For the not-so-serious drinker: Marshmallow vodka

Wed Dec 28, 2011 3:30pm EST
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By Martinne Geller

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Vodkas flavored with citrus and berry have been around for years and recently some newer brands have been trying to create buzz with unusual flavors.

But this holiday season, for the first time, the world's largest vodka brand is trying to appeal to Americans' sweet tooth with zany flavors like "fluffed marshmallow" and "whipped cream."

Faced with relentless competition from established and upstart brands, Smirnoff's owner -- the London-based beverage group Diageo Plc -- took inspiration from things like cookie-scented candles and vanilla-scented laundry soap. It then relied on focus groups, mixologists and food scientists to come up with the new drinks, which went through some 15 iterations, according to the company's chief marketing and innovation officer for North America, Peter McDonough.

Tasters preferred a "toasted" marshmallow flavor, but the marketing team decided that "fluffed" marshmallow would be a better name, McDonough said, since it would help avoid perceptions that the drink tasted "chalky or burnt."

Diageo paired the drinks with an advertising campaign around the title "Fluffed and Whipped" that features a circus of dancers, dogs, aerialists, women spraying whipped cream into their mouths and model Amber Rose purring that "vodka never felt this good."


The mixing of sugar and spice has struck a chord, particularly with younger, female drinkers, say some New York bartenders.

"In five years of bartending, I have never seen a bottle sell out that fast," said Dena Kravitz of Rosie O'Grady's Irish Pub in Manhattan's Times Square. "It's the martini of the younger generation."   Continued...

<p>Bottles of Diageo's Smirnoff Whipped Cream (L) and Fluffed Marshmallow flavored vodkas which were recently launched in the U.S. are seen in this picture taken December 20, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Segar</p>