Arts & Entertainment

Dowd on Drinks: New Products, Genteel To X-Rated

The world of adult beverages is a wonderland of innovation.

 

The world of adult beverages is a wonderland of innovation.

In the spirits category, nearly every product starts out pretty much the same way. Likewise for wines and beers. But, along the way someone gets an idea for a new flavor infusion or combination of ingredients or a new packaging.

Here are some of the latest new products hitting the market.

— Voyant Chai Cream Liqueur: This is a mild 25-proof Dutch import made of Virgin Islands rum, Dutch cream, Indian black tea, vanilla and a variety of spices. The company has come up with a menu of original recipes for cocktails rather than simply substituting this cream liqueur ($21.99 suggested retail price) for something in an existing recipe. It’s available at http://www.voyantchai.com.

— Twistee Shots: These drinks come in twisted plastic 12 milliliter shot glasses that deliver two separate flavors in a single shot. Each side of the container holds a different flavored vodka-based spirit. The consumer drinks both at once. Each Twistee has a vanilla side with the other side varying among melon, strawberry, banana, blueberry and butterscotch. The 40-proof drinks ($11.99 suggested retail price) are sold in eight-packs of 25ml plastic shot glasses.

— X-Rated Vodka: "Sex and the City" may have moved to the suburbs of TV reruns, but the spirit lives on in this French creation made in copper alambic stills and distilled seven times. Its main component after water is French wheat plus a touch of roseberry grain, grown on the island of Madagascar. The 80-proof vodka ($29.99 suggested retail price) recently picked up a double gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Flavorwise, several familiar brand names are introducing new tastes to the market. Beam Global Spirits & Wine Inc., for one, has come out with three new flavors for its Gilbey’s vodka.

DeKuyper, the maker of cordials and liqueurs owned by the same company, has launched its Tropical line. Hiram Walker, owned by Pernod Ricard, is unveiling two new flavors of schnapps. And, Diageo is adding new flavors through both its Smirnoff and Captain Morgan brands.

Gilbey’s new vodka flavors are citrus, raspberry, cherry and grape, which research says are the top flavors in the economy vodka niche. Flavored vodkas within that market grouping grew at a 22 percent rate in 2006, outpacing growth for the overall economy vodka category, according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The new 70-proof flavors will be available beginning this month.

DeKuyper also is aiming for a May market debut for its new Tropical Mango, Tropical Pineapple Coconut and Tropical Papaya cordials. The Tropical line will bring to nearly 60 the number of flavors in all its lines. The new 30-proof products have a $9.99 suggested retail price for a 750ml bottle.

Hiram Walker is introducing the industry’s first pink grapefruit- and pear-flavored schnapps, upping its line of schnapps and flavored brandies to 38 flavors at a suggested retail price of $11.99 for a 750ml bottle.

Smirnoff Ice Pomegranate Fusion is the latest flavored malt beverage in the Smirnoff Ice line. Captain Morgan Parrot Bay Pineapple Co?ada joins a line that already offers Sunset Surf, Matava Blue and Wave Runner. The new flavor is a mix of pineapple and sweet coconut, with a malt base. All these new six-packs will sell for a suggested retail price of $7.49.

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