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Flavored Spirits

With the insurgence of flavored spirits penetrating the grocery and convenient store shelves as well as every restaurant, bar, resort and hotel's back bars, everyone has come to realize that a cocktail can be created by utilizing any fruit, vegetable, herb, tea, coffee, cream and even candy with Cognac, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Vodka and Whiskey Bourbon.

Beverage suppliers are taking full-advantage and stroking the iron while it's hot by offering more flavored spirits than ever before and there seems to be no end in sight. Instead of just an apple profile flavor, the category is now being pushed to different styles of apple which include green, red, sour, Washington, and even apple-pie. The same can be said for berry, cherry, tea, cake and the explosion of the whipped cream category. By pushing past their own limits of creation at amazing speeds even Willy Wanka would be proud. Just when you think there couldn't be another flavored spirit possibly made, a beverage supplier is announcing yet another kickoff in the marketplace. Who knows, maybe someone right now at this exact moment in time is hard at work in the laboratory making the next exorbitant flavored spirit, called "The Everlasting Gob Stopper".

When looking at all the flavored spirits that are out in the marketplace today rather than 3 to 5 years ago, it's important to realize the positive attributes that they bring to both consumers and bartenders. While the traditionalists behind the bar would prefer to keep it simple and utilize fresh ingredients from Mother Nature, it also offers a plethora of opportunities for others who need to make cocktails on the fly. However, some can find a true balance either way, like Morgan Davis, bar manager at Cuchina Rustica in Sedona, who has created the "Caprese-Tini". He can easily infuse fresh basil with an ultra-premium vodka like "Purity" or simply use a flavored basil vodka like "Square One", either one would still be garnished with the same Campari-tomato and ball of Mozzarella. Morgan claims that the decisions come from the request of his customers direct who are willing to drink top shelf and clean or keep it simple and cost effective.

Some say that flavored spirits work best in vodkas than any other category with rum a close second, but Richie Moe, owner and mixologist of Citizen Public House, claims that even though it's true that the majority of flavors come from vodkas, the tequila and whiskey-bourbon flavored spirits are highly enjoyable on their own and offer an amazing taste profile. As a former winner of many bartending contests, Richie states that beverage suppliers who are concentrating on mixing flavors are doing it right. By not over saturating the flavors, yet still focusing to the spirits true essences, suppliers are able to create unique flavored product lines that simply taste incredible. His favorite flavored spirits are Mar Azul Almond, Banana, Chocolate and Coffee flavored Tequilas, and Jim Beam's Red Stag Black Cherry, Honey Tea and Spiced Cinnamon flavored Bourbons.

Just because there are a vast majority of flavored spirits available this doesn't always make it worse or cheapen the cocktail. Since the tongue has four major taste-buds, which include sweet, salty, sour and bitter, customers are only now becoming aware of their beverage palate style thus giving them plenty of opportunity to change it whenever they feel the need to explore a different flavor profile. No longer does one have to stay true to one of these for the rest of their lives. They now have the ability to perceive new taste ideas because the marketplace gives them that choice. Whether it's in a martini, margarita, specialty cocktail or straight-up on the rocks, consumers are willing to take the chance to find something new to enjoy with friends or family they are with, or even "Tweet" about it on their cellphones instantaneously at first sip.

Once consumers get wind that there is a new flavor coming, they seem to be dashing to their nearest grocery or beverage superstore to get it first hand and then immediately request it when they go out to party on the weekends. It doesn't matter who you talk to, as you get the same answer from everyone who tries a new flavor. They are astounded as to how each new flavored spirit tastes exactly like it's named. That's right, even the Snozzberry, tastes like Snozzberry!
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