In 2015, rum followed in the heels of tequila and tried to shed its party image by going premium, while new and emerging distillers created gins made with local botanicals to bring a native twist to the British classic.

Those are among some of the biggest spirit trends highlighted in 2015 according to experts interviewed at the trade site The Spirits Business.

Here are some of the top trends that got the spirits industry buzzing over the last year:

Premium rum

Analysts saw the launch of Bacardi's Gran Reserva Maestro de Ron in 2015, a super-premium rum, as a turning point for the spirit that is often cast as a party drink among young revellers. Double-aged using white oak casks, the white sipping rum is marketed as an upscale version of the brand's flagship rum and was strategically launched at a James Beard Foundation Awards event in the spring. Experts also highlighted the popularity of spiced rums throughout 2015. At the World Rum Awards, the Professor Cornelius Ampleforth took the title of best spiced rum 2015 for its Rumbullion! XO 15 Years Old. Notes include licorice, treacle, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, molasses and menthol.

Local gin

Instead of using generic botanicals, emerging gin distillers in the US, France and Australia brought their own twist to the table in 2015 by infusing theirs with local herbs. Australian brand Four Pillars took Rare Dry Gin to the UK for the first time in 2015, introducing British palates to a distinctly Aussie gin made with Tasmanian pepperberry, lemon myrtle, lavender angelica root, cinnamon, juniper berries, cardamom and coriander seeds. Most interestingly, the small Australian distiller also uses whole, organic Australian oranges to the distilling process.

Bottled cocktails

Experts predicted that consumers would drink more cocktails at home in 2015. To take the guesswork out of measurements and ingredients, Diageo helped drive the trend with the launch of pre-mixed, bottled cocktails with their line Studebaker Manhattan made with sweet vermouth, bitters and Canadian whisky, and Studebaker Old Fashioned, made with cherry, orange and bitters. Hosts are also serving pitchers of cocktails either as an alternative or addition to wine and beer, making pre-mixed cocktails particularly convenient.