The next few weeks will be full of lists and year-in recaps getting linked on Facebook and every o social media site.
And I’m not going to lie — I love that crap.
Somewhere in all the listicles, recaps and prediction pieces, I’ll inevitably learn something — which makes all the digging around in the dirt worthwhile.
In the meantime though, here’s a quickly-cobbled together recap of five memorable cocktails I was served this past year:
Brazill’s On Main
It’s a rare treat to go out and get waited on by someone when most of your nights are spent working in the service industry.
I’ve had two really nice meals at Brazill’s On Main in Westfield, N.Y. — and I’ve had several great drinks! The owner is an older guy and every time I’ve been to the place, he’s been the one behind the bar mixing up drinks.
The Manhattan pictured above was expertly done, and had an extra little kick of flavor — maybe from the (what I assume were) house-made cherries. My father-in-law and I were picking up subtle notes of cinnamon and other flavors. All-in-all an excellent night and a memorable drink.
Bag & String Wine Merchants
I’m so lucky to have Bag & String in this area.
If you’re new to the blog, I mention them a lot.
This past Derby Day the staff had prepared a pitcher of Mint Juleps to promote the many bourbons available at the shop.
I swung by for a quick sip and also to shoot the above pic, as any reason for a blog post is reason enough! And I’d mentioned to Betsy (pictured) that Jeffrey Morgenthaler had a dynamite recipe for mint syrup… Which can be found online here.
Dill-infused mezcal with ginger syrup and lime. Had this on Halloween. Strange and tasty. Very worthwhile.
Spin The Bottle
Alright, so… Obviously this is a picture of me, but the drink I’m holding is my “Dealer’s Choice” cocktail. You see, on the menu at Buffalo Proper is something called “Spin The Bottle,” where you tell your bartender or waitress what sorts of things you like — and they craft you a drink of their choosing.
For this drink I mentioned amaros (amari?) and even mentioned Fernet-Branca and Campari, but what I got was something black and bitter, but juicy — maybe made with Aperol or Ramazzotti? I’ll never know. But I enjoyed it. Immensely.
Moorehead City, N.C.
Another “Dealer’s Choice” drink with whiskey and amaro/bitter being the only things I mentioned.
I’ve made plenty of Boulevardiers for myself in recent years, but sometimes a drink just tastes so much better when someone else is making it for you.
Other Drinks Worth Mentioning
•A black walnut drink at Cheshire in Rochester made with Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters.
•Old Fashioneds at Good Luck with Robert Simonson.
•Champagne before Phantom of the Opera.