Are infused spirits on the rise again? Based on Adam’s recent experience with a banana-infused Negroni (that actually wasn’t that bad) the answer seems to be yes. However, many would argue that infused spirits give bartenders an all too easy — and dare we say gimmicky — way to claim a slightly tweaked classic as their own invention. Is this untrodden ground for a new wave of riffs, or simply a cheap trick?
The phenomenon could very well be as innocent as being a new way to get Gen Z excited about cocktails. After all, the bold, familiar flavors packed into infused spirits can provide younger guests with an approachable segue into the world of mixed drinks. If we can learn anything from Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Tacos, it’s that people go nuts — for better or worse — when two beloved food items collide.
Perhaps the pandemic had a hand in the recent spike in infusions. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to believe that this is the industry’s response to the fact that many home mixologists mastered the classics during lockdown. With infusions, bars can offer guests a drink that they might not have the means to make at home. There could be a number of factors at work here, and maybe the pandemic’s effects are merely the tip of the iceberg.
On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam and Zach are joined by Tim McKirdy, VinePair’s managing editor and host of the “Cocktail College” podcast, to dissect the sudden rise of cocktails based around house-infused spirits. The three discuss why they work in the post-Covid bar environment and why the degree of difficulty is — in some cases — the whole point. Tune in for more.
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