Top Five Drinks Trends for 2012

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2012 is here! We’d been waiting for it, watching it creep upon us but for some reason it’s still surprising when it actually gets here. Now that the hoopla has died down, we have been thinking about what will be popular on the wine and spirits front in 2012.

  • DIY – Do It Yourself continues to rage. Given the continuing uncertainty in the economy, people will continue to be their own bartenders, shaking and mixing drinks for themselves and their friends. We also see this extending into folks making their own liquors, mixes and bitters (a trend that has been going on in bars around the world for the last few years will continue to seep into the home). To get started, try our DIY Cocktails book – it’s a great how-to.
  • Food and Booze Parings — will continue to be increasingly popular. As wine and cocktail appreciation continues to surge (according to one report, wine sales increased by 14% in the US last year), people will seek to pair their favorite booze with their favorite foods. Alone, food and booze can be amazing, but together, they can be sublime. We foresee dinner parties where friends gather to cook, bake, shake and experiment. It dovetails perfectly with the DIY rage and desire to save money without having to scrimp. Given the outrageous mark-up on wine by most restaurants in the US – you can stay at home and have three to five bottles for the price of one. We are kicking off 2012 by having a wine pairing (don’t worry, I will report back).
  • Barrel Aging Drinks — This is a trend that we think is in its infancy – buying barrels and aging your own wine, spirits or cocktails. We saw this trend starting early last year and it continues to grow. We have been surprised by the number of places where we have seen barrel aged cocktails and there has been a growing buzz among folks I know who are using barrels at home to age wine and spirits. This should be an interesting one to watch. If done well, delicious. If not, I don’t even want to imagine.
  • Weird Wines — Unlike their parents, millennials aren’t wedded to Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. They have shown themselves to be adventurous and open to new wine varietals and styles. Some of this maybe fueled by the fact that unemployment and underemployment is rampant among millennials, which might be pushing them to experiment with lower priced wines. Part of it maybe that they love wine and are willing to branch out. Whatever it is, we love it. We love weird wines and the more people that are willing to try them, the better. Give these wines a try in 2012 – Torrontes (the white wine of Argentina), Brachetto (still or sparkling – amazing wine from Piedmont Italy), Primivito (a Zinfandel like grape grown in Southern Italy), Gruner Veltliner (a spicy white white from Austria) and Portugeiser (a light, fruity red wine grown in Germany and Austria).
  • Wine Cocktails — One of my favorite upcoming trends. I love cocktails and I love wine so what could be better than the re-emergence of cocktails made with wine. I say re-emergence as this was a white hot trend before Prohibition that literally died on the vine during Prohibition (obviously, if you were going to a speakeasy during Prohibition, you weren’t going to waste your time drinking relatively low alcohol wine). These are cocktails that are made with sherries, ports, vermouths, still and sparkling wines. While these cocktails also have spirits, they tend not be spirit heavy – resulting in a lighter cocktail with lower alcohol.

Those are are top 5 picks for 2012 trends. Let us know what you think is going to happen in 2012. What’s going to be hot in 2012? What spirits and wines will emerge? What do you plan on doing?

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