With whiskey sales on the rise, more people are discovering there are plenty of ways to drink the distilled spirit than just straight on the rocks. Drink mixologists enjoy finding more and more ways to complement the whiskey flavor with a plethora of other ingredients, whether its syrups, fruit juices, vermouth or even tea.
A growing willingness to experiment with whiskey and bourbon as the primary ingredient in a variety of cocktails is just one of several ways consumer habits have been changing, says Steven Earles, CEO of Portland-based Eastside Distilling (www.EastsideDistilling.com). “People are drinking less wine and more whiskey, and women have become more inclined to give whiskey a try,” says Earles, whose company already experiments with a variety of flavors in its drinks, such as Cherry Bomb Whiskey and Oregon Marionberry Whiskey.
The trend of finding more ways to include whiskey in cocktails also may be just one of several factors helping to add to the bump in whiskey sales. As of November 2014, Whiskey sales were near $4 billion, in contrast to $3.5 billion in 2013, according to Nielsen research. For distilleries, those numbers may mean a toast is in order. For consumers, that toast may involve a mix of flavors made just to their liking – but definitely is still on the rocks.