The Rise of the Ready to Drink Cocktail

Have you ever considered how big the role of alcohol is in our lives?  Americans never need much of a reason to drink, but statistically, our favorite occasions are birthdays (83%), engagements (78%), anniversaries (77%), promotions (62%), and graduations (59%).  Whether we drink a lot, drink socially, drink occasionally, or don’t drink at all, alcohol, or at least the topic of alcohol is a consistent presence in our lives, as it has been for the majority of human history.  For some it’s just a pleasant treat to enjoy on special occasions, or perhaps a glass of wine every night.  For others it’s a tormentor that causes compulsive behaviors we’d rather live without.  Still for others the mere idea of drinking is to be avoided at the least, and is occasionally a cause for passionate oratorials or rants. Whatever your personal stance, alcoholic beverages and humanity are stuck with each other and, as humans evolve, so do the drinks.  

This past year has given the whole world extra incentives to consume cocktails with the COVID pandemic.  Even though we spent much of 2020 in quarantine and isolation, with closed bars, alcohol consumption still grew by 14% from 2019 to 2020, with the highest growth demographics being millennials/Gen X’ers at 19%, and among women at 17%.  (Read into those statistics what you will.)  Forty-four percent of Americans began buying alcohol online, which meant that online alcohol purchases grew by 243% in 2020, and instacart orders containing alcohol grew by 75%.  

The COVID pandemic also seemed to be cause for the creation of new cocktails to commemorate our collective pandemic experiences.  Some of these cocktails, dubbed “Quarantinis” are the Spring is Here; a mix of white vinegar, gin, mint, snap pea syrup, and green chartreuse; and the Kumquarantini with rye whiskey, kumquat syrup, lemon juice, saffron liquor, and egg white.   The Kombucha Quarantini mixes gin, kombucha, and blackberries; and the Charmin Quarantini contains vodka, cointreau, lime juice, simple syrup, and cranberry liqueur.  These cocktails might be an even tastier alternative to those to come out of the previous pandemic, the Spanish Flu. 

The Spanish Flu brought us such cocktails as the Corpse Reviver, which is a blend of gin, cointreau, Lillet Blonde, lemon juice, and absinthe; the Penicillin Cocktail with blended Scotch whisky, lemon juice, honey syrup, ginger, and Islay single malt Scotch; and the Medicina Latina of Mezcal, honey ginger syrup, and lime juice. 

Cocktails have an interesting place in our history, for sure.  There have been so many occasions for new cocktail creativity and it seems new creations will never be in short supply.  One of the newest forms for cocktails is the ready-to-drink cocktail.  These drinks were perfect for being in quarantine.  Being our own bartender is nice, but sometimes you just want to drink your favorite cocktail without the prep, mess, and clean up.  Even though bars are starting to reopen, ready-to-drink is still a perfect option and a growing trend.  In fact, ready-to-drink cocktail purchases grew by 43% worldwide in 2020, but they’re also expected to make up 20% of all alcoholic ecommerce by 2024.  

So, if your appetite for your favorite alcoholic beverage is still at COVID levels, but you’re tired of mixing your own drinks, the ready-to-drink cocktail is the perfect solution.  Cheers! 


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