Restaurant- and bar-goers are continuing their love affair with highly flavored cocktails — as the spirits industry pours out new flavored products, most notably in the vodka and rum categories. The result: New cocktails based on flavors are exploding everywhere as well.
Fume Bistro & Bar in Napa, CA occasionally holds a Citrus Month, serving up, of course, Cosmopolitans and Lemon Drops. But there’s much more: in addition to the restaurant’s signature Dog Daze cocktail (Domaine Charbay Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka with freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and a salted rim), there’s the Limon Drop (made with both lemon and key-lime vodkas), and the most popular cocktail on the restaurant’s drink menu, the Napa Iced Tea (made with the four citrus vodkas from Charbay (blood orange, key lime, Meyer lemon and ruby red grapefruit), plus sweet & sour, lemon juice and a splash of Coke). Fume’s cocktails are priced at $8.
IT’S NOT JUST CITRUS-FLAVORED SPIRITS THAT ARE HOT
“We have 22 flavored vodkas on our list, but we’ve probably added 10 to 15 since we last printed it,” says Emily Curtis, bar manager of one of the two Charlie’s on the Lake in Omaha, NE. The restaurants also carry several flavored rums.
Popular cocktails at the Charlie’s restaurants include their signature Cosmopolitan, made with Finlandia Cranberry and Bacardi Limon, for $6.75. Also popular: the Pina Colada Martini (Cruzan pineapple and coconut rums, Malibu Rum, Skyy Vodka and pineapple juice) and the Summertime Martini (Smirnoff Citrus Twist, Stoli Ohranj and Chateau Monet). Both of these cocktails are priced at $6.25, while the restaurants’ French Martini, made with Grey Goose L’Orange, is priced at $8.25.
Fun, flavored, recently launched products abound. In the rum category, Bacardi introduced Island Breeze, a low-calorie flavored rum-based spirit, last January, and Bacardi Big Apple was launched in February. Allied Domecq just added a passion fruit version to its Malibu line. Diageo recently added a coconut version to its Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum. And Todhunter International’s latest addition to Cruzan is a raspberry-flavored rum.
CHERRY, WATERMELON AND CHOCOLATE VODKAS
On the vodka side, the latest Smirnoff Twist flavors from Diageo are black cherry and watermelon, while Pernod Ricard released two new flavors, Black Cherry and Orange, in its Seagram’s Vodka line. Infinite Spirits debuted its rose-flavored Shakers Vodka last year. Van Gogh has added coconut and mango vodkas to its product line and Ultimat just introduced a chocolate vodka.
While flavors are all the rage in both vodkas and rums, the market for each spirit type differs. “Vodka sells everywhere, but rum is different,” says Nick Velardo, director of food & beverage at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL. “With the rums, the flavors are much more apparent. We sell a lot of rum drinks here, they sell themselves, but we are a resort in South Florida. People are drinking frozen specialty drinks, made with rum, at our beachfront bars, the Beach Club and the Reef Bar.”
Popular rum drinks at The Breakers include the Trilata (a Pi