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Dark Nights, Dark Drinks

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Image source: Eminente Rum 

In the dark, dark night there was a dark, dark street. On the dark, dark street there was a warm and friendly bar serving a whole range of rich dark drinks to keep the Autumn chill at bay.

As the days continue to get colder, and the nights get darker, customers are looking for drinks that are a bit more full-bodied with a richer flavour profile, in contrast to the light fresh drinks of summer. Like swapping the sandals and shorts for thick socks and cosy knits, now is the perfect time to transition your drinks list from summer to winter with some deliciously dark drinks.

In this article, we dive into some of our favourite dark drinks for dark nights, that will delight your customers all winter-long.

Dark(er) Rums for Dark(er) Nights

When the days get shorter and evenings feel darker, we often see customers move to drinks that match the weather - a little darker, but still full of big flavours. When it comes, though versatile enough to be enjoyed all year round, people are likely going to head for the spiced and dark variations to awaken the senses. During 2023, premium rums grew in popularity, helping grow total rum sales by 85%.

Perfect for those looking to treat themselves after being out in the cold, invite the rum-lovers to warm up in your bar with Eminente Reserva. Deliciously rich and full-bodied rum with a remarkably long finish, it's made with 70% of aguardiente (aged Cuban sugarcane eau-de-vie) which bring the complexity and depth of aromas. Perfect for customers seeking a slow sip on its own or mixed into some indulgent cocktails. 

Mount Gay and their range of rums are at the top of our lists for a toasty tipple on a cold night. Eclipse Barbados Golden Rum, from their core collection, is distilled in traditional copper pots and column stills, then matured for 2 years in American whiskey casks. The result is a crisp and aromatic rum with distinct notes vanilla and banana and underlying notes of caramel, spice and summer fruits. Unlike some spiced and flavoured rum, Mount Gay is perhaps best enjoyed sipped straight, preferably by a roaring fire. Makes you feel warm already, doesn’t it?

Warming Whiskies

In addition to the essential single malt scotch that that every bar should have, we’ve picked a few Scotch whiskies that offer something a little different:

Grant’s Family Reserve is a Triple Wood Blended Scotch that is aged in 3 different barrels to give it its distinct flavour: Virgin Oak for spicy robustness, American Oak for subtle vanilla smoothness and Bourbon refill for brown sugar sweetness. This is a great one for whisky enthusiasts or for those new to this category with its smooth, rich, mellow taste.

Chivas Regal 12-Year-Old is also Triple Blended and is aged for a minimum of 12 years. Iconic Speyside flavours lie at the core of this signature blend and the result has notes of crisp orchard fruits, wild heather, and sweet honey. This works beautifully in a classic whisky highball cocktail!

Finally, and perhaps a little unexpectedly, we have Dewar’s Caribbean Smooth, with flavour notes of brown sugar, tropical fruits, and caramel. This unique Scotch whisky is finished in ex-Caribbean rum casks for up to 6 months to give it that smooth finish. It could be a great way to entice rum drinkers over to the whisky side. Something like an Old Fashioned would beautifully bring out the vanilla notes from the oak casks.

Classy Cognac

We’ve seen an increased demand for Cognac in recent years. Unlike other brandies, the name Cognac is protected under French law and must meet 3 requirements: made from specific grape varieties, twice distilled in copper pots, and aged in oak barrels for two years minimum.

Courvoisier is perhaps the first name that springs to mind from the cognac category Their VSOP Fine Cognac has notes of peach, toasted almonds and jasmine and is a perfect balance between Fins Bois, Grande and Petite Champagne. It makes for some excellent, high margin cocktail serves that appeal to Cognac consumers and those who might not have thought to try it before.

Another notable name in Cognac is Remy Martin and their 1738 Accord Royal; a distinctive cognac with tasting notes of plum and fig marmalade. 2021 was the 100th anniversary of the classic Remy Martin Sidecar cocktail, which provides yet another opportunity to capitalise on cognac!

To serve: Add 30ml Remy Martin 1738, 20ml Cointreau, 15ml Lime Juice to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a coupe.

Blazing Beers

Summer calls for refreshing light beers such as lager. But winter is for those warming, well-rounded beers such as ales or stouts.

Dark Star Hophead is just that: full-bodied and full of flavour, yet still delivers that feeling of refreshment consumers crave in a beer. It makes for a hearty serve that will delight customers throughout the winter months.

Innis & Gunn The Original isn’t a dark beer but it is certainly one for winter! Matured in Single Malt Whisky casks, the result is a unique Scottish Golden Beer that is velvety with a delicate finish. It's incredibly smooth and deep in flavour with hints of vanilla, toffee and oak - this is a beer to be savoured!

When customers are seeking drinks to keep the Autumn chill at bay on a dark, dark night, these dark drinks can enable you to be the warm and cosy bar that satisfies their needs. Browse our full range of winter warming drinks online at

About the author

Mary McCarron

Mary looks after the majority of Matthew Clark's digital marketing comms. After a couple of years working in tech, she found her way back to the hospitality industry and can now be found talking all things cocktails, spirits, beer, softs and more across our website, social media, and other digital channels.

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