New year, new you, new booze.
The what, the who and the why of what you should be drinking in 2018. This year we’re thinking bubbles, bitterness and bigger bottles…
2017 saw Sipsmith set up house with Gingerline for Juniper Manor, Chivas’ showed us the Art of Blending, Campari said all aboard with a branded canal boat for the London Design Festival, The House of Peroni opened it’s doors (twice!), Bombay Sapphire set off on The Grand Journey and Carlsberg served beer from a billboard (probably the best poster in the world…).
Not to be outdone, we predict that 2018 will see an explosion in drinking experiences and activations as brands battle to transfer (read: boring) traditional sampling routes into full-scaled bespoke, branded experiences with compelling narratives.
Gin-naissance shows no signs of slowing and following the success of Japanese Whiskey in 2017 (where the country beat Scotland to become the world leader in whiskey imports, showing a 1300% growth), we predict this trend will flow into other categories. Japanese Gin made with interesting and exotic botanicals looks like it's about to blow up, with Nikka Coffey Gin leading the charge.
Bubbles with added bang
As the British love affair with bubbles continues, and Champagne houses in particular are introducing lines designed to be drunk over ice and there’s now more flavours than every to add to your Sparkling instead of just Chambord, next time add some Italicus to your prosecco or some Chase Elderflower to your Champagne.
Savoury flavours have been slowly making their way onto cocktail menus over the past year but Tom Sandham of the Thinking Drinkers predicts that this will burst onto the booze scene in a big way over the next 12 months with many food and cocktail pairings on the horizon and the increase in responsible drinking awareness.
As the early adopters begin to look for the next spirit (not everything should be a gin botanical guys!), we’re seeing a rise in the sales of Spanish Vermouth. The aromatic, fortified wine is a bartender favourite and with more and more new brands appearing, it’s fast becoming a staple cocktail ingredient in the UK, which we reckon will only grow further in 2018.
Vermouth made from sherry, Jack Daniel’s Cider - hybrid booze is set to blow up in a big way in 2018 with lots more cross categorising to come. One of our favourites at the moment is Four Pillar’s Bloody Shiraz.
With the Negroni and Aperol spritz taking the mixed drink world by storm, the bitter flavour palate for cocktails shows no signs of slowing down. Although the journey may take a whiskey-flavoured turn, with Thinking Drinker’s Tom Sandham predicting the rise of the Boulevardier.
Oh Rum let us adore you
Did you know that it was only 50 years ago that the Royal Navy stopped giving rum to their sailors every day? The category has had a thoroughly modern makeover and is growing in popularity thanks to new flavoured rums like Aluna Coconut & the rise in rum for sipping (try a bottle of Diplomatico) as well as a rejuvenation of classic rum cocktails, like the now iconic Champagne Colada at Coupette, one of London’s hottest new bars. We’re seeing big things for the pirate’s favourite next year.
Super-sized sipping is here for the season, with sales of Magnums increasing two-fold on last year and this isn’t just a trend for fizz. More and more spirit brands are now available by the bigger bottle, and not just Ciroc with a sparkler... our favourites include Crystal Head Vodka and Tarquin’s.