Mezcal, canned and Greek wine are among the top drinks trends set to dominate the industry this year, according to Waitrose.
Welcoming in the New Year, Pierpaolo Petrassi MW – head of buying for beers, wines, spirits & soft drinks at the retailer, outlined his predictions for the 10 big trends set to gather momentum this year.
1 – Make it a Mezcal
Mezcal is the latest spirit trend to hit the UK. The ‘parent spirit’ of tequila, mezcal is made from the agave plant, which is native to Mexico. A bartender’s favourite thanks to its smoky flavour and both sweet and savoury notes, mezcal works well in a number of cocktails, including margaritas and negronis. There has been a 48% increase in mezcal cocktail-related searches on Google in the last year.
2 – Canned wine
Two organic wines (a rosé and a Shiraz) from Château Maris in recyclable, easy-to-transport cans became the hit of summer 2018. Expect more of the same in the coming year as we look for more innovative, environmentally friendly packaging for our drinks.
3 – Greek wine – Xynamavro
An upcoming grape variety we should all get to know. Red wine made from the Greek Xinomavro grape lends itself to being slightly chilled. Low in tannins, it’s soft, fruity and pairs well with rich food.
4 – Vermouth
Vermouth is growing in popularity with the resurgence of bitter cocktails like negronis, with searches for vermouth having doubled over the last three years, with Google searches for ‘vermouth cocktail’ increasing by over 30%. Vermouth is such a versatile spirit and can be served in a number of ways, making it a bar trolley staple.
5 – Classy cider
Cider’s gone posh, with the introduction of 75cl bottles and production processes usually reserved for Champagne, such as underground ageing. Single variety ciders, using a particular type of apple, are also very popular in the craft cider movement.
6 – Tonic syrup
The next level of personalisation for cocktails, tonic syrup is designed to mix with soda water, so you get to control the quinine flavour of your G&T.
7 – Booze Free Beverages
Soft drinks are having a moment, as well-known brands introduce more non-alcoholic options for mocktails. Sales of Seedlip, who launched an exclusive flavour at Waitrose & Partners this year, are flying, as well as low and no alcohol wines and beers.
8 – Aquafaba
Chickpea water isn’t just for vegan meringues! The versatile by-product can also be used for vegan foam in sour cocktails.
9 – Alcoholic ice pops
It’s an exciting time to explore the drinks aisle. We’re bolder with our choices and don’t feel the need to conform to a certain way of enjoying our favourite tipples. Ice lollies made from Provençal rosé are just one example of this trend for discovery.
10 – Raising a glass to organic wine
Sales of organic wine have increased by 53% year-on-year. The Waitrose & Partners range now includes 54 wines from 18 different regions, and is set to grow further. A few years ago, if you were offered an organic version of a drink, you’d expect an element of compromise. This is no longer the case.