Drink PinkPink Spirits are the Next Big Trend
Rosé all day. Stop and smell the rosé. Rosé the day away. Slay then rosé. Rosé s’il vous plait.
It has surely escaped no one’s attention that pink wine has flooded the market over the last decade or so. Rosé is everywhere. It’s not just for summer any more. Nor is it meant just for women or for millennials, although those are mightily lucrative markets to be sure.
Now distillers are getting into the spirit of the trend with a whole new host of Instagram-friendly pink liquors and liqueurs. Sure, there might be some rosy dye involved, but generally these pretty-in-pink spirits are made by macerating fruit, vegetables or flowers—raspberries, rhubarb, hibiscus and the like—into distillate. Some producers are even using actual rosé wine.
They may look sweet, but these are generally dry spirits with subtly sophisticated flavours and are best used in cocktails that don’t hide their delicate tint. (Think Martinis, Collinses and tonics.) Here are just a few to try.
Gin, which is already flavoured with a variety of botanicals, is a natural for adding pink ones to the mix. These are often berries, especially raspberries and strawberries, although tart rhubarb and pomegranate are also popular, especially in the UK.
Beefeater Pink, for instance, was created by master distiller Desmond Payne, who added strawberries to the traditional citrus and juniper profile of the classic London Dry. Meanwhile Gordon’s Premium Pink was inspired by the Spanish gin trend, and is enhanced with the natural flavours of raspberry, strawberry and red currant. These tinted variations of well-known and popular brands were both released into global markets last year and are readily available in Canada.
There are numerous other small craft brands of pink gins being produced in the UK and Europe, and one imagines, more will be soon to come from Canada’s own artisan distillers. One of the most interesting is the Bitter Truth Pink Gin from Germany, from the same people who produce the premium bitters line. Not surprisingly, it is tinted and flavoured with aromatic bitters, making it the reminiscent of the classic Pink Gin cocktail (gin and Angostura bitters, with a lemon twist).
From opposite coasts of the US come two vodkas flavoured with the addition of rosé wine: Three Olives Rosé from New Jersey, and Hangar 1 Rosé from California, which was created by head distiller Caley Shoemaker, using local wine. These taste, yes, just like rosé, with all its appealing berry notes, but with more kick than wine and less alcohol by volume than traditional vodka. That makes rosé vodka a perfect choice for brunch cocktails as well as spritzers lengthened with soda to enjoy on a sunny patio any time.
Only available in the US so far, everything about Sweet Revenge Whiskey seems like a dubious life choice. Technically a liqueur in the style of Fireball, it is hot pink in colour and flavoured with strawberries, which are allegedly the source of its vivid hue. It’s targeted specifically at women and its slogan is “Drink. Pink. Hard.” Nothing about this is a good idea, so it’s sure to find a ready market out there.
A very different sort of spirit is Código 1530 Rosa Tequila, a surprisingly sophisticated take on tradition. It was originally a secret shared just by the distiller’s family in Cabo San Lucas, but in 2016 they released it to the US market. It starts with high-quality blanco tequila made from blue agave, which is then aged for one month in un-charred French white oak barrels that previously contained Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. The agave provides bright, peppery notes, and the Cab Sauv offers a subtle fruit flavour.
Of course, there have long been rosy-hued liqueurs on the market—products like Chambord raspberry liqueur and crème de cassis—that add a pretty pink tint to cocktails like the Kir Royale. Companies like Bols and Giffard produce fruity flavours like pink grapefruit or watermelon, while Alizé has its floral Rose Passion (lychee and rose). And now the US company Li Destri has introduced its Pink Lemon Liqueur, which has it all: it’s sweet, tart, boozy and, above all, perfectly pink-tinted for all those Instagrammable moments.