I’ve been walking the floors at trade shows, checking out new products and getting a preview of what we’ll be drinking in the year ahead. I can sum up the highlights in one word: liqueurs. Whether based on rum, Tequila, or jenever, expect to see more coming to market, as well as cocktails built to showcase their unique flavors.
The liqueur and cordial category bears watching right now for a number of reasons: Millennials (at least those of legal drinking age) love them; Americans are craving big, bold flavors; liqueurs are natural additions to drinks delivered in shot format; and innovative mixologists are eager to embrace liqueurs with new flavor profiles–bitter, herbal, floral–as they craft new cocktails.
Promising new liqueurs include:
Mill Six Citrus Fusion: Coming to market this week; bartenders already were circling the wagon. The liqueur has an unusual bitter-citrus profile, like lychees and orange peels. Seems like a great match for light vodka- or gin-based martini-style cocktails.
Seagram’s Sweet Tea: Out on the market just a few months. Has a profile just like black tea – slightly tannic, not too sweet (despite the name), and an authentic tea fragrance. Begs to be mixed with lemonade, Arnold Palmer style.
Jenever Liqueurs: A line of flavored liqueurs from Belgium based on jenever, a gin-like spirit. I sampled the mouth-watering green apple and bittersweet chocolate cream flavors. I can only imagine how these flavor bombs will translate into cocktails, including riffs on gin-based classics.
Hum Liqueur: This red-tinted, hibiscus-spiked rum liqueur has spicy, sweet, floral, and herbal notes, and is the brainchild of Chicago mixologist Adam Seger. It will be showcased at Tales of the Cocktail next month; after that, expect it to pick up wider distribution.
Crème Yvette: Classic cocktail enthusiasts rejoice: this liqueur, a staple of the 1880’s, has been resurrected by Cooper Spirits, the same company that brought us St. Germain elderflower liqueur. The flavor: dark berry fruits with delicate violet-petal essence. It’s already in limited release in New York and California, and should be hitting other metro areas (DC, Boston, Chicago) later this year.