Spirits are high when it comes to white rum and sotol, while coffee’s got some challengers, as drinkers seek out coffee alternatives. And drinkers and designers alike are going nuts for pistachio.
Read our Drink Trends April 2023 blog to learn more about the latest beverage trends across the drinks industry.
Move over gin – white rum is on the rise
Rum is tipped to replace gin as the spirit of choice for many. Sales of the age-old spirit are growing around the world, forecast to reach $21.5bn by 2028 (as reported by The Food People).
Rum’s versatility creates ripe opportunities all-round, with a broad flavour profile ranging from spicy and botanical to floral and fruity.
But it’s white rum leading the charge. Typically a more neutral spirit, white rum is already well-loved when mixed with cola or coconut. And it works just as well with tonic water, so ‘R&T’ could soon be the new G&T. White rum offers a more neutral palette to add extra flavours to, than its juniper-based predecessor.
White rum cocktails are already well-established, including Mojitos, Daiquiris and Pina Coladas, so experienced professionals and adventurous amateur mixologists alike are used to reaching for the spirit.
White rum can be the base for both sweet, creamy cocktails or classy, clarified white rum cocktails.
Increasing interest in global spirits has also been helping rum. Flavoured varieties of dark and spiced rums have paved the way for RTD rums and fruity, floral or herby additions to white rums.
Bold tropical flavours are the obvious additions here, including passionfruit and pineapple. Big flavours can be created with botanicals like basil, chamomile, or hibiscus too. And subtler fruit tastes work just as well, with pear or watermelon creating softer, more sophisticated white rum cocktails.
More ready-to-drink rums are coming to market now too, with Bacardi already selling RTDs and flavoured versions and spiked coconut waters also on offer.
Going nuts – pistachio flavour
Flavourful, nutritious and versatile, pistachios are having a moment.
The small green nut works in drinks and foods alike, while its soft green hue has also been named the top colour of 2023.
There has already been a 34% rise in pistachio-flavoured products in recent years, according to findings from global flavour manufacturers McCormick FONA (reported by The Food People).
As well as being perfect in pastries, nutritious as a stand-alone snack, and a distinctive flavour for desserts, the nut can be used to make pistachio milk. This plant-based option is not only rich in protein, fibre and healthy fats, it also requires 75% less water to produce than the likes of almond milk.
Taking inspiration from the familiarity of pistachio flavour pastries and ice creams, pistachio drinks are now popping up across different categories.
In Japan pistachio complements cherry blossom flavours in luxury coffees while Starbucks has a range of macchiatos and frappuccinos all using pistachio flavour. Its popularity in cold brews is now likely to translate across to creating ‘mature’ milkshakes.
The nut is being used in liqueurs and cocktails too, with pistachio cocktails gracing menus worldwide. The pistachio Martini has been trending, using a pistachio liqueur base garnished with crushed or caramelised nut rims.
Future star – sotol
Sotol is the hottest new ‘desert’ drink interesting mixologists.
This earthy-tasting spirit shares similar flavours and production processes with agave-based spirits tequila and mezcal.
But, since it is made from the sotol plant, part of the asparagus family, it’s proving to be a cheaper and more sustainable alternative to sought-after agave.
Its eco credentials could be sotol’s springboard – harvesting of the plant keeps roots intact to support regrowth and protect desert biodiversity.
While the spirit isn’t likely to become commonplace in cocktails just yet, sotol today is where mezcal was 10 years ago, making its future promising…
Over in the US, mixologists are maximizing sotol’s flavours in cocktails using a range of herby and tropical ingredients alongside complementary sweet spirits like sherry and vermouth.
For now, it’s most likely to be found in a sotol Margarita or sotol Mojito.
#notcoffee – coffee alternatives
Health and sustainable alternatives are seeking to emulate the coffee category’s buzz. Consumers are increasingly conscious of how caffeine can impact stress levels and sleep, and of coffee’s carbon footprint. As such, coffee alternatives are rising and shining, creating tasty, guilt-free drinks.
Traditional substitutes like chicory and cereal grains are already well-established.
Australian brand Not Coffee is leading this, launching capsules of coffee alternatives using roasted chicory, carob and chickpea last year.
Now mushrooms, dates, figs, cacao, nuts and legumes are muscling in on the #notcoffee trend too.
Made using upcycled date pits, date coffee boasts eco-credentials alongside its coffee-like nutty flavours. Meanwhile, mushroom and fig coffees offer health benefits. Fig coffee is made from dried fig flesh, giving drinks high fibre content and antioxidants, while mushroom coffees have adaptogenic and nootropic properties.
At Simpson’s, we’re at the forefront of new and emerging drinks trends, using our knowledge and experience to ensure our customers are the first movers in their categories. Check out our other blogs for the latest drinks industry juice.
Image source: The Food People 2023