Keeping up with the flavor craze
It seems like every time you turn around there is a new flavor of rum or vodka on store shelves or being pushed as a “special” at your favorite watering hole for happy hour. With everything from birthday cake to bacon and salty watermelon to root beer float vodkas, the flavored spirits market is one of the fastest- growing and is being spearheaded by younger consum- ers, according to Dan Davies, sales representative for Southern Wine and Spirits.
Davies says, “Young people were brought up with lots of flavors and candy, and they’re the majority drinking at the clubs and trendy places.” While Davies admits all of these flavors are fun, he says about people in the liquor industry, “We are all wondering where and when it’s going to end.”
Consumers of vodkas used to have a favorite brand. And while some still do, Davies says more drinkers are driven by price point and flavors now. Vodka has always been a popular clear spirit for mixing because of its mild flavor. So what does one do with the barrage of new flavored vodkas hitting the market each month?
Van Gogh is a premier distiller from Holland that infuses natural ingredients in underground tanks to flavor its line of vodkas. It now has everything from Banana and Mango to PB& J and a new Double Espresso ($ 27). Burnt sugar and Colombian coffee beans are used to create the rich flavors of the latter, which can easily be added to an after- dinner cup o’ joe or made into a Double Dutch Espresso by adding some milk or vanilla creamer and ground cinnamon. Shake it with some ice then serve in a martini glass for dessert.
Svedka is a more affordable vodka from Sweden ($ 12) that is packaged with drink recipes on its labels. Take, for instance, the Strawberry Colada Vodka, which smells like a spring- break party in a bottle. A good concoction for a holiday soiree would involve some pomegranate juice, three parts to two parts Svedka Strawberry Colada, add a splash of OJ, shake and serve.
Another newer party flavor from Svedka is Orange Cream Pop. Not only does it smell like the frozen treat you would get from an ice cream truck, it tastes like it too. Add a bit of sparkling water or ginger ale for a refreshing drink or use in a punch for brunch.
In the flavored rum category, Cruzan ($ 15) has fifty choices, from coconut to guava and the more recently released Key Lime flavor. Here’s a great recipe for a holiday sparkler: Mix equal parts Key Lime Rum and orange juice, add two dashes of bitters liqueur, pour into a glass, and top with cold champagne to taste.
Malibu is one of the most well- known brands of flavored rum for its coconut and