Thursday, December 31, 2009

Drinking in the New Year

Posted by Brooklyn Bill

Toward the end of '09, I did a lot of thinking about drinking. Pretty much the whole goddamn decade was one long reason to get plastered, if you were paying attention to current events. But I started focusing on, specifically, cocktail drinking late this year because of an article about making proper drinks for a party that I edited for the magazine where I work.*

Then I saw The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff in a Papyrus store and bought it on impulse, though it was an impulse purchase backed with the knowledge—gained from the wine and spirits columnist for the magazine—that DeGroff is pretty much the person you'd want to learn about cocktails from. And I've been having lots of fun reading it and taking in the drink-porn photos.

For Christmas, at my request, my sister and her family gave me a sleek and sexy cocktail shaker, a jigger, and a cocktail spoon that doubles as an ice chopper.

Now all I need is some booze! And some recommendations. I've been on a kick for gin and tonics lately** but I'm eager to branch out. What cocktails do you make at home or request at a bar that I should try? I'm also curious about which brands of liquor you think are best and which expensive ones aren't worth the extra coin.

*In the interest of keeping my working and blogging lives separate, I'm not going to link to the story here. If you're curious to read it, shoot me an e-mail and I'll send you the link.

**That's the result of another article I edited by that columnist about new ways to spruce up the classic G&T. I'm obviously highly impressionable when it comes to what I drink. :-)


  1. If you get any good suggestions, can you circulate? I'm in the same boat with my G&T's but need to go out exploring a little more.

    The win for me in your entry is cocktails AND Papyrus....booze and stationary, two of my favorite things.

  2. We love a good Manhattan for which we use Maker's Mark boubon and Martini & Rossi vermouth. The twist we bring to it is something we discovered at a bar in Fort Lauderdale: peach bitters. They can be found in Brooklyn, and are made by Fee Brothers. Also, use the dark bottled cherries rather than the bright red supermarket maraschinos.

  3. I am apparently on a crash course with Manhattan's. Two new acquaintances at our NYE dinner last night promised to take me under their wing and walk me through my first Manhattan and all that goes into appreciating fine bourbon.
    I have sought this kind of mentorship since I came out of the closet 20 years ago. It's nice that it is starting to come around at 40.

  4. Beau,
    This will of course give rise to huge arguments. This is one instance in which the school you choose will make a significant difference. In both New York and Florida and Connecticut, there is round agreement that my Manhattan is an almost unattainable perfection.

  5. a well made Manhattan is devine. To do it you must mesure your ingredients don't just eye it. I do enjoy Makers Mark but for also like Woodfords or Knob Creek. Or go make them with Rye like Michter's. Fee brothers makes some great different bitters to try as well. Plese don't add the syrup from the cherry jar.