Friday, May 4, 2012

50 Most Notable Drinks of the Moment

Just in time for the Cinco de Mayo & Derby weekend!

Imbibe Magazine
May/June 2012

There’s always something tasty brewing in the world of drinks, and we’re giving a special shout-out to 50 of our favorite libations of the moment.
  1. Sanbitter.  Alcohol-free aperitif.  Bottled by San Pellegrino since 1961.
  2. Serious Cider.  A “real cider” craze has been sweeping the nation.
  3. Lagrein.  A little-known red and rosé wine grape grown in northern Italy’s Alto Adige region–dark yet delicate, savory and fruity.
  4. Cognac.  Making a comeback one hundred years after it was last en vogue behind the bar.
  5. The Buffalo Trace Single Oak Project.  Buffalo Trace Distillery hand-selected 96 unique American Oak trees and cut each one in half to create 192 distinctive wood samples, each fashioned into a barrel and filled with whiskey.
  6. Living Drinks.  Most high-end grocery store refrigerated beverage cases offer a wall of fermented kombucha teas of every herbal or juicy persuasion.
  7. Canned Craft Brews.  Canned craft brews have been slowly making their way to the masses over the past few years, but suddenly, that trickle has turned into a wave.
  8. New Quinquinas. An aperitif-style wine flavored with the bitter bark from the cinchona tree.
  9. Wine under $10.
  10. Oolongs from Naivetea.  Oolongs sourced from small-production tea farms across Taiwan.
  11. Coffee Liqueurs.  Small-batch coffee liqueurs.
  12. Blueberry Soda.
  13. The wines of Eastern Europe.  Vintners in Croatia, Georgia, Hungary, and even Bulgaria and Serbia produce top notch bottles.
  14. Mead.  A new audience is discovering the ancient honey wine and boutique meadery operations opening across the country.
  15. Anything by Arianna Occhipinti.  She is a force when it comes to natural, organic and biodynamic bottlings.
  16. Low Alcohol Cocktails.
  17. Amaretto.  Bartenders are rediscovering the liqueur as a cocktail ingredient.
  18. Afrique Coffee.  Some of the profits go back to the African coffee-growing communities.
  19. Sudachi Juice.  Native to Japan, and similar in flavor to the Mexican lime but with added notes of cumin, lemongrass and white pepper, it makes a great match in cocktails with tequila and gin.
  20. Domestic Cab Francs.  Cab Franc is the signature red wine grape of France’s Loire Valley and an integral part of Bordeaux blends.
  21. Japanese iced Coffee.  Cold brewed.
  22. Carbonated Cocktails.  Fun with fizz.
  23. Gin Rickey. A simple mixture of gin, soda and fresh lime juice.  Dates back to the late 19th century.
  24. Txakolina (pronounced chalk-o-leena).  Summer white, traditional peasant wine from Spain’s northern Basque region.
  25. Bird Rock’s 50/50 Blend.  The blend combines regular and decaf beans for the great flavor with only half the caffeine.
  26. Café Cortado.  Native to Spain.  Roughly equal parts espresso and steamed milk.
  27. Sparkling Red Wines.  A diverse and underrated category of wines.
  28. Blended Cocktails.  When you get back to basics, a good blended drink is nothing to be ashamed of.
  29. Real Peach Brandy.
  30. Boozy Milkshakes.
  31. Licorice Teas.  Made from the root of the licorice legume.  Dates back centuries and across cultures.
  32. Swizzles, Smashes and Cobblers.  Old-school cocktails to keep us cool.
  33. Coffee form Papua New Guinea Baroida.  Baroida farm has been in the Colbran family since the 1960s and has quickly become a darling of US roasters and competitive baristas since 2010.
  34. Drinking Vinegars.  Vinegar-based syrups (AKA shrubs).
  35. Canadian Whisky.  Until recently Canadian whiskeys have flown under the radar.
  36. Honey-Infused Spirits.  We’re seeing more honey-sweetened spirits than ever before.
  37. Fruit Beer.  Tart, acidic fruits work great in barrel-aged and wild sour beers to accentuate and add perceived sweetness to those beers.
  38. Jam Cocktails.  Jam as a cocktail element is an ingredient that’s popping up more frequently on bar menus across the country.
  39. Bottled Cold-Brews.
  40. Non-Infusion Limoncello.  Instead of infusing lemon peels, the whole lemon is suspended over the liquor, a style that was popular during World War II.
  41. The Beers of Brouwerij Bockor.  A small family-run brewery founded in 1892 and passed down from father to son for five generations located in the rural village of Bellegem, Belgium.
  42. Navy-Strength Gin.  19th Century British Royal Navy ordered its gin to be strong enough that if it were to spill on a ship’s gunpowder supply, the powder would still fire.
  43. Charbay Release R5.  Napa Valley’s Charbay Distillery has run the beer through its copper pot still to make a new kind of whiskey.
  44. Rhum Agricole.  Rum made with fresh-pressed sugarcane.
  45. Summer Punches.
  46. Gluten-Free Beer.  Beer without barley or wheat.
  47. Frozen Hot Chocolate.  Blended, frozen hot chocolate reported to have been served in the White House nearly 60 years ago.
  48. Fresh Ginger Ale by Bruce Cost.  Now he’s bottling the stuff.
  49. Better Mocktails.
  50. Wallet-Friendly Scotch Whiskies.