Bye bye Blue Nun, hello orange wine... What we're drinking in 2019, and what to buy now for Christmas parties

Orange wine, alcohol-free negronis... here's what we're stocking our home bars with this year, plus the very best tipples you can buy

Aperol Spritz
(Image credit: Waitrose)

Remember when a sweet white wine spritzer really did it for you? Or a bottle of Lambrusco and a six-pack of beer? Or maybe the memory's been dulled by the thyme-infused organic gin you've been preferring of late?

Yup, it won't surprise you to know that we are no longer happy making do with a bottle of Blue Nun or fizzy cider: as a nation, we're getting really picky about what we drink and our alcohol (or non-alcohol – spoiler alert) choice is fancier than ever.

Now we're keen proponents of trying something new here at the Real Homes bungalow (our fascination with bar carts demonstrates that), so we were fascinated by the results of Waitrose's annual food and drinks report. We know, there was nothing on telly that night, so we read that instead. 

Anyways, we've distilled it (get it?) into a lighter read for you. So if you're fascinated with the top drinks trends of 2019 (and whether you're in with the in crowd – or at least the Waitrose crowd), read on. We've chosen a few of our favourite picks to top up your tipple collection, too… Any excuse.

Waitrose has seen a shift away from alcohol content and towards flavour when it comes to choosing our tipple. 

We're mulling over whether we want something bitter, sweet, long or cold, not what percentage it's touting on the bottle. That's partly thanks to the ever-growing wellness trend, as well as the rise of more up-market non-alcoholic mixers like Fever-Tree.

No- or low-alcohol drinks are a defining trend of 2019, and it shows no sign of stopping: we're swapping a G&T for drinks like vermouth and tonic or Campari and soda.

These are our nominated driver, Stoptober, Dry January all year round favourites below. 

2. Blue Planet's got us into 'sustainable drinking'

Thanks to refillable schemes like Waitrose's 'Unpacked' pilot at their Oxford Botley Road store, we're taking BYOB to our supermakets, lugging reusable bottles to top up our wine and beer supplies.

Cans are also on the rise, which might have you frowning in confusion – after all, aren't they disposable? Coinciding with the craft beer boom and the increasing popularity of ready-to-drink cocktails, cans are cool again – but crucially, they're made from aluminium, so they're easily recyclable and already contain a high proportion of recycled content.

Here are our favourite eco-conscious tipples.

3. Pink and orange are 2019's colours

Our love affair with all things pink lives on, so expect to see pink gin and rosé wine continue their reign – if nothing else, it looks pretty in a glass. 

The big news of the year was orange wine – wine from England and Wales that has an orange colour from leaving the skin on the grapes during the ageing process. The boom comes from a bumper harvest in 2018 – it seems the future's looking bright for local tipple.

You can embrace this colourful drinking trend with these tasty buys.

4. Forget Brexit, we're drinking Eastern European!

Talking of grapes, we're taking a new interest in Eastern European wine and indulging in 'controlled discovery' – sampling wines from grapes most of us have never heard of.

If you enjoy a glass of fizz when you're celebrating, never fear: sparkling drinks are as popular as ever. As well as Cava making a comeback, we're looking further afield, though: as far as Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, in fact.

5. And the rest...

Elsewhere, drinks tourism is on the rise with more people visiting the UK's vineyards, breweries and distilleries. We're also getting in with the upcycling movement: as spirit bottles have become more and more fancy, we're repurposing them on our dining tables and our shelves as display items long after they've adorned our bar carts.

We're even going DIY, with some of us experimenting with creating our own flavoured gins and vodkas, adding fruits, herbs and botanicals as we like. Note: if you get it right, it makes a great Christmas gift.

Ellen Finch
Ellen Finch

After a stint writing for true life titles, Ellen made her venture into the world of interiors in 2017 and became Features Editor on Real Homes magazine. Since she doesn't own her own home, she's always taking inspiration from Real Homes' renters' section, which is full of clever tips and tricks.