Saturday, December 31, 2016

Wishing All a Safe and Fun 2017

     With the arrival of 2017, we have an opportunity to start again.  Everyone will try to live up to their resolutions that will in general slip by the wayside within a month or so, but what can we expect from this New Year?   So many people have been saying they are glad to see 2016 over with, but what are we going to do different to make the new year a better one.     We can hope this year will be a fabulous one filled with so many wonderful things .  There a lot of people predicting new and wonderful things along with those predicting doom and despair.   In the spirits industry I have run across three very interesting predictions .

“A Rum Revival”
Colin Asare-Appiah, East Senior Portfolio Ambassador
     Often seen as a warm weather spirit, or to be sipped only while on a sandy beach watching the sunset, rum has faced a stigma in the past with very little consumer awareness or interest existing outside of “occasion based” drinking. Luckily, the tides seem to be shifting with a new wave of a demand for expertly prepared tiki inspired cocktails and bartenders are seeking out rum brands that have an authentic story and unique taste that give them reason to include them on their back bar and on their cocktail menus.

Guilty Pleasure Drinks

Jaymee Mandeville, West Senior Portfolio Ambassador
     There was a time when 70s, 80s and 90s style cocktails were a no go in craft cocktail bars. They were looked down upon for their call of artificial ingredients or thought to be too sweet and unsophisticated. Bartenders have recently begun to revisit these decade old cocktails (Pina Colada’s, Appletini’s, Sex on the Beach) and re-imagining them with fresh, quality, housemade ingredients transforming them into delicious, complex and well-executed drinks. Craft cocktail bars around the country are stepping up to the plate and showcasing their adaptations on these classics and we have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this trend in the coming year.

“Libations of Luxury”

Duane Fernandez, Texas Portfolio Ambassador
     In a time where exceptionally rare spirits regularly grace bar shelves with their presence, bartenders are breaking free from the notion that these spirits must be sipped alone and without interruption from additional spirits or modifiers. Ultra Premium Scotch Whisky, in particular, has been used more and more in cocktails. With delicate attention to detail and respect for the liquid coming from these revered, nearly sacred bottles, there is a new trend that has taken flight, where bartenders have begun featuring these spirits on premium and super premium cocktail menus. Rather than leaving the bottles to gather dusts, bars are presenting these cocktails as a beautiful way to enjoy what might be a once in a lifetime cocktail.
"Rum Based Luxury and Feel Good Cocktails"
Bahama Bob Leonard, Key West Rum Guy
     What I see for 2017 is exquisite rums being used in sophisticated cocktails.  Rum has a reputation as a “feel good” spirit that mixes well with others and yields so many high quality cocktails.   What the category needs is to continue moving into a better class of consumers.   I keep finding is rum being used in place of other spirits in traditional and fine quality cocktails throughout the spirits world.  I see this becoming more prevalent and being enjoyed by more and more customers and bartenders following this trend.   The use of what was once felt to be sipping rums is finding itself in ultra -premium cocktails.  Rums that people would tell you should only be sipped do lend themselves well to cocktails as well.  Great rums like other great spirits can be a part of a great cocktail by imparting its unique flavor to the mix.
     Here is to a happy and safe New Year to all.  I’m a believer in pushing the positive and hopeful that thing will do well and be fun and wonderful.