Lately, the fact that cocktails are encroaching on wine’s real estate on restaurant menus has been a hot topic of discussion, and one we’ve tackled a few times before. However, there are still unanswered questions as to what exactly is driving the phenomenon.

Perhaps it’s a matter of branding. In a sense, the Old Fashioned, Martini, and Margarita are all brands of cocktails, and drinkers aren’t generally concerned with the actual name-brand spirits going into them. There’s a lot less room to hide when you’re being served wine straight from a bottle you know you can buy for less at retail cost. The markup is right there in front of you. Meanwhile, cocktails are often seen as a better-value buy. For a similar price, you can either buy a four-ounce pour of wine or a drink someone actually put some elbow grease into — and arguably more booze. Plus, while just about anyone can make themselves a Martini or pop a bottle of wine at home, they’ll have a hard time recreating that leek- and-peppercorn-infused riff available at the restaurant down the street.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach respond to a listener question about why cocktails have usurped by-the-glass wine in many restaurant beverage programs, even when in many cases wine might be more affordable or potentially offer better value. Tune in for more.

Zach is drinking: Aurora Cellars Brut Rosé
Joanna is drinking: Honeypenny at Shinji’s
Adam is drinking: American Pale Ale at Transmitter Brewing

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