Cognac blended with moscato? A new style of pink port? And how about a mashup of sparkling white wine and vodka?
Hard liquor is showing a softer side as producers shake things up with new blends that put wine and spirits in the same bottle.
“Companies are going out of the box,” says Ted Carmon, spirits buyer for the BevMo! liquor chain.
There’s no official category name so far — spirited wines perhaps? — but Carmon traces liquor’s “anything goes” movement to Pinnacle Whipped, the wildly popular whipped-cream flavored vodka that came out a couple of years ago. “That really rewrote the rules on what kind of flavors could be used.”
Bill Newlands, president of Beam Inc., which bought Pinnacle Vodka earlier this year, sees the intensely flavored Whipped as playing into a trend of consumers “whether it’s an alcohol beverage or anything else, looking for more flavor reward.” They’re looking for two things, he says, “flavor and flavor intensity.”
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