Weird and wonderful spirits

08 Sep 2016
2 min read
Hemp Vodka or a milky gin anyone? As the demand for something new and unique increases, consumers are becoming more and more experimental when it comes to their taste buds.
Quirky quenchers

From ‘foraging’ trends to easing their appetites with delicacies such as bug blinis, it’s no surprise to see the drinks industry is also following suit.

In this year’s prestigious International Wine and Spirit Competition (IWSC), the spirits results have revealed some key innovations amongst quality products. From the first legal hemp vodka to milk based gin, as drinker’s tastes grow ever more adventurous, producers are upping their game, bringing exciting and novel products to the table, that also excel when it comes to quality.

With almost half a century of experience pursuing drinks industry excellence, an IWSC accolade is no mean feat. Thecompetition welcomes entries from over 90 countries and is blind tasted by a panel of experts who are rigorous in their judging methods.

Ewan Lacey, IWSC Managing Director says, “The IWSC has seen a real shift over its 47 years, with distillers innovating and creating products which stray from tradition. The IWSC has and always will be about seeking and rewarding excellence in wine and spirits and it’s really great to see bold and quirky products really making the cut in terms of quality. It’s important to celebrate creative, well-executed products, as they’re a real testimony to an evolving and ambitious industry.”

IWSC Sip-list for inquisitive imbibers…

High End Hemp

Hemp Vodka (Silver Medal)

Distiller: Swiss Vodka, Inc. |Switzerland

This smooth and earthy vodka scooped both a Silver medal in the main tasting competition as well as the IWSC Bloody Mary Trophy and is made from the finest natural rye, Swiss Alp water and Swiss hemp buds.

Milk and alcohol

Bertha’s Revenge (Bronze Medal)

Distiller: Ballyvolane House Spirits Company |Ireland

This is the first distillery to produce small batch Irish milk gin from whey alcohol. Special yeasts are developed and added to the whey to convert the milk sugars into a very high quality whey spirit which are then distilled with 18 different botanicals. Ask for it at bars and restaurants around the UK or buy online and stash in your drinks cabinet.

Nice as pie

Pumpkin Pie Eater (Silver Medal)

BuzzBallz, LLC |USA

A premixed cocktail of sweet and savoury spiced pumpkin pie & vodka, served in a fun and practical spherical vessel – perfect for summer picnics!

Sweet Ruin

Rogue Society Goldi Locks Gin (Gold Medal)

Distiller: Rogue Society |New Zealand

Self-professed as ‘Gin reimagined’as‘liquid behaves differently in the Southern Hemisphere’, this spirit has a nose of lemon sherbet, kiwi and gooseberry with a hint of juniper and some spice with more citrus, copper notes, lavender and fizzy sherbet on the palate.

At Sea

Hibiscus Liqueur (Silver Medal)

Salish Sea Organic Liqueurs |USA

A sweet and tart tipple made with the petals of red hibiscus flowers imported from Egypt, this liquor blends perfectly with cranberry juice and adds an unexpected twist to desserts.

For the full list of IWSC 2016 results please