It’s nothing less than a phenomenon – a runaway train of a drinks trend, hurtling at speed into new and uncharted territory, showing no sign of slowing down and with no one sure where it will end up.
If you think this is unnecessarily melodramatic, consider the fact that even the spirits industry is playing footloose and fancy free with the category. When researching this feature I was offered a contribution from Famous Ginger Grouse – an alcoholic ginger beer with an abv of 4% and normally called a ready-to-drink product. At the other extreme a public relations company offered up Southern Comfort, a long-established liqueur with a strong flavour of orange and its heart in Louisiana.
Scotland, under the wary gaze of the Scotch Whisky Association, has been unable to resist the temptation to jump on the flavoured bandwagon – and not without controversy. Bacardi was first in with Dewar’s Highlander Honey, and stepped beyond existing European legislation by using ‘blended scotch whisky’ and not using ‘spirits drink’ in its description.