The start of a new year heralds a new era of drink trends. 2022 saw a rise in celebrity endorsed wines and Champagnes (like the range from Australia’s sweetheart Kylie Minogue), not to mention a boom in boxed wine worth talking about. And then there was the emergence of canned cocktails that weaved premium spirits and luxe ingredients together, and the up and up of teetotallers – seriously delicious alcohol-free beers and spirits that collected an army of fans among them. So what’s in store for 2023? Read on to find out.
Long gone are the sugary sweet cocktails of yesteryear. Experts say mindful consumption will only grow this year, with low-sugar alcohol set to boom. Seltzers will remain a drink of choice, the tasty tipple that’s essentially an alcoholic sparkling water. But wines that fall into the low-sugar domain will also be a go-to, like Deep Woods Estate Rosé and Bone Dry Rosé, crisp takes on the traditional rosé.
Agave, mezcal and craft tequila are going to be hot in 2023. While our soft spot for a margarita is going nowhere fast, people are experimenting with upgrades to the world #1 cocktail using different Mexican spirits such as mezcal, a smokier alternative to tequila. Try double-distilled Alipus San Andres Mezcal. “I reckon more and more people will be collecting tequilas or mezcal instead of the usual whisky or gins,” says Natalie Ng, owner of Door Knock bar in Sydney. Ready-to-drink canned cocktails (see below) are also diving deep into the world of margaritas – Just Margarita or El Toro Grapefruit Paloma are a great intro into the market.
Booze brands are out to prove that pre-batch is the place to be, with premixed and canned cocktails predicted to rise throughout 2023. Creative combinations, premium spirits, and out-of-the-box ingredients mean that these ready-to-drink cocktails impress from the get go, no matter whether your drink of choice is a refreshing aperitif like the Americano (brought to you by Everleigh Americano Sparkling Cocktail), or Sex and The City favourite the Cosmo (courtesy of Curatif Grainshaker Cosmo).
Traditional ginger beer is set to undergo a revamp in 2023, with the global ginger beer market forecast to dramatically grow between 2022 and 2029. Aussie brands have thrown themselves into this arena with gusto – ginger beer with an alcoholic edge can be enjoyed thanks to Little Dragon Ginger Beer (it’s gluten-free too), or Brisbane’s own White Lies Ginger Beer (selected stores only), which they claim with ‘refresh but not overwhelm’. Then there’s Spinifex Brewing Co. Ginger Beer, infused with WA native botanical Geraldton Wax flowers. And not forgetting Bundaberg Alcoholic Ginger Beer, a collaboration between two iconic drinks brands made using local Queensland ingredients.
Australia’s love of coffee looks set to infiltrate the booze market even more, with coffee-based alcohol also predicted to be big for 2023. And while the espresso martini is synonymous with coffee cocktails, that section is set to expand into the canned cocktail market with the likes of First Press Espresso Martini, a mingling of specialty cold drip coffee and Australian vodka, as well as specialty coffee-based spirits, like Mexico’s own El Sueno Coffee Liqueur.
Australia is no stranger to spirits, but our sunburnt country will expand its horizons even further beyond craft gin. The use of native Australian botanicals will blossom (pardon the pun), like that used by the copper pot-made Pure Origin Tasmanian Bramble Gin. And then there’s vodka – an arena in which Aussies haven’t traditionally been focused, until now. Check out Grainshaker Corn Vodka, an Australian-made spirit that embraces the unique flavour of corn (something traditionally used in American whisky).
We’ve seen the prevalence of Japanese saké boom over the past few years and now more Japanese drinks are flowing into our glasses. Welcome shochu, a white Japanese spirit distilled from rice, barley, sweet potatoes or buckwheat. Sip it pre-mixed with vodka and soda in -196 Double Grape cans. The range is a recent arrival to Australia that’s satisfying the increasing demand for Japanese flavours, says Beam Suntory marketing director Trent Chapman. “Grabbing a pack of -196 Double Grape should feel like you’re reaching straight into the fridge of a convenience store in Tokyo.”
Japan is set to establish itself in the global gin market too. The land of the rising sun already has a reputation when it comes to whisky, but its top producers are now exploring native botanicals and blends in the gin category, with the complex Nikka Coffey Gin, which blends four Japanese citruses including yuzu a prime example.
The premiumisation trend continues into 2023, with premium spirits still one of the best ways to bring home a piece of the luxury lifestyle. “People are caring more about what they’re drinking rather than how much,” says Campari ambassador Jay Lambert, “and they’re choosing more premium drinking experiences.” Jay recommends putting a premium spin on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail using one of the world’s best rums, Appleton Estate Black River Casks 15YO Rum.
Premium mixers such as Fever-Tree tonics and sodas are still going strong, and the wide range of flavours makes it easy to get creative with spirit and mixer combinations when you’re making drinks at home. Love G&T? Try your favourite gin with a fruity tonic, says Fever-Tree ambassador Trish Brew. “I recommend Fever-Tree Wild Raspberry Tonic for a drink that looks and tastes like summer,” she says. “It combines juicy Scottish raspberries with a hint of sweet British rhubarb for a naturally fruity twist on your G&T.” Or use the soda range to twist your spritz: “Just top up your drink with lots of ice, Fever-Tree soda, and some fresh fruit to garnish.”
Our wine preferences are also predicted to develop over the next year. Chilled reds are promised to flourish (the perfect match for balmy Australian summers) – give this trend a whirl with a cool glass of the Devilish Pinot Noir or James Busby Yarra Valley Pinot Noir. Whites will also take a turn under the spotlight, especially when it comes to alternative takes on the traditional, like the Aces & Arrows Gruner Veltliner. Light and fruity-style Chardonnays are also to find favour in the year to come – grab yourself a glass of Yering Station Little Yering Chardonnay (selected stores only).
Chandon chief winemaker Dan Buckle puts the 2023 mood down to the phrase ‘not what my mum and dad drink’. “The wines currently making noise are far from traditional – we’re seeing interesting varieties and wine made differently,” he says. “I think it’s great, there’s a conservatism in wine that’s being thrown out the window and replaced with a pioneering and adventurous mindset.” Let’s drink to that.