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Q&A: Retro cocktails, nostalgic experiences appeal to millennial consumers

Creamy Creation joined forces with Onno Komeijer, 2-star Michelin chef, to tap into the millennial-driven, growing trend of iced coffee with a fresh and sophisticated Espresso Martini
(Image credit: Creamy Creation joined forces with Onno Kokmeijer, 2-star Michelin chef, to tap into the millennial-driven, growing trend of iced coffee with a fresh and sophisticated Espresso Martini (Photo: Creamy Creation))

This post is sponsored by Creamy Creation.

Millennial consumers are driving demand for updated retro cocktails that deliver a nostalgic experience and an eye-catching presentation worthy of social media. From modernized espresso martinis to drinks that incorporate the flavors of breakfast items such as syrup or cereal, many of these cocktails have a creamy texture that calls for a versatile cream liqueur. In this interview, Creamy Creation’s Georgia Dina Konstantopoulos discusses how the company works with cream liqueur brand owners to create solutions for innovative cocktails that put a new twist on old favorites.


Retro cocktails are seeing a resurgence as millennial consumers seek out drinks such as the White Russian or espresso martini. What is driving the comeback of retro cocktails among millennials?

Millennials are probably the most studied age group marketers have seen so far that has managed to completely change the way companies — across all industries — talk to consumers in terms of product offerings, positioning, claims, etc. It is no coincidence that the vintage resurgence we’ve been seeing these past few years happened around the same time younger millennials started to reach their prime spending years. From vinyl records and vintage clothing to speakeasies and retro cocktails, millennials have a sense of nostalgia and want to relive positive experiences of the past, be it retro espresso martinis or cocktails made with Lucky Charms or other breakfast cereals associated with fun and carefree childhood memories. This age group is already spending more money on premium and craft products and wants to know the story behind a brand and its heritage. Another reason why cocktail classics are back on the menu is millennials’ thirst for experiences, even if that means at home. Younger millennials would rather spend the night in compared with older generations and enjoy a good, homemade cocktail. And let’s not forget that there’s so many resources now available online — such as mixology podcasts and Instagram influencers — that discovering a unique cocktail recipe to make at home is not as hard as it used to be in the past.

How has the comeback of retro cocktails also driven interest in cream liqueurs?

Cream liqueurs were once considered old-fashioned and traditional, but have managed to make a comeback as part of this retro trend we’re seeing, mainly due to their versatility and indulgent profile. Millennials are looking for creamy and smooth textures that remind them of childhood favorites, which is why we’re seeing unique presentations with cocktail garnishes such as pancake bites, cereal, lollipops and, of course, fun, pastel colors — like those in Starbucks’ unicorn Frappuccino. Cream liqueurs enable brand owners to tap into new, colorful applications and seasonal, on-trend ingredients that will inspire bartenders to create Instagram-worthy cocktails, tailored to the finest detail.

How does Creamy Creation’s product line help cream liqueur brand owners create products that will allow bartenders and consumers to overcome some of the limitations of working with traditional cream liqueurs?

The issue with traditional cream liqueurs is that they curdle when mixed with fruit juices, wine or hot coffee. Creamy Creation R&D department has developed an innovative and versatile, smooth, curdle-free cream that can be the perfect upgrade to traditional cocktail recipes. We work with a wide range of customers, from entrepreneurs who are just starting out to owners of the most well-established brands, to develop products tailored to their requirements. What sets us apart is not only the outstanding R&D and technical support we offer, but also our extensive knowledge of the industry and marketing intelligence behind it. We understand today’s consumer, and want to stay on top of the latest trends in the market. Our Marketing and Sales Departments work closely with our R&D team to drive innovation that will allow brands owners to tap into new trends and flavors such as churros, donuts and pancakes that we were able to predict and develop a few years back.

How are bartenders and restaurants putting a creative twist on retro cocktails by incorporating modern ingredients and flavors?

Bartenders are willing to go the extra mile to impress the millennial who is looking for innovation, authenticity, craftsmanship and the theatrical aspect of creating a cocktail. This is why we’re seeing interesting additions such as Cocoa Puffs in a White Russian, Froot Loops to boozy milkshakes, etc.

This past year, Creamy Creation teamed up with Onno Kokmeijer, 2-star Michelin chef at Ciel Bleu restaurant in Amsterdam, who worked with us to develop the ORIGINALS campaign, which features the sort of timeless, cream-based signature cocktails that the millennial consumer is looking for. This collaboration gave us invaluable consumer insights that we were able to translate to specific product applications and suggestions for our customers, cream liqueur brand owners. A perfect example of that is our new, fresh and sophisticated version of the old-time classic Espresso Martini that explores the increasingly popular third wave coffee trend, which has seen a rise in demand since 2015. Onno said the cocktail plays into the growing trend of iced coffee and really gives you a kick. At Ciel Bleu, he replaced the restaurant’s classic vanilla and coffee ice cream with this silky upgrade of a classic Espresso Martini, and said it was “pure success from the start.”

Georgia Dina Konstantopoulos is the marketing communication manager for Creamy Creation. Her knowledge of consumer behavior and market insights help Creamy Creation’s technical team set new ideation goals and develop innovative products that give brand owners a competitive edge in the market. She comes from the food & beverage industry and start-up environment, and holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Athens University of Economics and Business and a Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship from Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business.


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