The Wine & Spirit Trends Appealing to Today's Sophisticated Drinker

Today's consumer isn't only more educated when it comes to food sourcing, they are also more knowledgeable when it comes to wine and spirits. They are looking for unique liquors, spirits, and flavors that can't be found on every bar menu.

This demand for more elevated spirits has fueled the handcrafted cocktail trend. With that in mind, beverage menus are only getting more sophisticated.

On the IOChangeMakers live stream, we sat down with two beverage experts–Cassie Sakai, wine director and lead sommelier for Girl and the Goat and Alan Beasey, beverage director at The Purple Pig to see what types of beverages guests have been ordering the most.

"Right now agave spirits are all the rage and not just tequila. Mezcal had a little surge there, people were really into mezcal. But now we are also starting to see things like raicilla and sotol coming into the picture," says Beasey.

Gin, vodka, whiskey, and tequila will always remain favorites, but today's guests are adventurous and are looking for something new or even something popular from the past.

"Amaro had its moment and now people are like 'what are we going to do next?.' It's about sourcing things that are limited production. I have been seeing really cool old fashions with vintage ingredients," says Sakai.

Watch the clip above to get more insights on the latest spirit trends. Want the full video? It's available exclusively now for On-Demand members. Learn more about Foodable On-Demand now.

Why Whiskey Distillers are Ramping up the Production of Bottled-in-Bond Spirits

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The craft movement encompasses so much more than beer, consumers are also gravitating to craft spirits.

This has fueled a spike in the production of bottle-in-bond spirits. The term bottle-in-bond means that the American-made distilled beverage has been aged, bottled, and deemed authentic liquor by the federal government, according to standards outlined in the Bottled-in-Bond Act of 1897.

“At the time, whiskey was largely sold in barrels or jugs which had questionable provenance,” said Susan Wahl, group product director for Heaven Hill, to "VinePair."

Back in the day, producers used to taint spirits with filler additives.

“In effect, it was America’s first consumer protection law, predating the Pure Food and Drug Act,” said Wahl.

These bottle-in-bond whiskeys are higher quality and higher proof. But it's an investment for the producer considering how long it has to be aged for.

"The Bottled-In-Bond Act stipulated that the whiskey must be the product of one distilling season from one distillery, aged in a federally bonded warehouse for at least four years, and bottled at 100 proof," writes "VinePair."

But its proven to be worth the wait since the sales are up for these spirits.

"Bottled-in-bond shows that a whiskey has been completely, lovingly made ‘in-house,’ which sets it apart from people who are just blending-bottling," said Scott Harris, Catoctin Creek founder and general manager.

These spirits hold their own in flavorful hand-crafted cocktails too.

With all of that in mind, spirit producers are rolling on more bottle-in-bond spirits like Jack Daniel's Bottled-in-Bond Tennessee Whiskey and Kings County Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon. All of New Riff Distilling spirits are bottled-in-bond.

Learn more about these types of spirits and the newly popular brands at " VinePair" now.

Speaking of craft spirits, looking for American-made cocktail recipes to spice up your bar menu? Check out this recent episode of the Foodable Smart Kitchen & Bar, where master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda demonstrates how to make these classic cocktails but with a twist.

Top Products for Operators from NAFEM 2017

Video Produced by Denise Toledo

On this episode of "On Foodable Weekly: Industry Pulse," we continue last month's conversation around the NAFEM 2017 show. The National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers holds its Equipment and Supply show every other year for members to showcase their newest products to thousands of buyers in the foodservice industry. On the last Industry Pulse, we looked at some of the best chef products showcased at NAFEM 2017. This week, we're taking a closer look at the coolest products we saw available to operators. You won’t want to miss these!

Steelite Thrill

The Thrill machine from Steelite International both chills and sanitizes glassware — with style. By simply pushing a glass down on the Thrill for three seconds, the Thrill sanitizes the glass with 88 percent microbial reduction. Another six seconds and the glass is chilled to 40 degrees below, “so the drink that you’re charging 10 bucks for is actually more enjoyable,” says Steelite International VP of National Accounts, Terry Tanael. Using CO2 gas, the Thrill can fit on any bartop or be built into your bar for even more space saving. Plus, your customers will love the experience!

RATIONAL SelfCookingCenter®

The RATIONAL SelfCookingCenter® can cook virtually anything you need with the push of a button. It has settings for poultry, meat, fish, egg dishes, baking, sous vide, and more. This product makes bulk cooking a breeze and can cook a number of different items at different temperatures and with different settings — all at the same time. National Corporate Chef for RATIONAL USA William Buck demonstrates for us how to use the grill setting for 20 steaks at once, but RATIONAL has the SelfCookingCenter® in sizes allowing chefs to make 120 steaks at a time! And once cooking is done, the SelfCookingCenter® cleans itself, too!

Franke BKON Craft Brewer

Using reverse atmospheric infusion, the BKON craft brewer can infuse almost any liquid imaginable! Using a vacuum, BKON extracts organic material with any solvent from water to wine to chicken stock! Using the touchscreen settings, users can use a number of categories to personalize their infusion. Franke is excited to see how chefs experiment with this new product.

Play the episode to see these cool products in action! And watch our last Industry Pulse episode to see some of the best products for chefs at NAFEM 2017!
 

Asian Flavors Pack a Punch at the Bar

Asian Flavors Pack a Punch at the Bar

By Natalie Migliarini, Foodable Contributor

The flavors incorporated into Asian culture are very diverse and powerful. In North America there seems to be an emphasis on complimentary flavors when compiling a recipe either in the kitchen or in the bar. But when you look at the diverse range of flavors usually combined to create a dish in the Asian world, you find flavors that are usually seen as complete counterparts being brought together to create a strong, powerful sensation to your palate within each taste.

Distinctive flavors like lemongrass, coconut milk, Thai basil, and even Szechuan pepper are great to use as leading roles in your cocktail concoction but can also be imposing. Asian cocktails frequently need to be mellowed out and complimented with Asian fruits and herbs like kalamansi, kumquat, yuzu and lychee. Of course there are other ingredients commonly featured among the offerings on an Asian-influenced cocktail list such as cucumber and ginger. 

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Now Trending: Absinthe-Based Cocktails

Now Trending: Absinthe-Based Cocktails

By Natalie Migliarini, Foodable Contributor

During its personal era of prohibition, absinthe was consumed primarily straight up and as a shot. This has led to a majority of individuals regretting the evenings they had consumed the libation. When true absinthe returned to the scene, the populace turned their noses up at the suggestion of sipping on a correctly prepared absinthe drip cocktail. 

To combat this, bartenders around the country are attempting to reintroduce the delicate spirit through innovative and appealing cocktails. With its strong aroma profile and ostentatious anise leading the flavors to provoke your palate, it is a challenge to formulate a well-balanced cocktail that will entice the most discriminating of connoisseurs. 

Some bars are finding it difficult to add these libations to their menus, as their clientele are not as adventurous — though, there are many establishments making a point of it and having at least one on their normal menu. Others of course, as you will see in one of the examples below, are contributing entire menus to innovative absinthe cocktails.

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