Sweet and spicy, fruity and fragrant, sharp and refreshing. These are just some of the words you might want to get used to as flavoured spirits become more and more of a ‘thing’.
The ‘thing’ we’re talking about is not some summertime fad, or novelty drink topped off with a cocktail umbrella. It’s a growing trend, borne out of experimentation and a demand for using less calorific mixers. They also offer a new twist on our classic favourites.
A fruit flavoured gin or a watermelon infused cocktail requires a simple tonic or low-calorie lemonade to bring it to life. With increasingly health-conscious consumers, it makes sense that our spirits need to work harder!
Rums the Word
Rums are one of the last spirits to join the party. Typically sticking to more traditional flavours like raspberry, lemon and coconut, they are only just breaking away from the norm.
The newly launched Bacardi Ginger Rum is one of these, released in response to “demand for flavoured spirits”. It’s best served with cola or lemonade to complement its distinctive flavour.
Other full-strength flavours to look out for include Clement Creole Shrubb flavoured rum and Ron Aguere Vintage Honey rum.
Gin the Lead
Gin continues to lead the way in the spirits industry, with a wide range of infusions and flavours bursting onto the scene.
Winners of the Supermarket Own Branded Spirits Range in the International Spirits Challenge, Lidl continue to be at the heart of innovative buzzworthy spirits in the supermarket category.
Their Hortus range is testament to this, with a newly vamped ‘Pomegranate & Rose Gin Liqueur’, which according to their head buyer Paul McQuade: “Will strengthen and diversify the Hortus offering, moving it on from the popular existing varieties which focus on sweet fruits, and basing this addition on the recent floral spirits trend.”
Meanwhile, just in time for the festive season, Marks & Spencer are introducing a ‘Christmas flavoured gin’, featuring wintery flavours such as ginger, cardamom and cinnamon.
Not to be outdone, Aldi’s passion fruit gin, and B&M’s bubblegum flavoured gin deserve a noteworthy mention, along with the rather dazzling ‘parma violet gin’ by Whitley Neill, delicious!
Vodka Holds its Own
The vodka market might have stalled in the face of the rise of gin, but vodka mixed drinks remain popular.
Smirnoff, one of the leaders in the vodka category has also responded to this demand, with a range of infused varieties, including a mouth-watering watermelon, a sumptuous sorbet light lemon bottle and every fruit you can think of mix. While quirky flavours such as whipped cream, fluffed marshmallow, root beer float and iced cake are among its most creative and best flavoured vodkas, perfect for celebrations and get-togethers.
Novelty or innovative, we’re yet to decide but Naga has launched a chilli vodka and there’s even a bacon vodka bottle by Bakon for those feeling particularly adventurous!
Not forgetting a nod to the health conscious, FAIR brought out a quinoa vodka which is said to have very neutral aromas adding a silky finish to cocktails!
It seems no spirit is immune to the flavour trend. Patron has enjoyed an upgraded version for those who enjoy strong flavours with its potent ‘Dark XO Café and Cocoa’ blend that is 30% proof!
Whisky is one of the few spirits that has sustained their sensibility throughout the flavoured phase. Those that do venture, tend to stick to warm honey and ginger additions. However, Knob Creek’s Smoked Maple is a timely addition, great for the autumn/winter months ahead.
Top Five Quirky Pours
So many spirits, so little time, here’s our top five unusual tipples, to fully immerse yourself in the spirit scene!
- Whitley Neill Parma Violet Gin
- The ROAR Salted Caramel Tequila
- Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka
- Aske Stephenson Sesame and Popcorn Daiquiri
- Chase Marmalade Vodka
Infusing alcohol and spirits, changing flavours, exploring new taste's and ingredients, if this sounds like something you would like to explore, then mixology could be of interest to you. Find out about mixology in our blog Mixology: What Is It Exactly?