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Wines & Spirits.  Peanut butter & chocolate.  Paying gig & wine blog research.  I fully admit that I am still on an adrenaline high from attending the 68th annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention & Exposition, a feat completed with almost zero sleep and approximately 3,562 steps between my hotel room and the press room.  In between my work requirements (really … I did have to work and it was hard work as I am very proud of our results, I had the chance to walk the show floor with thousands of others and made some great discoveries.  Today, I’m going to kick off the top five trends that I saw coming out of the convention.  The top two trends will each be a separate column, so stay tuned:

NUMBER FIVE: CHOCOLATE WINE AND TEQUILA. I discovered chocolate paired with red wine as well as chocolate paired with tequila.  Instructions given were to serve either warm or cold.  Interesting and better than anticipated, but I’m still of the mindset that I like separate pairings.  

NUMBER FOUR: JUICY FRUITS. Pairing natural fruit juices like strawberry, kiwi, banana and pomegranate, which are 100 percent natural, with vodka.  Really tasty.  I also saw sorbet cocktails – the dessert that drinks like a cocktail complete with a spoon.  And, you’ll never have that pre-mixed sugar headache again.

NUMBER THREE: HEALTHY SPIRITS.  From green tea to lemongrass to cucumber, spirits are becoming infused with healthy ingredients as consumers demand fresher, cleaner spirits to sip.  I really enjoyed the Green Tea Vodka from St. Claire.

Alacran

I also had the opportunity to get to know a long-time Twitter friend, Matthew Horbund from A Good Time With Wine.  I know I’ve said this before, but I really have some amazing virtual friends who quickly become my friends in real life.  Matthew, I had a blast tasting Romanian wine, drinking sake and enjoying some pretty innovative agave tequila from Alacran.

WSWA Cows

The WSWA convention – it had it all from the greatest Maxim party featuring drop-dead gorgeous women (I did not take pictures of them, but Matthew was happy to do so to the hairy cows along with a glimpse to what consumers will be drinking in the not so near future.