There are a few things. In the last couple of years there’s been a big rise in brown spirits, particularly whisky. There’s been a big leap towards bourbon and Irish whiskey.
Irish whiskey is certainly making a comeback. It’s been the fastest growing spirit in the world in the last two years. That’s probably because it’s a bit lighter than most Scotches. It’s a bit easier, more approachable and a bit less intimidating for younger drinkers.
In the past, Irish whiskey, certainly in the UK, suffered from something of an image problem. In a very similar way to gin did before its recent resurgence. It was seen as a fusty, old spirit and very much the poor relation when compared to Scotch.
"Irish whiskey has stepped into that convivial social space. Scotch doesn’t really have that allure - you generally think of Scotch as being a solitary drink"
However, Irish whiskey has stepped into that convivial social space. Scotch doesn’t really have that allure - you generally think of Scotch as being a solitary drink. Sat by the fire on your own in a leather armchair - now that’s not always the case of course, but it’s the perception. Irish whiskey, because it’s lighter and mixes well, it’s more of a pub drink.
"Mezcal tends to be a bit more artisanal and a bit stronger. It has more intense flavours than tequila does"
Elsewhere, Mezcal is making its way its way from hipster bars into the mainstream. It’s a close relative of tequila - it’s also made from agave plants, although tequila is only made from the blue agave plant. Mezcal tends to be a bit more artisanal and a bit stronger. It has more intense flavours than tequila does. It’s more of a sipping spirit and the alcohol content is much stronger - over 45% ABV. It has a lot of intense flavours going on - quite smoky, in the same manner that some whiskies are smoky.
It became quite cool in hipster enclaves in East London a few years ago and it’s started to get some traction in the mainstream now. I don’t know how huge it will become, but I think you can expect to see it in the spirit offering of pubs, whereas that wouldn’t have been the case before. Irish whiskey, however, is definitely one for the mainstream.