the early 1970s, combines gin and vod-
ka. In a more traditional club liqueur
mold, LeSutra, backed by music pro-
ducer Timbaland, is a brightly colored
series of flavored liqueurs made with
vodka and sparkling white wine.
Genesis of a Genre
To some degree, the new wave of prod-
ucts seem borne more from marketing
meetings than from a distiller’s twisted
dream. Like Korean tacos or bacon-
and-anything, the goal appears to be
finding what’s already hot and throwing
it together in a pot. Smoke, a blend of
vodka, Moscato, coconut and pineapple
which launched this June in New York,
seems to have taken this philosophy to
heart. Co-founder Zev Norotsky, who
has worked all facets of the hospital-
ity business, including opening several
nightclubs, says, “I’ve become sort of a
pop culture anthropologist, and we were
noticing certain trends. We noticed the
coconut-pineapple profile in creative
waves on-premise, and Moscato was
making new waves all on its own.”
Cutier, meanwhile, notes a demand
for multi-function products among what
he calls “the iPad generation.” They
seek more from a single product, like a
hi-tech Swiss army knife—or a beverage
that delivers on multiple levels.
Considering Precedents
But were people actually imagining—if
not clamoring for—a glass of rum-and-
tequila before Malibu Red arrived on
the scene? Or a Vodka Moscato? Well,
maybe so. Exclusiv Vodka creator Serge
Chistov says he got the idea for Exclusiv
Rosé Vodka—raspberry-flavored vodka
infused with Moscato wine—from the
Baltimore market, where he saw people
mixing Moscato and Cîroc.
Perhaps a more obscure precedent:
On the British TV comedy Absolutely
Fabulous, the stars drank “Stoli Bollis,”
a blend of Stolichnaya vodka and Bol-
linger Champagne (later in the series
moving on to “Veuve and Bourbs”).
Cutier says he’s found the same blend
in Italy served up with Prosecco. And
of course there are classic cocktails—
the Negroni, the Manhattan, the Long
Island Iced Tea—that are all-spirits.
Most of the new products seem to be
positioned as ready to serve neat or
over ice, though they all offer up cock-
tail recipes on their websites and pro-
motional materials (generally mixed
with juice, or elderflower liqueur or
even Red Bull).
Lounge Factor
Many of these new products target the
nightclub crowd, and bartenders are
seeing them find an audience. At Pure
Ultra Lounge in Columbia, SC, Mat-
thias “Mickey” Copeland Copeland is
able to introduce guests to new con-
cepts, including 20 Grand, Malibu Red
and Absolut Tune. “I am an introduc-
er, a social mixologist,” he explains.
“With Malibu Red, I tend to push it
more to tequila drinkers than rum
drinkers, since people unfamiliar with
the Malibu label will tend to assume
it’s another tropical flavored rum. I
love the agave notes.”
Megan Mayhem, head bartender at
Jersey City’s Powerhouse Lounge, says,
“With Courvosier Gold, it seems to be
mostly corporate guys ordering it on
ice. They know what they want, and
ask what brands of whiskey or Cognac
TO SOME DEGREE,
THE NEW WAVE OF
PRODUCTS STEM MORE
FROM MARKETING
MEETINGS THAN FROM
A DISTILLER’S TWISTED
DREAM.
C
M
Y
CM
MY
CY
CMY
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