90s, for instance.

Or cocktail culture.

A decade ago, we were transitioning between the competing popularities of the gaudy Sex and the City glamour of the Cosmopolitan, the AXE body spray-laced celebration of Jägermeister shots, and, eventually, the austere masculinity of the Old Fashioned. But looking further back, there was an era between our parents' disco days and our own coming-of-drinking-age when cocktails were largely forgotten. Take, for instance, this Wall Street Journal timeline of cocktail culture, which skips directly from the Harvey Wallbangers of the 1980s to the vested, Manhattan-reworking bartenders of the last 15 years.

RECIPE: The Best Piña Colada

What happened in between? We forgot all about the Tequila Sunrises and Screwdrivers that our parents sipped dearly in their youths. But now, we want to call them our own.

According to a report by the Innovation Group from ad agency J Walter Thompson, the cocktail movement is full speed ahead … toward the fanciful, rum- and tequila-laced drinks of the 70s and 80s.

Lucie Greene, worldwide director at the Innovation Group, tells Harper's UK that although young people and consumers in general have increasingly sophisticated palates relative to previous generations, they are also "unapologetically celebrating the synthetic hues of retro ingredients such as crème de menthe and blue curaçao."

What else do "Millennials" like in their food and drink? Quality ingredients, integrated use of technology, and "visual stimulation"—the latter of which may explain our renewed interest in a mint-green Grasshopper topped with chocolate shavings, or a Mai Tai with 11 garnishes. After all, if you didn't Instagram your fancy cocktail, did it ever even happen?

Something else that you'll be seeing more of: weed. According to the report, nearly three-quarters of American Millennials and about 58 percent of those in the UK think that in the next decade, our old friend marijuana will become as acceptable as alcohol for recreational use.

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"Marijuana is great," Greene said, "so long as you describe it as gourmet and it comes with a sommelier."

The report also predicts that food and drink of the years to come will be a "'mashing up' of health and hedonism," according to Harper's. One possible application of this dualistic spirit: an untraditional exercise class followed immediately by a drinks session.

Can't wait till our Pilates comes with a pot-laced piña colada. The future is a beautiful place.