Thursday, January 2, 2014

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2013 (in) ::

I will complete my fourth annual trilogy of year end wrap up posts by picking out the best recipes we tried at our home bar this year. While I did create a few recipes this year both at home and at work, I will tack a few of my favorite ones at the end and keep this list solely to recipes created by bartenders, living, deceased, and unknown, from around the world.

January: It was easier to pick the top 3 drinks of the month than to sort out the order. In the end, I gave the nod to the tempered Fernet Branca La Yapa crafted by Jamal Hassan from the Ox Restaurant and Whey Bar in Portland, Oregon. For runners up, the Hemingway Daiquiri and Creole Contentment-like Throw The Horns from Jeff Baumann of the beer Mecca the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury, Vermont, and the seasonal Tiki-inspired Winter Daiquiri by Mindy Kucan of Hale Pele in Portland, Oregon, get the mention.

February: For a winner, I opted for the beer cocktail version of his Michigander, namely Jason Schiffer's Detroiter from 320 Main in Seal Beach, California. For a runner up, I narrowed it down to one, the Kirkwood by Miles Macquarrie of Leon's Full Service in Decatur, Georgia; the recipe triggers thoughts of Evan Harrison's Peralta and Stephen Schellenberger's Alto Cucina.
March: Making me think of Gilda and Underneath the Volcano, Chris Lane's Broken Flower at Lolinda in San Francisco acquires March's slot. For bronze and silver (in no particular order) are Colin Shearn's equal parts number Sideways in Reverse that he concocted at Philadelphia's Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co., and Yao Lu's Campari-driven Swizzle, the Witchy Woman at Houston's Anvil Bar & Refuge.

April: Chris Hannah's amaro riff on the Martinez, the Amertinez, from Arnaud's French 75 in New Orleans captivated me with both Cynar and Averna variations. Also worth mentioning are Donato Alvarez's mezcal-cucumber Going Back to Mezcali from the Sixth Engine in Washington, D.C., and the lesser known Brown Derby from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933.

May: For a pick of the month, I selected Joaquín Simó's Mutiny Suppressor from Manhattan's Pouring Ribbons; a great complexity was generated with lesser used Galliano and Amaro Nardini ingredients. For runners up, both came from Gary Regan's The Negroni book, namely Joseph Boley of Paris' Red House's variation on Sam Ross' Left Hand called the Southpaw and Kevin Burke of Denver's Colt & Gray's salt-tempered amaro Bottecchia.
June: For the win, I picked Bobby Heugel's Cortez Julep, a tequila and sherry Julep he invented at the Anvil in Houston. For place and show (in no particular order) are the rum and Madeira Fix, the White House, from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933, and the Fernet-containing Champagne cocktail the Imperial Delight from 1940's The How and When.

July: The quirky sherry-containing Pimm's Cup, the Moretta Cocktail, from The Mutineer Magazine's event at Tales of the Cocktail soothed the discomfort of not being in New Orleans for the event. For second honors, the refreshing aperitif, the Queen Elizabeth Cocktail, from The How and When, and the Scotch-Madeira 91st Division from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 got selected.

August: For a pick, I went with Jacob Grier's Cognac, smoky tea, and spice Lion's Share at Metrovino. For support, there are the Honeymoon- and Scofflaw-esque Argentina from 1934 Boothby's World Drinks And How To Mix Them and the Genever-amaro-maple Western Front by Adam Robinson of Portland's Rum Club.

September: Another beer cocktail grabbed me, namely the End of Days from Saison in Richmond, Virginia, that I spotted in Beer Advocate. The Hurricane-like Wicked Wahine from Brice Ginardi of Okolemaluna Tiki Lounge in Hawaii and the soft Irish whiskey-honey-citrus-vermouth Copywriter from Steven Weiss of Craftbar in New York City share the supportive honors.
October: The Lindsey's Whimsy got the slot for the October; this light sherry and herbal liqueur recipe was created by Lindsey Baird at San Francisco's Comstock Saloon and published in The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level. Also worth mentioning is Leo Robitschek's Daiquiri variation, the Heart of Stone, from Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan.

November: I guess this month was more of a go out for cocktails and stay home for beer type of month which might have had something to do with Thirst Boston occuring during this time period. The winner is the autumnal Manhattan variation, the Autumn Sunset, from Sanctuaria: The Dive Bar of Cocktail Bars.

December: Timothy Miner of the Long Island Bar in Manhattan's Sherry Duval caught my eye on the ShakeStir website with the sherry, Cynar, and maple elements. Another one from ShakeStir gets honorable mention -- the Tiki Stranger than Paradise by Jade Brown Godfrey of Manhattan's Pouring Ribbons. In addition, there was the rum-sherry-bitters Act of Faith by Dan Greenbaum of Manhattan's The Beagle and Attaboy.
My favorite creations of 2013: I narrow it down to six drinks which was tough, but I did it in pairs. Two from the "Women of the Wild West" night at the Blue Room were the pisco-Campari-cacao Stagecoach Mary that I later competed with in the Bols Around the World competition and the quirky nondiluted room temperature cocktail, the Madame Mustache. Two that I created at home for no menu in particular were the Sherry Mai Tai and a Vieux Carré variation for Mixology Monday: Flip Flop, the Cocktail à la Salle, which took it in a tequila-sherry direction. And the two that I invented at Russell House Tavern were my menu items, the tequila-Swedish Punsch Chutes & Ladders as a riff of a drink from the Café Royal Cocktail Book, and the mezcal-apple brandy herbal Downtown at Dawn (which was a progression from my Blue Room Pearl de Vere).


Dagreb said...

The Sherry Mai Tai is delicious!

Adam said...

I'm glad you enjoyed my 'Western Front' cocktail, I just have one question. Where did you find the recipe for it?

-Adam Robinson

frederic said...

It was on the Bols Bartending Facebook page some time over the summer. Just found it -- August 13th. Cheers!