Drinks brands are constantly on the look-out for new ways to sell their drinks. They've tried ageing them differently/longer, changing the packaging or suggested serve and adding flavours, but now Master Distillers and Master Blenders the world over are mixing their spirits with other people's.
The latest hybrid release is Grey Goose VX - Grey Goose's premium French Vodka (made in the Cognac region), blended with a touch of Cognac. This essentially makes a tastier, rounder Vodka. Before that was the beautiful Sake and Gin blend that is Jinzu. This is a completely different drinking experience - a sort of very soft, creamy, fruity Gin.
Hybrid drinks are nothing new, it's just that most previous ones faded away. They failed. They seem to sell on novelty factor at first, but didn't manage to grasp longevity, like Malibu Red (Malibu and Tequila) and Absolute Tune (Vodka and Sparkling Wine). Desporados Beer continues to do well, but I was gutted to realise (by looking at the ingredients list while drinking a bottle) that it is Beer with Tequila FLAVOURING - not actual Tequila - so it can't count as a true hybrid.
Similar to Malibu Red, however, is the new 1800 Coconut. Again made with Tequila - seemingly the most popular hybrid ingredient - this is a well-respected Tequila that's had natural coconut flavouring added to it. This doesn't quite count as a hybrid drink as it is only one spirit, but it's more serious-tasting than Malibu Red was - much less sweet. And it's doing very well. Trust us, this is a keeper.
Vodquila (guess) is doing amazingly well and showing no sign of slowing down, sales perhaps driven by the 'get f*cked' theme of branding. The target market is anyone wanting to get wasted rather than people who like specific flavours or styles of drinks.
One interesting and very delicious new product is Pedrino Alcoholic Tonic, which combines Sweet Sherry with quinine and other botanicals, and sparkling mineral water. Even though it only has one alcoholic element, Tonic Water merged with Sherry has to be a hybrid as it is a totally original combination of two distinct drinks. It's not a cocktail though - it's intended to be mixed with Gin.
Now what? There are definitely more hybrids on the way, maybe in the more craft end of the industry too - small distillers blending spirits, and collaborations with breweries and distilleries. We expect cocktails made with more than one hybrid spirit, essentially mixing blended flavours and multiple spirits, and hybrids made with multiple source drinks are probably not far off...