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Catching Fire(Ball): New Liqueurs Chasing the Hot and Spicy Trend

FireballThere has been a large-yet-slow-moving trend towards fuller-flavored spirits and cocktails. We've seen a rise in smoky Islay whiskies and mezcals; dark sipping rums; vodkas and tequilas with character; and gins booming with botanicals. In mixers we see the rise of spicy ginger beer, and in cocktails we've seen drinkers embracing boozier and bitter cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Negroni. 

Peligroso_cinnamonThe trend even seems to carry over into flavored liqueurs. Fireball, though it's ever-so-sweet, has a fun cinnamon heat to it. Close on its heals were not only a bunch of copycat cinnamon whiskies, but also some other spirits like Peligroso Cinnamon Tequila. 


Ancho_Reyes_USAThis summer was the launch of Ancho Reyes, a Mexican poblano chili liqueur (in a sugar cane spirit base), and this spirit has been taking off within the mixology crowd in part because its promotion by the Bon Vivants. In some bars, they offer it as the alternative when customers ask for Fireball. 

In the past week, two more spicy liqueurs have been announced. From Wild Turkey comes American Honey Sting, which is bourbon, honey and ghost pepper. (It sounds spicier than it actually tastes.) They gave a nod to the new consumers' flavor preferences in the press release:

Ghost pepperAndrew Floor, Campari America Senior Marketing Director, Dark Spirits commented, “With the introduction of Sting, the brand is continuing its legacy as an innovator. Whereas American Honey was originally created in the 1970’s to help Bourbon reach a wider audience, with Sting we’re speaking to a generation of Bourbon-loving legal drinking age Millennials, both men and women, who are looking for new flavors and more spice.”

Patron tequila has also entered the spice trade with their XO Cafe Incendio, which is a chocolate and chili liqueur. They also did their market research. From the press release: 

XO_INCENDIO_23x28 x9And now, consumer research has proven that people want high-quality liqueurs with more heat, and so again we’re innovating the liqueur and shot category with Patrón XO Cafe Incendio, a spirit that combines spicy and sweet, with intense heat,” adds says Ed Brown, President and CEO at Patrón Spirits."



I'd expect a lot more hot liqueurs to pop up in the market. The future looks spicy. 




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