Sun-kissed spirits

Havana Club believes its Cuban heritage makes it the ideal base for the oldest classic Cuban cocktail, the popular mojito
Havana Club believes its Cuban heritage makes it the ideal base for the oldest classic Cuban cocktail, the popular mojito

Nothing sums up the spirit of summer like a refreshing cocktail, but high bar prices are benefiting the off-trade spirits sector - leaving it shaken, not stirred.

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Brand Central

19 May 2009 | 0

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At a glance: SPIRITS

  • Spirits consumption in Ireland is expected to increase by 10.99% to reach 3.11 million cases between 2008 and 2012
  • Irish consumers drank 2.68 million 9-litre cases of spirits in 2007, 26.6% more than in 2003
  • Vodka remains the leading tipple in Ireland in terms of volume and alone covers 41% of the market
  • The limited edition Bacardi mojito kit is priced at €29.99
  • The VK range is growing at over 200% year on year, when the alcopop sector is declining at 28% year on year
  • Absolut Vodka is the fourth best selling premium spirit worldwide, and the number one brand of premium vodka worldwide
  • Courvoisier has recently launched a series of very high end cognac with one, Courvoisier L’esprit, expected to retail for €5,000
  • Bols Vodka, which is a leading player on the Polish market, is now available here
  • Stolichnaya offers quality, yet affordable Russian vodka, at around €24.99 a bottle
  • Jagermeister is a half-bitter German schnapps with a blend of 56 herbs and spices

Between 2008 and 2012, spirits consumption in Ireland is expected to increase by 10.99% to reach 3.11 million cases or 37.3 million bottles by the end of the period, according to the Vinexpo/IWSR study 2009. Findings also revealed that the Irish drank 2.68 million 9-litre cases of spirits in 2007, 26.6% more than in 2003.

With 1.1 million cases consumed in 2007, up 45.3% compared to 2003, vodka remains the leading tipple in Ireland in terms of volume and alone covers 41% of the market. Between 2008 and 2012, it is forecast that vodka consumption will grow by almost a further 17%, while on average in Ireland the consumption of all spirits will only grow by 11%.

Although gin consumption lost ground by 15% between 2003 and 2007, the Vinexpo/ IWSR study predicts that volumes will stabilise between 2008 and 2012. Similarly, rum, the volumes of which decreased between 2003 and 2007, is expected to regain 10.5% between 2008 and 2012 to reach a volume of 147,000 cases by the end of the period, thus returning to the consumption level of 2003.

Cuban maestro

Havana Club says time is of the essence in its rum making art. Havana Club rum is made from the world’s finest sugar cane and this premium choice is distilled under the watchful eye of the maestro Ronero. Havana Club claims that its Cuban heritage makes it “the ideal cocktail base and the only authentic base for Cuban cocktails such as the famous and oldest classic Cuban cocktail the mojito.”

The company markets a Havana Club mojito as “a must try.” It describes it as a “refreshing. smooth, well balanced cocktail; a gratifying drink that will tingle those taste buds and the perfect drink choice to mark any occasion.”

The Havana Club mojito recipe uses:
50ml Havana Club 3 Year Old
Juice of half a lime
Fresh mint
1 spoonful of sugar
2 or 3 ice crushed
Sparkling water to fill

Barcardi’s limited edition mojito pack provides consumers with everything they need to make their own mojito, priced at E29.99

Barcardi’s limited edition mojito pack provides consumers with everything they need to make their own mojito, priced at €29.99

Mojito magic

Rum’s return to 2003 consumption levels, could also be attributed to the Irish penchant for mojito cocktails. In 1862, in Santiago de Cuba, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso revolutionised cocktail making with the creation of the first premium aged white rum. The original mojito recipe, according to Bacardi, used a blend of freshly squeezed lime juice, unrefined sugar, bruised mint, soda water and a splash of Bacardi to bring the refreshing drink to life.

Barcardi has created a limited edition pack which provides consumers with everything they will need to make their own Bacardi mojito at home. All that is needed to complete this crisp cocktail is fresh mint, lime and ice.

The limited edition Bacardi mojito kit is priced at €29.99.

In vogue

Comans also has an offering that will satisfy consumer demand for Mojito; the most popular cocktail in vogue in Ireland at the moment. The VK brand has made it easy for consumers to enjoy the refreshing mojito taste at home, with the launch of VK Featuring Mojito in Ireland. This new product comes from a brand name ready to drink beverage, which has already been successfully trialled in the Irish market. In fact, VK is already selling well and growing at over 200% year on year, at a time when the alcopop sector is declining at 28% year on year. The popular product is available nationally in several different flavours. It also represents value, with a consumer offer currently available of five bottles for €10.

Tickled pink by premium offering

Barry & Fitzwilliam distributes a wide range of premium spirits, including: Teachers Scotch, Courvoisier Cognac, Rémy Martin Cognac, The Famous Grouse Finest Scotch Whisky, Jim Beam Bourbon, Vladivar Vodka, Boru Vodka, and Stolichnaya was recently added to the portfolio also.

Courvoisier has recently launched a series of very high end cognac with one, Courvoisier L’esprit, expected to retail for €5,000.

Cocktails, champagne and shooters will be top of the bill this summer and leading brand names within Barry & Fitzwilliam are ready to cater for all, such as Cointreau, Bols, Sourz, Jagermeister and a new addition, Tickled Pink.

Cocktail heaven

Cointreau is described by Barry & Fitzwilliam as a cool experience on ice with a warm afterglow, surrounded by the scent of oranges while maintaining its elegant French heritage. Cointreau is the perfect partner for cocktails, renowned for livening up a margarita, making a long drink even longer with 7Up, or starring in a ‘cosmopolitan’. 

