Wednesday, January 2, 2013

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2012 (in) ::

And for a third year running, I will complete my 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, I will tack a few of my favorite ones at the end and keep this list solely to recipes created by bartenders, living and deceased, from around the world.

January: The best drink we had at home in January is Casey Robinson's El Nacional perhaps for how the Campari and Ramazzotti acted together. For runners up, Jacob Grier's Mexican Turnover and the Swedish Punsch and Pimm's Pimmeron from 1700 Cocktails for the Man Behind the Bar.
February: Cale Green's dark and herbal Daiquiri called the Dirt'n'Diesel gets the nod for February. Runners up are Sidecar-ish They Shall Inherit the Earth from Esquire's The Art of Mixing Drinks and Brian Miller's Benjamin Barker Daiquiri.

March: The month's winner is Palliative Potion for Pomona as a rum and Swedish Punsch Corpse Reviver from Crosby Gaige's Cocktail Guide and Ladies' Companion. Next in line are the Supreme from The How and When which conjured up a Tango #2 and Rum Frisco, and the Chelsea Sidecar-like Snake in the Grass from Café Royal Cocktail Book.
April: The tequila and sherry El Molino from PDT Cocktail Book was quite a delight in April. Runners up are the rye Hot Spring from Café Royal Cocktail Book and Clive's Classic Lounge's anti-Tiki Tar Pit that I discovered in a Diageo happy hour recipe book from Tales of the Cocktail in 2011.

May: May was a month of four equal parts drinks with or without absinthe. For a winner, I guess I'll go with Joaquin Simo's Naked and Famous. For runners up, Sam Ross' Sunflower and Jason Lograsso's Flower's of Distinction.
June: A Last Word-Jack Rose hybrid by Clover Club's Brad Farran, the Jack's Word, caught my attention for June. Erik Adkin's Pisco Ramos-like San Francisco Fizz and the lesser known Monte Carlo -- the Madeira-containing one from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars: 1903-1933 -- get the nod for runners up.

July: July's pick is the reposado tequila, Punt e Mes, and strawberry-containing Resting Point from the P.D.T. Cocktail Book. For runners up, the Martinez-like L'Aurore from William Schmidt's The Flowing Bowl and the absinthe-laden Pontarlier Julep caught my attention.
August: Maksym Pazuniak's bitter and smoky Barefoot in the Dark is my pick. For runners up, the Periodista-like Superior from Boothby and Milk & Honey's Rome with a View are worthy potations.

September: The Pacer, a Bobby Burns-like drink with extra savory herbal notes from Yellow Chartreuse, deserves some extra attention. For runners up, I selected the Old Hall, a Martini crossed with a Gimlet, and P.D.T. Cocktail Book's Siesta.

October: Chris Hannah's Pomme en Croute in homage to the Crusta first made in New Orleans was rather good. The Harry Palmer is a good use of gentian liqueur in a whiskey drink and Bottom's Up's Of Thee I Sing, Baby is an interesting Periodista-like drink.
November: Despite my initial hesitation at the name, Fo Swizzle My Nizzle is a solid Cynar and gin Swizzle. For runners up, I looked to two variations: the Lion's Tail always seems like it should be a rum drink and the Hair of the Lion follows through; the Colonial is a good Pisco Punch riff.

December: The After Dark not only won the 2012 Vino de Jerez competition but also my vote for December's recipe. Strong runners up are the New Orlean's feel of the Cock 'n Bull Special and the Swedish Punsch-laden Stinger, the Tangier Night.
My favorite creations of 2012: I narrowed it down to five in no particular order. A Sainted Devil is a Fernet and tequila riff of a Blood and Sand. A Pegu Club crossed with a Scofflaw by way of some passion fruit syrup in the Tanglin Club. The classic feeling Black Friar. Finally, the rum and cacao The Cross and the Switchblade and the Batavia Arrack-driven Javanese Crusta.

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