Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Rise of Wine-Based Cocktails

What will they think of next? 

Wine-based cocktails seem to be growing in popularity, at least here in Ontario. Panama Jack’s has a line of flavoured wine-based creams that imitate Bailey’s Irish Cream, Cafe del Sol’s coffee liquor provides an alternative to Kahlua, and Cartier Irish Cream is another Bailey’s copycat. 

Why Wine?

Of course, businesses (including wineries) are always looking for innovative new products to broaden their consumer base. Wine-based cocktails may grow in popularity for a few reasons…

The sale of alcohol in Ontario is controlled by the government, allowing only a few wineries, distilleries, and breweries to sell their own products. In order to compete with the LCBO’s vast selection, it makes sense for wineries to create comparable products. I’m not a lawyer (or a businesswoman, for that matter) so I won’t get into the nitty gritty details. Apparently in other regions, certain restaurants are only allowed to have a wine and beer permit. This makes wine-based liquors an attractive option for places that want to serve the classic cocktails that bar patrons have come to love. Check out this website for some ridiculous liquor knockoffs, like “Voschka”.

Either way, for those who are already stopping at their local wine shop on the way home from work, the option of grabbing a cocktail as well may be enticing. 

Another advantage of wine-based cocktails is the price. Often, the wine-based copycats are much cheaper than their hard-liquor counterparts. For example, a 750ml bottle of Bailey’s Irish Cream retails for $29.95 at the LCBO, while a 750ml bottle of Panama Jack’s Original Cream sells for $18.95. Those are some steep savings. 

Most importantly, how does the taste compare?

You might be wary of a wine disguising itself as liquor. It’s understandable. Fear not, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to taste ‘wine’ in these drinks. They don’t always taste exactly like the liquor they’re trying to imitate, but some do a pretty good job. Taste a few for yourself and decide whether the savings and convenience are worth it. 

What do you think? Have you tried any wine-based cocktails? Let me know in the comments.

On Monday, Panama Jack’s will be debuting their new summer cocktails: Margarita and Long Island Iced Tea. Stay tuned for a review of these brand new wine-based cocktails!


  1. I really don't like Baileys but I tried the Cartier Irish Cream and really liked it. It is a nice drink over ice, lighter in taste than the original.

    1. I haven't tried Cartier yet! I do find the Panama Jack's a bit lighter/less creamy than Bailey's actually.

  2. I really don't like Baileys but I tried the Cartier Irish Cream and really liked it. It is a nice drink over ice, lighter in taste than the original.

  3. I really like Cartier's but recently they changed their formula and it's not as creamy, it's more watery now. I guess I'll be going back to Panama Jack's since I'm not buying the way over priced Bailey's.

  4. Hi,
    We recently bought a bottle of Cartier’s Irish Cream. It tasted amazing at the grocery store where we sampled it, and bought a 750ml bottle.

    I know creamy liquors spoil after 2 years, however, there is NO expiry or best before date on this bottle.

    How do I know how old it is right now???? Can someone please respond ....


  5. I bought a bottle of the Cartier Irish Cream, I'm not familiar with other products but really liked the sample at the grocery store so I bought a bottle. Really nice by itself in coffee or even a glass of chocolate milk. I plan to buy another bottle.