It's been a stiff drink to swallow, given the former, and quick, success for the global liquor brands. By 2012, Martell Cognac sold over a million cases annually in China, the first imported spirit brand to do so. In fact, cognac consumption in the region grew by 8.9 percent that calendar year, making it the third-largest market for the spirit, according to the BNIC.
Scotch was also thriving in emerging markets in 2012, with sales growing 17 percent in India, and 8 percent in China, according to the Scotch Whisky Association. Chivas Regal Royal Salute was a big winner in China, Ballantine's in Brazil and Glenlivet in India.
Never drink again?
The larger trend line gives the liquor companies confidence to believe that consumers in emerging markets will drink again once this hangover wears off. "Putting a lid on it [extravagant consumption] can have an effect in the near term," Wickham said, but added, the "aspiration in the long term is to consume luxury items, imports like Martell, Ballantine's, Rémy Martin."
"There may be bumps in the road, but we believe that the market dynamics are positive, and we are investing for growth," said Andrew Morgan, president, new businesses at Diageo, whose Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and other brands have done particularly well in emerging markets.
Diageo reported that emerging markets accounted for 80 percent of the total net sales growth of Johnnie Walker in the 2013 fiscal year ended July (overall net sales growth was 10 percent); net sales of its super and ultra premium scotch brands grew by 59 percent in China; and sales of Diageo's super and ultra premium brands in Greater China grew 44 percent, driven by Johnnie Walker and Windsor.
"Emerging markets are inherently volatile," said Shore Capital's Carroll. "These short-term problems are not going to change the long-term plans of these companies. It's about riding out the storm. ... Ultimately, the demand is there."
Morgan said the number of high-net-worth individuals in these markets is set to grow by 400 million people in the next decade and the number of emerging middle class consumers by nearly 1.3 billion, providing an ideal audience for global and premiumized local brands.
"They want to signal their newfound status and personal progress with international brands," he said.
By the end of the 2016 fiscal year, Diageo expects its current 42 percent in emerging market sales to rise to half of its global net sales.
—By Mary E. Keefe, special to CNBC.com
Correction: This story has been updated to correct a misstatement by one of the story's sources.