A friend of mine asked me to do a post about the best new-to-me booze of 2013. I definitely have one, but I’m going to do my top three here.
Chartreuse: Oh Chartreuse. You green magician of awesome. How many are your flavors? I don’t even know but they are like a symphony of deliciousness. I bought this stuff completely untried and unlike my experience with Campari, I didn’t waste my money. (which, thank god cuz this green stuff’s pricy) Chartreuse is definitely my favorite and cocktails using it are definitely my go-to at home. Given how rare it is in the sort of bars I end up in, I still need to find something I can order while out.
Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye: My husband is a big whiskey fan. I scored BIG last Christmas with the Whiskey Advent Calendar from Masters of Malt. It also helped us find out what sort of whiskeys/bourbons/etc. I might consider favorable. He brought the Catoctin Creek home from an outing with work buddies and suggested I try it. I really enjoy it. I don’t think it will ever be something that I’ll just sit and sip, but I love it in a Manhattan (with actual cherries soaked in Maraschino liqueur, not those dyed monstrosities) or in a punch I still need to write up. Its got a fantastic vanillish wood taste that I find a perfect accent to a warming drink. A+ find.
Aviation Gin: I bought this from a suggestion in The Drunken Botanist as I am a person who does not actually care much for the juniper that is essential to calling a spirit gin. This is a very not junipery gin and for that it will always be my favorite. I, um, haven’t had it straight in a while so I can’t talk much about the flavors in it right now, but if you want the flavors of gin without feeling like you got smacked with a pine tree, this is the gin for you.
As a fun follow up and bonus answer, if you do like getting smacked in the face by pine trees when you drink your gin, you may want to try Barr Hill Gin which is literally flavored with just juniper and raw honey. We took a road trip up to Vermont and stumbled across their tasting room late this fall. What I find really amazing is that for me, the juniper plays hide and seek while you’re tasting it. It’s like BOOM PINE TREE and then gone. Honey, deliciousness, dry out, final swallow, BOOM PINE TREE. It’s totally weird but I oddly like it. Their vodka is also quite awesome.