Tuesday, January 2, 2018

:: fred's picks for the top cocktails of 2017 (in) ::

I will round out my eighth annual trilogy of year end wrap up posts by selecting my favorite recipes we tried at our home bar this year. Given my schedule of working nights, I find myself having the home bar as the only drinking option available, so I definitely have put a bit more focus on my closest and dearest bar with my posts. This list is dedicated to the best recipes created by bartenders living, deceased, and unknown from around the world all brought to me at my home bar (where luckily there is no last call).

January: January's Winter doldrums were assuaged by a number of Tiki drinks including the vanilla and molasses riff on the Piña Colada, Wicked Wahine's Blackstrap Betty. For runners up were a duo of elegant potations, Jupiter Disco's quirky sparkler Negative Space and Death & Co.'s spiced tequila Alaska called Alto California.

February: Elegance this time stole the month with the Canon Cocktail Book's Daisy Royale with sparkling wine, Yellow Chartreuse, pineapple syrup, and a duo of base spirits. Tiki was definitely strong with the 12 word drink name, The Facts Concerning the Late Van Hagen & The Thirsty Man's Safari, that appeared like a riff on the Mr. Bali Hai, and my other runner up was more Caribbean-themed with Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars' Cubanola that reminded me of a Hawaii Cocktail with a hint of Painkiller.
March: The Canon Cocktail Book came through with another Champagne cocktail winner with the Liliko'i Royale that utilized the passion fruit-Campari pairing that Boudreau taught me with his Novara back in 2011. Also worthy of the nod were the Oaxacanite from Sasha Petraske: Regarding Cocktails and the Yankee Skipper, a rye-rum Liberal from Pioneers of Mixing at Elite Bars.

April: The pisco Martini variation gracefulness of the Sweet Hereafter from Death & Co. was quite amazing. A duo of Tiki numbers warmed my heart and soul with Rafa Garcia Febles' Papa Hogo and Pagan Idol's Pagan Breakfast #2.

May: Another Jupiter Disco recipe got my approval with the 100 Year Old Cigar, one of Maks Pazuniak's recipes that got into the Brooklyn Bartender Book. Like April, tropical fraternal twins gave me some joy with the Apricole Swizzle from Matt Pietrek of CocktailWonk and By Way of the Dodo as a Tiki Last Word riff by Matt Rose at his Watson and the Shark nights.
June: I'm having a hard time picking my favorite from two Brooklyn Bartender recipes, so let's call it a tie between the smoky Scotch-maple Daiquiri called Mr. Howell and the Singapore Sling riff pictured above dubbed the Brooklyn Sling. For tropical delights, I rather enjoyed the Tiki Bowl that came across like an orange for grapefruit Navy Grog with shades of a Volcano Bowl.

July: My pick for July had me running out to my mint patch for Chad Arnholt's 3's Away first crafted at Trickdog. The runners up were a duo of orgeat-laden tropical libations, namely Humuhumunukunukuapua'a from Smuggler's Cove and the smoky Scorpion Reef.

August: The drink we returned to for its magical tequila, cucumber, and absinthe combination was the Hole in Cup from Sasha Petraske: Regarding Cocktails. Noteworthy were Eryn Reece's smoky and vegetal rye drink the Intrepid and Zac Overman's crafty Three Scots and a Dash.
September: Dirty Dick's Polynesian Remedy as Paris' answer to a tropical of a Penicillin was rather delicious. The secondary nod goes to a duo of flavor extreme drinks of the Fernet-laden Golden Gate Swizzle and Nick Jarrett's lesser known Prizefighter No. 7 (lesser known since most people only have heard of the first of this series).

October: Martin Cate's 3 gin (gin, Genever, sloe) Zombie, The Modern Prometheus, was a mighty note of October. Ian Kearney's Mambo #5 with tequila, Swedish punsch, Campari, and orgeat, and the pear-Genever delight of Billy Helmkamp's Church Key at the Whistler in Chicago were worthy libations for the month.
November: The agave Grand Street of sorts from Jason Eisner called the Mero Mero was perfect nightcap material. As runners up, the well-balanced Genever punch of Ricky Gomez at Teardrop Lounge, the Weirding Way, and the pisco-based Hemingway Daiquiri meets a French 75 from Death & Co., the Muccho Picchu, helped to make November a champ!

December: I was impressed by the elegant sparkler, Cleopatra's Champagne Cocktail via the 2016 Waldorf Astoria Bar Book for its red apple notes. Worthy to mention were the smoky riff on the Red Hook called the Meat Hook from Vancouver's L'Abattoir and the tropical Haole's Downfall by Nick Feather at San Francisco's Restaurant Skool.

For trends, I have enjoyed the resurgence of sparkling wine-containing cocktails at my home bar quite a bit; they have crept in both as crafty riffs and as unique creations and sourced throughout the decades. Tiki and tropical drinks are still going strong at my home bar in both modern and historical forms, and these gems brings some great dignity to the genre. It is good to see Genever getting more action here after the cocktail world's interest in it plummeted not too long after the Bols Genever release. Moreover, smoke appearing through Scotch or mezcal in intriguing split spirit pairings was also a solid trend at home and in my drink creations at work.

1 comment:

Excommish said...

I have tried many of your cocktail recipes over the last several years. I even bought your latest book as a present to myself! Thank you for all of your hard work, great descriptions, history lessons, lists, compilations, etc. I have learned about so many new flavors and combinations from following your blog. Thank you for sharing and inspiring.