People Are Drinking This One Spirit More Than Ever During Quarantine

One liquor in particular has been surprisingly popular for quarantine cocktail hour.
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Gin Martini Final

New data has become available about the surge in U.S. alcohol sales during the coronavirus pandemic, and one spirit in particular is leading the pack. 

Nielsen previously reported that sales of liquor, beer and wine rose a whopping 55 percent in the week ending March 21, shortly after the first stay-at-home orders were issued in the country's most impacted cities. 

And CNBC now reports that off-premise booze sales (i.e. sales of items that aren't consumed at bars or restaurants) shot up 34.1 percent over last year for the nine-week period ending May 2, according to Nielsen data. Interestingly, it turns out that gin is the best-performing spirit by far, spiking 42.5 percent over the same time period. 

Tom Spaven, brand director at Bombay Sapphire, tells CNBC that gin's intoxicating popularity was already swelling before the lockdowns began. 

The gin-based Eye Candy from Maxim's quarantine cocktail guide. 

The gin-based Eye Candy from Maxim's quarantine cocktail guide. 

"It's not just the top-quality bartenders, but really a lot of the mass audience in the U.S. getting into making cocktails at home and being less afraid to order something a little bit different,” Spaven said, adding that gin drinkers prefer the spirit's floral juniper berry flavors over other clear liquors like vodka. 

The overall surge in spirits consumption is likely linked to drinkers' desire to make more cocktails at home, a subject covered in our recent quarantine cocktail guide. “We’ve seen rises in [people making] really simple, two to three ingredient cocktails, anything from the negroni [to] the classic martini … and we’ve seen a significant rise in sales of premium mixers,” Spaven said. 

Meanwhile, wine and beer sales have shot up 30.1 percent and 12.6 percent from last year in the week ending May 2. Door-to-door alcohol delivery services like Drizly, which saw an estimated 300 percent jump in sales in March, are also garnering bigger business.