Alcohol Trends: A Closer Look at Vodka Flavors

December 15, 2014
Beverage Flavor Fruit Ingredients

Alcohol brands are reaching past classics like strawberry and blueberry and branching out to offer a variety of new and interesting flavors. During a few recent trend excursions to Standard Market, Mariano’s and The Fresh Market, we gained insight into the alcoholic beverage market while spotting unique flavor and ingredient combinations in both sweet and savory categories.
The store shelves showed us four clear trends:
1. Savory
2. Sweet/dessert
3. Tea
4. Exotic fruit/citrus

Read further to discover the latest trends and examples in each category.


Several vodka brands have made a mark on the savory side by launching flavors inspired by herbs and veggies.


Absolut Cilantro Vodka is an herbal combination of cilantro and lime flavors. Launched in May 2013, this flavor was inspired by Latin American kitchens. “There is a lot of current interest in the intersection of herbs and mixed drinks, and we have long found coriander especially intriguing,” says Nodjame Fouad, Global Marketing Director at Absolut, “combined with lime it becomes something unforgettable.”

At The Fresh Market we spotted Prairie Cucumber Flavored Organic Vodka which is described as crisp, invigorating and garden-fresh. Prairie Organic Spirits prides itself on being 100% organically made from seed to glass.

Koval Sunchoke Brandy is made from 100% Organic Sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes). Sunchokes are  the root of specific varieties of Sunflowers and boast a unique, natural sweet flavor. Koval has also launched a line of liqueres inspired by herbal flavors: Orange Blossom, Jasmine, Chrysanthemum & Honey, Rose Hip and Caraway.

Hot & Spicy

Americans spent more than $50 million on Sriracha in 2013 and to no surprise, it has made its way to the alcohol aisle.

UV launched Sriracha Chili Pepper Flavored Vodka in 2013 creating a modern best friend for the classic Bloddy Mary cocktail and other beverages in need of a kick.

UV Sriracha pairs sweet chili pepper notes in the front with spicy notes in the back, delivering a sweet-heat experience in a bottle. This product was spotted at both Mariano’s and Standard Market.


UV Sriracha recipes seen on Pinterest:

·  Sriracha Bloody Mary featuring UV Sriracha vodka includes tomato juice, fresh lemon and lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, garnished with green onions, dill pickles, cheese cubes and bacon. (Now that’s a savory drink!)

·  The Hot & Sweet Cocktail is a blend of strawberries, agave nectar and UV Sriracha vodka.

·  Sriracha Chocolate Chill Martini simply features UV Sriracha vodka and Trader Vics Chocolate liqueur.

·  Sriracha Diablo Colada features UV Sriracha vodka, pina colada mix, fresh orange juice, garnished with pineapple and red chili peppers.

Learn more about heated cocktail trends in our Hot & Spicy Beverages report! Click here to download.


Sweet Treat

The growing trend of dessert-inspired alcohol has expanded many vodka brands, resulting in a large variety of sweet, indulgent flavors for consumers to satisfy their sweet tooth with.

Effen Salted Caramel Vodka was spotted on the shelf at Mariano’s. This sweet and salty flavor is described as spicy with a hint of heat faint caramel. features a recipe that simply combines Effen Salted Caramel Vodka with your favorite brand of ginger ale.

Pinnacle Peachberry Cobbler Vodka can be found at Standard Market and is a fresh-from-the-oven combination of peach, buttery pastry and berry flavors.

Pinnacle offers one of the largest selections of dessert flavored vodkas with over 20 different flavors. Ranging from classics like Pecan Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, Caramel Apple and Pumpkin Pie to more contemporary dessert flavors including Salted Caramel, Peppermint Bark, Cinnabon and Chocolate Whipped Cream. This brand is a go-to for dessert cocktails.

Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka correctly represents its name with a sugar and cinnamon taste. This flavor was launched in October 2013 and is inspired by the sweet, warm flavors of a churro.


Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Seen on Pinterest:

Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Hot Chocolate combines your favorite hot chocolate with Cinna-Sugar Twist vodka, topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar. (A delicious way to enjoy your next Christmas party!)

Sugar n’ Spice White Russian features Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist, Kahlua and cream, sprinkled with cinnamon.


Tea cocktails have become one of the latest darlings on the drink menu offering options to adventurous sippers, and as the trend grows mainstream, we have started to find tea-flavored alcoholic bevergaes on the grocery stores shelves as well.

Firefly Original Sweet Tea Vodka is created on Wadmalaw Island, South Carolina. Keeping with Southern roots, this flavor encompasses everything about sweet tea, even including Louisiana Cane Sugar. Flirefly’s tea line also includes Peach Tea, Raspberry Tea and Skinny Tea which is made with Truvia and only contains 72 calories per serving.

Belveder Lemon Tea Vodka is a fresh, herbal flavor combination of green tea, black tea, lemon, honey, chamomile, rosebud and lemongrass. This flavor was created with “poolside and garden parties in mind,” making it a tasty compliment to ice tea and sangria recipes.

Absolut Wild Tea Vodka combines inspiration from across with globe with a unique flavor pairing of China black tea and Scandinavian white elderflower. The taste is floral and naturally sweet.


Tea-Infused Cocktails Seen on Pinterest
Earl Grey Tea Cocktail: Earl Grey tea, lavender, honey and lemon juice.
Peach Tea & Rum Cocktail: peach flavored tea, rum, peach liqueur.
Bourbon Peach Sweet Tea: brewed sweet tea, bourbon, peach preserves.
Ginger Black tea Cocktail: black tea, rose simple syrup, sparkling water.


These brands have expanded their products past traditional fruit flavors by incorporating interesting ingredients and flavor pairings. 

Absolut Orient Apple Vodka is more than a basic apple flavor. It combines the flavors of ripe, red apples with notes of ginger. This vodka is unique because it contains no added sugar and is made exclusively with natural ingredients.

Effen Dutch Raspberry Vodka takes the classic flavor of fresh raspberry and compliments it with the sweetness of vanilla. Find it at your local Mariano’s!

Grey Goose Le Melon Vodka was created to highlight the native melon of Cavaillon, France. The melons are picked during their peak season of July and August to harvest the most wildflower honey flavor. Cavaillon Melons are historic in their taste and have been treasured in the French Region for generations. It is said that Kings traded royal treasure for the sweet taste.
Click here to learn more about the “Fruit of the Kings!”

Absolut Grapevine Vodka mixes the floral notes of white grapes with the freshness of dragon fruit and papaya.



Let FONA’s market insight and research experts translate these trends into product category ideas for your brand. They can help you with concept and flavor pipeline development, ideation, consumer studies and white space analysis to pinpoint opportunities in the market. Our flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. We understand how to mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution. From concept to manufacturing, we’re here every step of the way. Contact our Sales Service Department at 630.578.8600 to request a flavor sample or visit