The FIFA World Cup football (soccer)tournament kicking off in Brazil this month is predicted to give South American spirits—namely the host country’s own cachaça—some buzz. But the sugar cane spirit has already been catching on in the U.S., thanks to popularity of the Caipirinha.
Pisco is also picking up steam here. While the grape brandy from Chile and Peru is far from mainstream, American mixologists have been thinking beyond the basic Pisco Sour and punch. They’re incorporating pisco in cocktails as an alternative to other white spirits, one that offers a unique flavor profile. Pisco with ginger beer or ginger ale and lime juice, for instance, makes for a tasty spin on the Mule.
A few other spirits from South America are now angling for shelf space as well, including singani, a grape-based Bolivian beverage that’s similar to pisco, and Sobeso, a brand new spirit that says it’s the first to be distilled from fermented cacao fruit. As the article “Exotic Elixirs” on page 40 points out, some of these unfamiliar spirits are starting to gain a following among craft bartenders in major markets.
It’s hard to say if that will translate to consumers embracing these new entrants to the market—there’s an awful lot of competition on bar and store shelves today. And it can be hard enough to get some guests to try even a gin or mezcal cocktail, never mind something they’ve never heard of.
But as the article notes, American bartenders and cocktail entusiasts have never been more receptive to new spirits, especially those with a unique niche or story. Everyone wants to be the first to discover something big. The current interest in Latin American cuisine and culture doesn’t hurt, either—look what it’s done for the Mojito.
Speaking of Mojitos, our cover story on rum explores trends in the category, from how operators are using it in classic cocktails to sipping styles to the resurgence of modern Tiki. We also look at what’s going on with light beer (page 22), by-the-glass wine favorites (page 28), low-alcohol cocktails (page 34) and much more.Summer is finally here after what was a rough winter for most of the country, and people are ready to get out, socialize and enjoy the warm weather and vacation time. This issue is packed with great ideas to help you enhance the guest experience this season and keep customers coming back all year.