Introducing the New Gateway Drink…Hard Liquor Mixed With Wine!!!
I recently read in The Dallas Morning News Business Section a story about a new trend in hard liquor. The industry is now adding wine as a way of “showing a softer side” and “shaking things up."
The story says that this trend started a few years ago with Pinnacle Whipped. Well I must have missed that, but I know you can’t go into a bar without seeing a Martini Menu with sweet Martinis. There are more of them from flavored vodka than I care to think about…or drink.
It makes sense that the liquor industry would start making gateway blends with wine. The wineries started sweet gateway wines in the 70s and now wine is the most consumed adult drink in the US. Hello White Zinfandel! And yes they’re marketed to young adults, especially women. And like gateway wines these new Liquor blends are almost always sweet, to cut the hard edge of the drink.
The port guys also are in. Croft makes ports, but while Croft Pink uses port grapes, there is very little contact with the grape skins, which gives it a light ruby color like a Rosé . It's made for cocktails and Croft hopes to gain a new and younger audience for port.
I understand grape-on-grape blends but I’m having difficulty grasping non-grape liquor mixed with wine. I learned the hard way in college that mixing different types of alcohol was never a good idea!
Absolut however has a blend that goes against my college rule! They’re blending grain vodka with a sparkling sauvignon blanc. It figures the Vodka guys would take the lead, but I am also sure I did this in college using a styrofoam ice chest. Theirs comes in a Champagne bottle with a tear away cover no less, which beats my ice chest hands down.
These blends are aimed at a younger audience who like lighter sweet drinks. And sweet is growing in the adult beverage industry. Even the wine industry that developed sweet wines to get people drinking wines have succumbed. More and more wineries are now making upscale sweet wines to capture a larger marker. And wine shops are devoting more space to these high-end sweet wines.
I for one will stick to my dry wines with an occasional champagne or port!
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