Believe it or not, we're not finished with all of our Fancy Foods coverage. There are still a few trends that I wanted to discuss in a little more depth, so expect a few more posts throughout the week. Today it's the all things alcohol trend. Okay, so this isn't exactly a new thing, but it was definitely something I noticed a lot of. There were organic mixers, regular mixers; hand bottled infused alcohols, organic alcohols, new flavors and so much more.
One of my favorite things at the entire show was the Tamborine Mountain Distillery booth. At first I was just wild for founder Michael Ward (when you watch the video you'll find out why, he's so amazingly charismatic and fun!), but after tasting several of the infused liqueurs as well as the Australian Vodka Company vodkas, I was wild for their product too. They were all deliciously smooth (seriously, the Lemon Myrtle vodka was amazing) and beautiful (the liqueur bottles are all hand-painted). Besides, he's a great storyteller and like I said, I was wild for him too. To check out their history in Michael Ward's own words, watch the video (more show highlights below the video, so scroll down).
Two more products I liked, plus a gallery of others, read more
Another really interesting product was from 267 Infusions. Their hand-bottled "premium" spirits (which have been at all the latest celebrity parties) contain actual pieces of fruit inside of a perfectly pretty bottle. As they said, "their trick is how they get the fruit in, your trick is how you get it out." Normally, I would find something like this to be rather gimmicky. However their product stands up to the hype. Available in eight flavors (including olives & pearl onion vodka, and mango infused rum), a bottle of 267 will definitely bring a zing to your party.
Aside from flavored and infused liqueurs, there were several different mixer companies. One of the ones that stood out was Mixerz (which actually launched the first day of the show). I had an opportunity to speak with one of the founders (Al Williams) and he told me that the company was born due to the resurgence of retro cocktails and that he wanted to make a product that was "bar-chef quality - something that would be easy to make in the home or in the bars." Personally I enjoyed their Sour Apple mixer, it was nice and crisp and lacked the awful sweetness found in most apple mixers (also, it wasn't bright green). After the apple, I tasted the Bloody Mary mixer, and thought it was okay, but a tiny bit thick. Based on some of the things I overheard, it seems that fruit is the way to go.
Stirrings was also around. I've been a fan of their company for a while now. In addition to mixers, they now offer bar ingredients (grenadine, bitters, triple sec, etc.), as well as cocktail essences (rose martini, rosemary martini, etc.).
To go along with your mixers, there were also several organic alcohols. Most of the ones we saw were imported from England (such as Juniper Green and UK 5 Vodka). Both PartySugar and I found these to go down easily and both lacked a weird aftertaste. I definitely think I'd hunt these down again.
Overall there were many mixers (even Jelly Belly had some new slushy options) and many alcohols to taste. The biggest trend was definitely more all natural and organic products. And if you ask me, if all natural and organic means tastier and easier to drink, then I'm all for it.
Check out some pictures of the alcohols and mixers: