The CDC has given the all clear to go without masks, if you’re fully vaccinated. And with this, many venues are reopening and to full capacity. We’ve been isolated for far too long and crave in-person meetings once again. What’s one thing on our list that’s been missing? Cocktails! The pandemic drove up alcohol consumption: it grew by 14% from 2019 to 2020. Many demographics, especially millennials / Gen X’ers, tried their hand at home bartending skills.
It turns out that not only do pandemics give us even more cause to drink our cares away, but they also get our alcoholic creativity juices flowing. Humans are extraordinarily adaptive, after all, and most of us are inherently good at pulling the positives out of the negatives and soldiering on to happier times…and happy hours. As online alcohol purchases skyrocketed by 243% in 2020, COVID “Quarantinis” were born.
Some of the best Quarantinis are the Kumquarantini, a mix of rye whisky, kumquat syrup, lemon juice, saffron liquor, and egg white; the Kombucha Quarantini, combining gin, kombucha and blackberries; and the Charmin Quarantini, made up of vodka, cointreau, lime juice, simple syrup, and cranberry liqueur (we would have added a cute toilet paper umbrella, but we couldn’t find any.)
When were cocktails invented?
Let’s not forget the cocktails invented by our ancestors during the Spanish flu of 1918. Some of these include the Corpse Reviver made of gin, cointreau, Lillet Blonde, lemon juice, and absinthe; the Penicillin Cocktail with Scotch whisky, lemon juice, honey syrup, ginger, and Islay single malt Scotch; and the Medicina Latina with Mezcal, honey ginger syrup, and lime juice.
Fortunately, pandemics aren’t the only cause for new cocktail creations. Humans have a very long history of being drawn to alcoholic beverages to mark nearly any occasion imaginable. One of our favorite, long-standing cocktails is the simple Gin & Tonic, brought to us in the 19th century by Brits who embraced it as a health tonic when many of them were traveling to India and warmer climates. Then there’s the maraschino cherry; not a cocktail unto itself, but it became a delectable decoration atop many cocktails and more in the early 1900’s.
The story goes that, in 1910, a young woman ordered dozens of Manhattans in a fashionable hotel. Someone was curious about how one girl could drink so much, but when they came to question her, she was surrounded by dozens of untouched drinks, but every cherry was missing. The story was reported in the New York Times and, by 1915, maraschino cherries were seen in drinks and ice creams all over the country.
The ready-to-drink cocktail trend
We can’t all be our own best bartenders, and sometimes it’s still nice to have someone make that perfect mix for us. Luckily for us, there’s a cocktail for that too! With ready-to-drink, there’s no need to mix it yourself, there’s no prep and no clean up, and no need to venture beyond your own front door. As far as pandemic cocktail experiences go, with ready-to-drink, this could be our trend of choice for some time to come!
The best part is that, even with bars re-opening, these cocktails are here to stay and you don’t need to be in quarantine to enjoy them! Not surprisingly, ready-to-drink cocktail sales grew by 43% in 2020, and they’re expected to be 20% of alcohol e-commerce by 2024.
In sickness and in health, ready-to-drink cocktails are perfect for all our reasons to drink! Cheers!