Why Aren’t Men Allowed to Like Liqueurs? – Tia Maria
Review by: Martin Pilkington
Saying I like the occasional liqueur feels like a confession. Blokes are not supposed to enjoy such things. Watch any television ad for them and you’ll see the target market is not fifty-something males still convinced they could play flanker for England (notice how I subtly got the manly sports mention in there?). But why should cocktails just be ‘girly’? Or for maiden aunts?
Tia Maria is a case in point. Something with a coffee-taste-kick like a double espresso with vanilla syrup could, with a different marketing slant and name – Tio Toni anyone? – be sold as a pick-me-up for men, though probably a bit less sweet (consultancy fees welcome by the way).
Examine the evidence: the basis of the drink is rum; the flavouring coffee and more coffee, with a bit of vanilla to round off the edges. It has a kick, though the 20 per cent ABV these days is several steps down from older versions. And there are few things that suit ice – on the rocks for those with a Y chromosome – better. It coats the mouth, the already powerful taste necessarily lingering. None of these factors, or course, means that women should not enjoy the tipple too, far from it.
As the focus of a hundred cocktails it is one of the ingredients that you’ll pick out even in some of the more arcane mixes seemingly invented daily now. It has muscle. Yet it’s a fair bet that 90 per cent of the Tia Maria drunk in this country will be by women. Go figure.