WE may all have some trusty favourites when it comes to our tipples of choice, but there's no denying that rends play a key role in drinks menus. Remember when prosecco sold out? And it wasn't that long ago that most bars offered a choice of two or three gins, whereas now the options seem limitless.
But what's set to be tickling our taste buds in 2019? The drinks industry likes to keep us on our toes, and of course, some trends take off more than others. Given the number of wines to watch, low and non-alcoholic options and the popularity of small-batch spirits, predicting which libation we're going to be polishing off will always be a balancing act.
To point you in the right direction and hint at what's in store, we spoke to some industry insiders. Here's what looks set to shape our drinking in 2019...
1. South African winemakers are producing an abundance of world-class wines, despite grappling with a three-year long drought. In contrast with the resulting reduction in harvest size, thw quality of South African wine has anything but declined. Try this: Huguenot Chenin Blanc 2018, Western Cape, South Africa, £9.99, Laithwaites.co.uk
2. The ABC (anything but chardonnay) era is drawing to an end, as shown by the landslide success chardonnay enjoyed at the International Wine Challenge (IWC), with nearly 30% of all Gold medals going to chardonnay wines, including the two highest scoring wines in the competition. Try this: One of the highest scoring wines (97 points), McGuigan Shortlist Chardonnay, Australia, currently reduced to £13 from £15, Sainsbury's.
3. Could the prosecco bubble have finally burst? We're starting to look elsewhere to satisfy our unquenchable thirst for fizz, and while champagne dominated the sparkling wine category at the IWC, England was the only other country whose wines were deemed gold-worthy. Try this: Raimes Classic Brut 2014, England, £30, Raimes.co.uk.
4. 2018 began with a record 315 homegrown gin distilleries, a rise of 127% in five years, but now it's not just us Brits who are getting overjoyed by juniper. In the last 12 months, Majestic have launched gins from Provence in the South of France, Finland and Pennsylvania - adding to those from New Zealand, California and, of course, the UK. The trend for local vs international is expected to continue, with the gin-craze diversifying, rather than slowing. Try this: From the fragrance capital of the world, 44N, Grasse, France, 75 Euros/approx. £66 (50cl), Comte de Grasse.