Cocktail Jo

Imbibe Live 2017 – Trends

This year was my third year at Imbibe Live and, as always, I absolutely loved it! (And I’m so sorry it’s taken me so long to write up the notes.)

I’m going to tackle my favourite companies individually, but I thought I would comment on some of the key trends here.


Gin is still a strong choice for British booze producers and I believe this is because it can be made in the UK relatively easily. People can mess about with the botanicals in distilled gin and really experiment with flavours, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to break into a very saturated market now. Sipsmith’s seem to have the artisan market pretty sewn up, with Ophir covering the spiced gin. This year I have tried Brockman’s, which is already widely available, fallen in love with Chase apple gin again, which has been on the market for years and wiped Gordon’s from my collection. You see, there isn’t really too much room for new gins. Having said that, we did find a few we loved, including these beauties. I’d happily include these in my collection.

Cocktails on Tap / Quality Pre-Mixes

I’ve been wary about this, but I can see a market for ready made cocktails; student bars, festivals, parties. I love making cocktails, but when you’re at a party you get to a point in the evening where you just want to stop making cocktails and enjoy yourself.

When you’re at a festival, standards are already lower and it would be nice to have a decent and quick alternative to cider and beer and to be honest both the Midori on tap and the Mahiki pre-mixes really hit the spot for me.

When it comes to student bars, does it even matter what cocktail you serve, as long it’s the right colour?

My biggest concern with ready mixes is the fact that they always taste so damn sweet, but these were very well balanced. I could deal with a touch less sugar, but then I try to limit my added sugar generally, so I think I might be a little sensitive to it.


I think this might just be me, but I really hope that rum becomes the most fashionable spirit. I love dark rums and I think they have a really exciting depth of flavour that it hard to recreate in other spirits. Plus, drinking dark rum makes me feel like a pirate, which, for me at least, is a bonus. This year I was more aware of people British folk importing foreign rums and then branding them up themselves, which I think is awesome. I would be incredibly happy to see this trend continue.

English Wines

I’m sorry, I didn’t try any English wines are Imbibe Live, but I do want to mention them, because I’ve noticed a rise in popularity and actually, I do think they are worth the price. My initial expectation was that English wines should be cheaper because they don’t have the pedigree, but now, having sampled some, I really think everyone should give them a chance. So far I’ve had an exceptional sparkling wine by Nyetimber at Carters in Moseley, and a Bacchus by Bolney Estate and another by Chapeldown, both at Harborne Kitchen (the Bolney is better in my opinion.

So there you have it. Those are my upcoming booze trends. Keep an eye out for other Imbibe related posts, coming soon…

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