by Andy Huntley, New World Whisky Ambassador, Diageo (sponsored post)
As a category, whisky performs phenomenally well across the off-trade, so much so that it’s currently worth £237m1 . However, we know that its popularity is set to increase in the on-trade, with research predicting a significant +17% growth by 20242 . A burgeoning diversity within the category makes it even easier to appeal to a broader range of consumers, as well as the incredible serves that are perfect for spring and summer. From whisky connoisseurs to novice adult drinkers – this incredibly versatile spirit is being enjoyed by more people and during more occasions.
With spring in full swing and on World Whisky Day, here are five reasons why we should be serving whisky all-year-round:
1. There’s a whisky to thrill all the senses
From single grain to single malt to bourbon, whisky is a vast category which can appeal to numerous taste preferences. For example, Bulleit is a bolder tasting American whiskey with an oaky aroma and hints of vanilla, spice and pepper – while Talisker Single Malt whisky has a smokier finish, and Johnnie Walker Black features hints of dark fruit and creamy toffee flavours.
2. Whisky is incredibly versatile
As well as being perfect for colder months, whisky can work well with many summery ingredients. A mint julep, for example, is a delicious summer cocktail that taps into key flavours and occasions during the warmer weather.
Whether it’s lemonade, cola, or cranberry juice, whisky is now regularly served with a variety of high-quality mixers for an array of cool, refreshing long drinks. For example, Haig Club can be used to create unique, exciting twists on popular spritz serves. Alternatively, pour 50ml Johnnie Walker Black Label, 150ml of your favourite lemonade and garnish with a lemon wedge to enjoy a combination of sharp lemonade, sweetness and smoke. This is a high-quality option for those who already enjoy gin or vodka-based spritz serves.
3. Whisky has been making waves during the ‘aperitivo’ moment
We can expect the early evening moment to continue being popular for many, which provides an untapped opportunity for bartenders to create a range of easy-to-make cocktails perfect for this occasion. Spritz serves are often popular during this time so we recommend that bartenders include a few whisky-based drinks on their menus, providing customers with new and exciting options.
A great example would be combining Haig Club Mediterranean Orange with Fever Tree lemonade over ice, for a simple yet high-quality mixed drink. For a slightly more premium spritz serve, why not try a Bulleit Kentucky Mule – simply use 35ml Bulleit Bourbon, 15ml fresh lime juice and 150ml Ginger ale – delicious.
4. Whisky pairs easily with food
Although wine has historically been synonymous with an evening meal, research has shown that whisky and food occasions are growing3. This reflects a huge opportunity to up-sell and provide people with great experiences when spending time in the on-trade. Offering promotions on whisky serves alongside burgers, cheese, steak or even apple pie, can help to drive rate of sale. The Singleton, for example, can be enjoyed during the post-meal moment – either as part of an Affogato dessert or with some chocolate.
5. Whisky taps into premium occasions
We already know that a bottle of whisky makes a great gift for a loved one for special occasions. Couple that with the knowledge that one in two whisky drinkers want to trade up and try something new when spending time in the on-trade4, whisky can be a perfect accompaniment to celebrate special moments.
Johnnie Walker is a rich and smooth premium blended whisky with a range including Johnnie Walker Black Label, Johnnie Walker Red Label, as well as the luxurious Johnnie Walker Blue Label. Served neat or as a mixed drink, the spirit is the perfect option for those looking to raise a glass to celebrate premium occasions.