Bols Distilleries is one of the largest and oldest producers of fine spirits and liqueurs in the world, some dating back to the year 1575. Many of the unique flavours of Bols liqueurs are made with fruit juices, thereby creating the ideal platform for some of the best cocktails around.

The selection of flavours available from Bols is vast and includes Bols Blue, Grenadine, Advocaat, Crème de Cacao, Cherry Brandy, Amaretto and many more. Among the classics, Bols Triple Sec Curacao is essential in a ‘cosmopolitan’ and Bols Crème de Cacao (brown) in a ‘brandy alexander’. 

More Bols cocktail recipies are available on www.bolscocktails.com while the Barry & Fitzwilliam website provides further information. www.BandF.ie     

Bols Vodka, which is a leading player on the Polish market, is now available here. Bols will also be sponsoring the Bols Cocktail Bar of the Year award.

Absolutely fabulous

Absolut Vodka is a premium vodka from Sweden. It was first introduced in 1879 by Lars Olsson Smith, the man whose face appears on each bottle of Absolut Vodka. Today, it is the fourth best selling premium spirit worldwide, the number one brand of premium vodka worldwide, and is available in 126 markets around the globe (Source: Impact International).

The natural hearty taste of Absolut Vodka embodies what vodka is supposed to be; a spirit that is smooth but still accentuates any cocktail without disappearing into the mixer. Absolut Vodka is the perfect base for creative drink mixing and also good to enjoy neat or on the rocks.

Absolut Vodka was the brand that pioneered the flavoured vodka category and since 1986, it has strived to create bold and creative flavoured vodkas. There are currently nine Absolut flavours available in Ireland, including Absolut Citron, Absolut Raspberri and Absolut Kurant. These flavoured vodkas energise a wide variety of cocktails, such as ‘Absolut cosmopolitan’ (Absolut Citron, cranberry juice, orange liqueur and lime juice), ‘Absolut citronic’ (Absolut Citron, tonic water and a slice of lime) or ‘Absolut high heel’ ( Absolut Kurant, crème de cassis, lemon juice and blackcurrant).

Absolut citronic is positioned as “a refreshing cocktail that is ideal for any summer get together with friends or family. Simple to make, this cocktail sets the tone for an Absolut great summer.” For tips and further Absolut cocktails information, consumers can check out www.absolutdrinks.com.

A Russian classic

Taste, price and availability considered, Barry & Fitzwilliam believes Stolichnaya is one of the best everyday spirits available. The red label is the flagship, or the foundation, of the brand as a whole and is available almost anywhere. This Russian vodka is distilled four times from wheat and rye, mixed with artesial water from the Kalingrad region and filtered through quartz, sand, activated charcoal and woven cloth before bottling at 80 proof. The company regards Stolichnaya as a great example of what to expect from good vodka from Russia and for around €24.99 a bottle, it’s still affordable.

Shooters point upwards

Sourz is proving to be a great success for Barry & Fitzwilliam. It has a dual sweet and sour flavour that is both refreshing and tangy. Sourz apple is a low-strength (15%) shooter brand that the company says is taking Irish clubs and bars by storm. Sourz Cherry will appear on the market soon and join the recently launched Sourz Blackcurrant.

According to Barry & Fitzwilliam, Aftershock is the most intriguing product in the Irish Shooter market. It’s available in five flavours – Aftershock Hot & Cool (red),  Aftershock Deep Cool (blue) and Aftershock Thermal Bite (green), as well as Aftershock Black and Aftershock Silver.

Jagermeister, the famous German schnapps, is a strong seller in the shooter market, particularly among student trendsetters, and is also growing internationally. It is a half-bitter German schnapps with a blend of 56 herbs and spices and is ideal served chilled.

Celtic tiger’s cocktail conundrum

We may not be heading for a hot Cuban summer, but nothing creates a summer vibe like a good cocktail. However, with the average cocktail offering costing €10 in Irish bars, consumers will be increasingly keen to try their hand at mixing their own version at home.

A knowledge of cocktail recipes can prove invaluable when it comes to creating off-trade merchandising that will drive sales. It can also help retailers provide interested consumers with useful advise. With this in mind, below are recipes for three of Ireland’s most popular cocktails; the mojito, cosmopolitan and long island iced tea, which can be displayed in-store. Check out www.supercocktails.com for further information. 

MOJITO
2-3 oz light rum
Juice of 1 lime (1 oz)
2 tsp sugar
2–4 mint sprigs
Soda water

Lightly muddle the mint and sugar with a splash of soda water in a mixing glass until the sugar dissolves and you smell the mint. Squeeze the lime into the glass, add rum and shake with ice. Strain over cracked ice in a highball glass. Top with soda water, garnish with mint sprig and serve. (Makes a single serve).

LONG ISLAND ICED TEA
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz tequila
1/2 oz light rum
1/2 oz gin
1 dash Coca-Cola
Twist of lemon peel (or lime)

Mix all contents in a highball glass and sitr gently. Add dash of Coca-Cola for the coloring and garnish with lemon or lime twist. (Makes a single serve).

COSMOPOLITAN
1 oz vodka
1/2 oz Triple Sec
1/2 oz sweetened lime juice
1/2 oz cranberry juice
Lime wedge

Shake liquid ingredients vigorously in a shaker with ice. Place lime wedge on the rim of a cocktail glass. Pour mix into the glass and enjoy! (Makes a single serve).

 

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