It has been a memorable year for so many reasons. Despite all that has happened in the world, we are somewhat amazed at everything we accomplished at Summit Sips as we roll back through our posts from the last twelve months. As 2020 comes to a close, we want to highlight a few of our favorite moments that continue to inspire our cocktail exploration.
Perhaps the most significant event was the complete rebuild of the website. While most of the visuals remain consistent, Summit Sips had occupied the same, simple corner of the internet for more than a decade without much functional change. We had, in some respects, failed to keep up with an increasingly mobile audience and the site needed an overhaul. So, during the holiday break of 2019, we updated our design to a simpler, responsive concept and built convenient collections by spirit, technique and so on. Later, we converted our glassware store into an integrated e-commerce shop that facilitates easier search, product recommendation links, and even an option to use ApplePay! Although the shop is not the reason we write about cocktails, we appreciate that you stuck with us during these changes that setup Summit Sips for great content throughout the year.
And what a year it was! We wrote at a rate of around one new post every week-and-a-half. This is not quite as frequent as our early years when we quickly covered classic recipes and cocktail fundamentals as part of a Drink of the Week series that ran for almost two hundred weeks in a row (before devolving into a more lazy drink of the month). Still, inspired by the new site design, we covered a lot of ground. We also started going back to those valuable foundational posts, upgrading them with higher-quality photos wherever possible—an effort that is ongoing. Our point: Summit Sips looks better than ever, and 2020 was a year that made a difference.
Whether it was politics or pandemic, social injustice or self-preservation, 2020 has given all of us reasons to welcome the distraction of an occasional mixology deep-dive. We started the year on a classic: De La Louisiane. This boozy New Orleans riff combines the best elements of earlier favorites and deserves another visit in case you missed it. We followed this with a series of posts that explored recipes using Zero-Proof spirits, and since our writing, a new non-alcohol tequila substitute has hit the market. This has been explored by at least one of our readers, and we look forward to trying it ourselves in the new year.
It was a good year for technique as we shared our shortcut Hot Toddy recipe using a pre-made product you can get at Costco, along with ten of our most practical tips for making drinks at home—all useful as we faced COVID lockdown. Escapism was a minor theme, starting with the Jalisco Stroll, a fantastic Mexican riff on the Negroni for which we featured many variants. Negroni Week was a lot different this year as most of us avoided bars and restaurants. That did not stop us from veering into the “danger zone” of retro-cocktail nostalgia—isolation probably drove us justify making the Long Island Iced Tea—and loving it! We even mixed up the delicious Pit of Despair cocktail, a local concoction named for the painful scene in The Princess Bride.
On the DIY front, we made non-alcoholic vermouth which we used in several booze-free experiments. We also shared a simple technique for homemade passion fruit syrup, exploring exotic recipes that use it, like Andina’s Sacsayhuamán or the surprisingly good Mezcal Mule, along with notable tiki cocktails such as the Lost Lake, Cobra’s Fang, and Chief Lapu Lapu. Later in the year, the draw toward tropical getaways transformed into the smokey comfort of Scotch when we featured a simple method for making candied ginger for use as a garnish in the Penicillin cocktail—a standout drink of the year for us that was long overdue.
These are only a few highlights from a year of transformation. Take a look at everything we posted as the year unfolded and you are sure to find something worth trying on New Years Eve. As always, drink plenty of water and stay safe. We are looking forward to the new year with lots of recipes and ideas to share, and we hope you will continue to follow us on our journey.