Explorations in Mixology Cocktails Drinking

2021 Retrospective

As 2021 comes to a close we thought we would take a look back at the past twelve months and pick out a few highlights. It has definitely been another unusual year, but one that has allowed us to finally explore recipes in our backlog as well as a few new ones. With a little time and perspective, we are reminding ourselves as much as our readers about some of our favorites.

The year started with the Bourbon Renewal, a now timeless classic that we should have featured way back in 2012. It was one of the first cocktails we tried in Portland, Oregon and another recipe from the Morgenthaler – Clyde Common hit list. Simple and delicious—this should be on everyone’s house drink menu!

While it may be a little more complicated to execute, Stargazing with Galileo captured our attention with brown-buttered coffee. It is not as crazy as it sounds, and if you are willing to save a little leftover java from your morning brew, this cocktail is an eye opener. Coffee is one of our favorite flavors in general so this mashup of the Boulevardier looks as good on paper as it tastes in the glass. In fact, we just mixed up another batch of buttered coffee to enjoy more of these, and you should too.

In an interesting contrast that we only just realized, we described all of the details about making clear ice, then followed that with the exact opposite—smoked ice—so we could finally share Evan Zimmerman’s Smoke Signals cocktail, the drink that helped convince us to move to the west coast. We then made a drink called the Enzoni that calls for muddled grapes and wondered why we never tried that before. By mid-year we were mixing an honest-to-goodness classic, the Brooklyn, a drink with so many variants to explore that we never had gotten around to making the original! Case in point, we added two of those variants as well—the Cobble Hill and Slope cocktails. We picked up a few other classics along the way too. For instance, we never realized that a Manhattan made using Irish Whiskey is called an Emerald. We also explored the misunderstood history of the Vancouver cocktails.

Never to be ignored, Tiki made its way into our shaker this year with the Outcast of the Islands. It is a delicious drink served in a fiddly ice shell coupe. While that presentation is worth trying, especially to impress a visiting guest, we like the drink more than the ice technique and make them Mai Tai style, shaken with ice and poured unstrained into a tumbler. Lest we forget, the pandemic had us enjoying authentic Tiki recipes to-go from Hale Pale last January with curbside pickup of a Jet Pilot and Leilani Volcano served over a huge bag of pebble ice. Sipping these, while delicious, had us missing the Polynesian bar atmosphere even more and we cannot wait to return.

Finally, we got to enjoy a bit of autumn road-tripping which led us to Elixir Craft Spirits. We are looking forward to sharing some great recipes with these products, especially Ver, the impressive green Chartreuse replica that has not disappointed. It will fuel our Last Word cocktails and Swizzles from now on.

To all of our readers, we wish to say thanks for sticking around and following our exploration for another year. With no end in sight, we have plenty more to share. As always, drink responsibly, stay safe, and have a happy new year!

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