A few weeks ago, my colleague Pia Mara Finkell wrote about the top three wine trends she expected for 2014. Jumping on that bandwagon here are my predictions for the liquor trends we will see in 2014 to round out January, also known as the month of forecasts.
Gin is in – ‘Nuff said. Gin is one of the easier spirits to make, which means there will be more artisanal gin makers coming out of the woodwork. Plus, if you want to get technical, gin is also one of the “healthier” spirits out there (I use the term “healthy” VERY loosely hence the quotes, but it WAS used for medicinal purposes way back when). When you want a low-calorie drink, you’re best off with gin, seltzer and lime, which is also quite refreshing. But you name it, and the gin cocktail is usually the one with the lower calorie count. On top of that, gin drinks go really well with food!
Whiskies with flavors (for girls) – This is something that makes my husband cringe. If anyone messes with his whisky, they should go to H-E-double-hockey-sticks. But seriously, just this last year, there has been a dramatic shift by whisky makers to attract female drinkers and flavor is the solution. According to Nielsen research (as quoted in The New York Times), 75% of all whisky growth in 2012 was attributed to flavored whiskey. Women are the main purchaser in the household for alcohol (around 65-75%). Brands like Red Stag from Jim Beam, Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Honey and Fireball (which is an apparent favorite) are big sellers. They’re introductions for women, men are amused by them, and they’re doing nothing but flying off the shelves and allowing more room for new flavored whiskies to come on the market.
Shrubs and the like – For those of you who thought a shrub was a small plant, I’m here to tell you… you’re right. But shrubs are ALSO mixers, and damn good ones at that. They’ve been a bit underground until recently. Essentially, shrubs were made in 17th and 18th century England as fruit liqueurs, but became more like mixers made from vinegar with sugar and fruit. Today, there’s that artisanal vibe (think hipster) that is occurring more and more with people making their own shrubs and bottling them to be pretty gifts. But with shrubs and syrups and bitters, people are getting into the craft and, sometimes, selling them. Even famous chefs are jumping on the bandwagon.
Vodka makes a comeback… again – Earlier in 2013, I wrote the post, Haters Gonna Hate… Vodka, about the burgeoning hatred mixologists have for vodka. Since then, there’s been pushback against mixologists and bartenders in favor of vodka. This spirit is here to stay. It’s not going anywhere. Yes, it’s been there, done that, but at the end of the day, it’s an equalizer. It’s like having macaroni and cheese without the macaroni. Or the cheese. The point is vodka is one of, if not THE, most important spirits in the world. Haters gonna hate, it’s inevitable, but it’s also inevitable that this white spirit is not going anywhere.
Cheesy cocktails are fun and here for the year – The past few years have seen the resurgence of “Mad Men” inspired cocktails, such as the Martini, Old Fashioned and Manhattan. Not that I’m complaining. I’ve been drinking those cocktails since I knew how to shake a shaker! But my Magic 8 Ball predicts the rise of the 70s drink this year: cocktails with umbrellas, vodka and fun. The Piña Colada, Mai Tai, the Daiquiri and even the Long Island Iced Tea are making their way back from the Disco-era, especially with bars like the Golden Cadillac opening in New York City. These are amusing, un-stuffy drinks that allow for the drinker to have fun, and for men to finally embrace the fufu cocktail! (It was a tie for GIFs)
Come December 2014, I’ll go back through my post and see what I was on target on, and what I slightly missed. For now, it’s in writing with no turning back. Happy 2014!