With the summer in full force, there’s nothing quite like enjoying fresh-from-the-vine fruits on your plate — and in your beverages. Whether its raspberries, mangos, bananas or blueberries, you can get your party started with delicious fruity alcohol and non-alcohol drinks that are refreshing, light and provide a taste of summer in a glass.
In June, I attended a Strawberry Festival in Kankakee, Ill., where I tried several beverages that used succulent strawberries for taste. These included the classic strawberry lemonade, ginger ale, lemonade with strawberries and lime, and non-alcohol strawberry daiquiris. There also were strawberry and blueberry wines and recipes for white and red sangrias with irresistible mix-ins, such as limoncello, fresh ginger and blackberry syrup. Each flavor combination offered something deliciously different, which encourages consumers to experiment with different kinds of fruit (watermelon, pineapple, oranges), to add to sparkling waters, juices and/or spirits, garnish with fresh mint leaves.
There are thousands of flavor combinations for beverages that use fruit as well as several new beverages that have recently launched with fruit infused in them. For example, the St. Louis-based Pearl Spirits Inc. released three new vodkas made with natural flavors, including Strawberry Basil and Lime Basil vodkas that bring together more herbaceous flavors, according to the company.
“The Lime Basil and Strawberry Basil flavors will provide a point of differentiation, as our research shows that this is what our consumers are seeking. …There is a growing popularity of infusing vodka with fruits and herbs,” said Ashley Ulkus, brand manager of Luxco Inc., in a statement.
These new products are helping consumers to enjoy their own fruity concoctions.