Diageo North America announced a major new Johnnie Walker mixology program today in an effort to expand the burgeoning field of Scotch cocktails. An extension of Johnnie Walker’s new Keep Walking America campaign, the Flavors of America program targets bartenders and the trade, with a focus on expanding the breadth of flavors used in blended Scotch cocktails. The initiative features a diverse array of about 50 drinks created by 11 mixologists around the country, 10 of whom are dedicated to local markets. Mixologist Gabe Orta, cofounder of the Miami cocktail consulting company Bar Lab and the drinks venue Broken Shaker, leads the program as national ambassador. “The Flavors of America program celebrates diversity and recognizes the melting pot and rich fabric of American culture,” Orta says. “The backgrounds and cultures of some of the country’s top mixologists are being showcased in a new way through this program. Each bartender has allowed the flavors of their local market culture and personal heritage to shine through in these new recipes.”
While Bourbon’s growth has propelled whisk(e)y-based cocktails to near-ubiquity, Scotch mixology has been slower to follow suit. The blended Scotch whisky category has been in the doldrums for the last few years, despite robust demand for single malt Scotch. The Flavors of America program aims to broaden the brand’s reach amidst the challenging market. Johnnie Walker was up 1.3 percent in value in the last 12 months, according to Nielsen.