The classic G&T has had a makeover of sorts in last two years and its recent popularity shows no signs of dying down.
The most recent figures from the Irish Spirits Association show that gin and premium Irish whiskey were the fastest growing spirits in Ireland in the last year.
Gin sales rose by an outstanding 47.2pc in 2017, with growth shared between both Irish and imported brands.
And it’s easy to see why- the popularity may be down to its apparent low calorie value, and also because of the variety of it. Gin drinkers can customise their tipple with garnishes and different flavoured tonics, from elderflower to lemon.
If 2018 was the year of goblet glasses and pink gin, 2019 is set to be the year of the eco-friendly, “adventurous” gin, according to Gareth Irvine, founder of Copeland Spirits.
According to Gareth, flavoured gins are here to stay- but maybe not as we know them, with a shift expected to occur from fruity flavours, to herbs and spices.
“Flavoured gins will stick around but there’ll be a massive shift in what’s popular,” he told Independent.ie.
“Flavours to date have been quite seasonal or trend-led and associated solely to summer, or unicorns, or crazy colours and not veer too much away from berries. Over the coming months, we’ll see the flavour ideas get more adventurous incorporating spices, herbs, exotic fruits.”
Gareth explained that as the popularity of gin has risen, so too has the public’s knowledge of what makes a “good” gin, and Irish people are set to become increasingly focused on quality when it comes to gin in 2019.
“Often-times, trend-led flavoured gins are of poor quality and are full of syrups, additives or sugar, rather than real fruit. In addition, the volume is generally around 20pc and so a liqueur as opposed to a gin.
“Consumers will start to focus more on quality and provenance, just like we saw with unflavoured gin and this will catapult flavoured gin into a category all of its own.”
Not only are new flavours on the horizon for the gin world next year, but the way we drink our gin is set to change too.
The team at Co Down-based Copeland Spirits have noticed a shift since many bars have started to ban plastic straws, and consumers are expected to look at minimising waste in their beverages next year.
“We’re thinking first and drinking second. We’ve noticed cocktail menus are changing slightly as bartenders consciously look for ways to minimise food waste,” Gareth said.
“Some garnishes produce a lot more waste that we realise – there’s lemon rind, egg yolk, orange peel and more – and all can end up in the bin.
“Rather than sweeping them into to the bin, some spear-heading bars have making what is becoming known as ‘closed-loop’ cocktails. Excess fruit might be used to create a natural syrup or saved to add into a pitcher style gin.”
Gareth, who crowd funded £36,000 to launch Copeland Spirits three years ago, said that one of the reasons gin has boomed in popularity in Ireland may be down to an increase in “innovation”.
“Gin continues to be one of the most active spirits where innovation, development, distilling and cocktail experimentation exists,” he said.
“In Ireland specifically, gin is thriving with local producers like ourselves becoming household names and now competing with global leaders.
“Of course, new spirits will often come to the forefront and we’re seeing rum and tequila breaking through, but gin continues to hold its own pace and I don’t expect that slow down any time soon, either locally or internationally.”
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