In terms of spirits, the last two years might go down in beverage history as the years of indulgent and spicy flavors. The industry saw an influx of sweet and spicy flavored vodkas, liqueurs, whiskeys and more. And with plenty more flavors to cover in this category, it looks like 2014 might bring a twist to these trends.
According to Comax Flavors’ Culinary Trend Exchange, “hot” flavors that pair ethnic and cultural flavors with a hint of sweetness will be an influential trend this year. This includes flavors like Sriracha Chocolate, Black Pepper Caramel, Honey Wasabi and Habanero Maple flavors. The company says it expects these flavors to appear in beers and other beverages. It also called out the movement toward sultry, sweet flavors that combine two or more sweet and/or savory flavors, such as Cola Cappuccino Nut, Marshmallow Macadamia Crunch, Ginger Sesame Caramel and Maple Bourbon Banana.
Mixology also will play a role in flavor trends this year, according to Comax. Mixologists have led the way by offering creative cocktails, which has opened consumers up to indulgent drinks presented in a new way, the company says. Therefore, flavors like Shiraz Truffle, Beaujolais Citrus Punch, Mojito Macaroon and Boozy Mint Cookie might become popular.
Lastly, flavors such as Coconut Lime, Lemon Garlic Pepper, Carrot Watermelon and Pineapple Cucumber will add a feel-good component for consumers seeking healthier options, it notes. These flavors could appear in juices and other beverage categories, it adds.
Although on-premise sales of flavored vodkas fell double digits in the third quarter of 2013 compared with the prior-year period, according to Restaurant Sciences LLC, perhaps a flavorful twist will help to boost on- and off-premise sales of the beverages this year.