WHISKY AND RUM BRANDS TAKE TO THE HIGH SEAS IN 2023 TO TAP HIGH-END DEMAND
Two top-end whisky and rum brands are joining culinary- and destination-focused cruise line Oceania Cruises next year to debut a series of novel rum and whisky programmes across the fleet.
Mixologists are still very much in favour across bars and clubs, and consumers are trading up to more expensive spirits in the ‘less but better’ quest for the perfect drinking experience, as the rise in craft spirits attests. Brands are looking at other channels, too, and targeting the more discerning cruise consumers.
Edrington-owned The Macallan Scotch whisky and Brugal 1888 rum will be featured in a new programme for Oceania. Some iconic Macallan expressions will be used to offer chocolate pairings and more while, Brugal 1888 Doblemente Añejado Rum will be part of another series of events such as tea mixology and creating ice cream cocktails.
As well as brands’ reaching the right audience, cruise lines can offer something different to customers. As demand returns for cruising after the pandemic, Oceania is enhancing its high-end food and drink service, already widely regarded as among the best at sea. “These new rum and whisky programmes come on the heels of the recently announced elevated bar programme aboard Vista, debuting from 20 May, 2023,” said Daniela Oancea, corporate beverage manager at Oceania Cruises, part of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
She added: “Across the fleet we have been working on a number of concepts tapping into current mixology trends that will modernise and enhance our sailings. We know this partnership with Edrington will be an exciting addition on board.”
Multiple whisky experiences
As an established luxury whisky, The Macallan is leaning into its popularity as a single malt on board Oceania and is launching a series of experiences aimed to take the brand to new heights. They include:
- A Diamond Bar Cart inviting guests to discover the brand through iconic expressions as well as a few exclusive offerings like The Macallan Smoker, which brings theatre and ritual to smoking cocktails by utilising ‘flavour blasters’ to infuse the drink.
- The Flight Programme which takes guests on a journey of flavour discovery to exploring what makes the whisky the most valuable single malt in the world and gain an understanding of the complex flavours created by the brand through group or individual tastings.
- Chocolate Pairings dependent on guest preferences and can include: Macallan Quest and milk chocolate, Macallan Lumina and chocolate truffles with fruit, Macallan Terra and white chocolate, and Macallan Enigma and dark chocolate.
Brugal 1888 treads a different path
Lesser known Brugal 1888 will focus on entertaining and educational mixology experiences featuring Brugal 1888 Doblemente Añejado Rum as follows:
- Tea at Sea will teach guests about the history of pairing rum and tea since the 17th century while providing a hands-on mixology experience to match and taste-test a series of complementary flavours. A number of tea pairings – from aperitivo-style pre-meal cocktails to highball light and sparkling cocktails – will also be available at bars on board.
- The Nearly Neat Serving Cart is a concept designed to bring a sophisticated alternative to traditional cocktails with an exclusive Nearly Neat menu featuring Brugal 1888 in a series of cocktails: The Chocolate Orange, The Night Cap, The Solstice, and The Reviver.
- Ice Cream and Brugal Cocktails will be available at pools, restaurants, and lounges. They will highlight the trend in speciality cocktails and bring a sweet twist to popular favourites such as espresso martini, caramel milkshake, and Aperol spritz.
The fleetwide Macallan and Brugal offerings are in addition to the bar program aboard the 1,200-guest Vista which debutis on 20 May, 2023. Vista, the first of the all-new Allura ship class and will feature the latest cocktail-crafting trends and techniques such as flavoured smoke bubbles, a big selection of low- and no-sugar wines, and zero-proof cocktails, plus Negronis aged in wooden barrels and speciality beverage carts like the Bubbly Bar and Ultimate Bloody Mary Bar.
Oceania Cruises, headquartered in Miami, operates seven small, luxury ships with a second 1,200-guest Allura class ship on order for delivery in 2025.
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