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Scotch Whisky

6 drink trends to keep an eye out for in 2023

“Gone are the days when Tequila was seen as merely a shot to get the party started. We now see consumers appreciate the liquid and choose to savor this delicate, herbaceous spirit in either cocktails or sipping neat. Having spent well over a decade working in and around the drinks industry, I have never been more excited about the current drinks culture,” says Evonne Eadie, Reserve Brand Ambassador, Diageo India. There is a rise in respect for the craft of bartending, and we are seeing incredible collaboration across the globe. If you want to be in the know while sipping the latest libations, read on for Evonne Eadie’s 2023 trends.

Bright and refreshing Whisky serves

Several years ago, it would have ruffled some feathers, but today it is widely accepted to mix a Single Malt Whisky with something bright and bubbly because it is easy to make, refreshing, and exceptionally delicious.

Driven by the popularity of Highballs we see many new Scotch drinkers entering the market, and many seasoned whisky drinkers enjoying the spirit on occasions that were usually reserved for white spirits.

There are no longer rules for how to enjoy your favorite dram as long as you enjoy it in good company. 

Below are some of my favorite Scotch serves for enjoying at any time of day.

The Singleton Orchard

50ml The Singleton 12yr

50ml pressed apple juice

50ml ginger ale

Add all ingredients to a lowball glass. Fill with ice, stir well and garnish with candy ginger.

Johnnie Blonde & Lemonade

50ml Johnnie Walker Black Label

150ml Sepoy & Co Classic Lemonade

Add all ingredients to a highball glass. Fill with ice, stir well and garnish with a slice of fresh lemon.

The rise of agave spirits

Tequila and agave spirits are on the rise. Gone are the days when Tequila was seen as merely a shot to get the party started. We now see consumers appreciate the liquid and choose to savor this delicate, herbaceous spirit in either cocktail or sipping neat.

Paloma

Ingredients

45ml Don Julio Blanco

45ml pink grapefruit juice

100ml soda

10-15ml sugar syrup

Method

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled highball glass

Stir to combine

Add a metal straw and garnish with a slice of pink grapefruit

Conscious consumption

Whether it be reduced sugar, low or no alcoholic serves or seeking local ingredients, the hospitality industry continues to drive conscious consumption.

No and low

Premiumisation and consumption habits of Millennials and Gen Zs are moving consumers to choose quality over quantity when it comes to liquor. 

As consumers become more educated on how much and what they are drinking, the industry is embracing this movement by increasing offerings of no and low alcoholic serves.

This presents a new and exciting challenge for bartenders to recreate cocktails without the spirits they would often rely on to hero the serve. No longer will the designated driver sip boring juice.  Instead, bartenders are finding ways to make the flavors and appearance found in alcoholic cocktails available to those who choose not to go alcohol-free.

Community Ingredients

The hospitality industry is putting its creative might towards minimizing the carbon footprint of operating and giving back more than we take from the environment.

There is a big focus on sourcing locally which is a point of difference for many venues, generates word of mouth in the area, and creates a thriving ecosystem that drives creativity and community engagement through collaboration.

Sugar Alternatives

A great-tasting cocktail is all about balance.  A balance between elements such as sweetness, sour or bitter, and the spirit.  While it can be difficult to remove sugar entirely as this would throw the cocktail out of balance.   Bartenders are seeking healthier alternatives for white sugar in response to consumers’ preference to reduce their sugar intake.  These alternatives which include, jaggery, honey, agave syrup, and many more are not only better for the body, but also delicious on the palate.

Bold Fashioned

60ml Johnnie Walker Black Label

10ml Jaggery syrup*

3 dashes of aromatic bitters

Add all ingredients to an ice-filled mixing glass

Stir until the mixing glass is frosted and the liquid level has increased

Strain into a chilled rocks glass over block ice

Garnish with a twist of orange or grapefruit

*Combine 50 grams of jaggery with 50g warm water until sugar dissolves.  Store in the fridge for no more than 10 days.

Culinary cocktails

The importance of beverages in food occasions is rising as restaurants see the value cocktails can bring to their venues.  Both consumers and industry are looking for ways they can create a holistic dining experience where flavors work harmoniously between the meal and the drink. A perfectly paired cocktail to a dish will give guests a new and memorable experience to the usual wine dinner, and this is now becoming a great way to generate an additional revenue stream.

With this increased kitchen and bar collaboration, many techniques that once revolutionized the kitchen are now commonplace in the bar.  A Sous Vide machine for example allows a bartender complete control over their liquid ingredients by maintaining precise temperature over a given period.  This adoption of culinary techniques makes prep time streamlined and efficient while producing consistent products.  

Cultural Collaborations

Artists designing limited edition packaging, musicians creating spirit-inspired tracks, or fashion designers styling luxury bars. The world of art, music, fashion, and drinks are colliding as there is increased focus on drinks brands shaping our cultural narrative and stamping a place in time.  Keep an eye out for exciting collaborations between brands and artists under the Walkers & Co banner.

Craft Spirits

Indian Craft Spirits are getting well-earned recognition on the global spirits stage and showcasing the incredible botanical offerings available in this diverse land.  Born and raised in Rajasthan, Godawan Single Malt Whisky is a delightful expression of Indian Whisky, while giving back to the environment through the conservation of the Great Indian Bustard which is facing extinction.

We will see this category and more great Indian spirits come to market, and with that means the exciting space of spirits tourism is not far on the horizon.

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