Spirits, wine, and beer have been a part of society’s food and beverage scene since historical times, but humans are extremely inventive when it comes to enjoying these old favorites with a new twist. Trends in alcohol exist just as in any other aspect of modern life, and current trends are running hot on quality and small-batch products created in boutique distilleries, wineries, or microbreweries. Many consumers are even making their own spirits and cordials legally in the privacy of their own homes. We’ve come a long way since Prohibition, and society’s general attitude toward alcohol consumption is evolving into a more mature outlook. Intoxication isn’t the goal; an added enhancement to an already high quality of life provides the motivation for many modern adult beverage connoisseurs.
Modern wine lovers now have the option of enjoying vacations on the water while sampling and sipping some of the finest wines from around the globe. Wine tours range from sojourns on small, intimate ships that explore hidden coves and serve evening meals by the light of the sunset to grand adventures that sail through the heart of Europe’s wine country, stopping to celebrate centuries-old village wine festivals with the locals.
Wine and food pairings are old school, but beer and food pairings are still relatively cutting-edge, and we don’t mean mass-produced domestic beer and pizza. Many small craft breweries routinely host pairings as well as beer tastings. The atmosphere at these gatherings is almost always casual and friendly, and they provide an excellent way for craft beer lovers who are new in town to find a sense of community.
The average householder in many states can now produce spirits in the privacy of his or her home without having to worry about attracting the unwanted attention of federal law enforcement agencies. However, bear in mind making spirits is for hobby purposes only and not to be viewed as an opportunity for entrepreneurship. Laws vary by state and also by county, so be certain to check local statues before ordering that copper still from Kentucky.
Although home wine making has been legal in the U.S. for decades, the current trend among wine connoisseurs is to grow a mini-vineyard in their back yard and use the grapes they grow in their home wine producing projects. Others who’d rather not become amateur vintners can have the fruits of their labor turned into wine by local companies that specialize in small-batch, custom wine and beer making.
The practice of crafting unique cocktails with healthy ingredients and embellishing them with all manner of fruits and vegetables as garnish has been around the trendy eating and drinking establishments for several years now, but most homeowners are just now beginning to get on board. The grandmother of these drinks is undoubtedly the classic bloody Mary with her celery sticks and pickled green bean decorations. A couple of fingerfulls of culinary herbs are the hottest new addition to the garnish tray at residential cocktail parties.
Other alcohol hobbies and trends will come and go. Some will fizzle into the sunset while others will be recycled somewhere down the road. A few will prove to have the staying power to become adult beverage classic. We’re putting our money on bacon-flavored vodka.