Now that 2019 is behind us, I though it would be fun to put together a list of some of the favourite drinks I enjoyed throughout the year. So here we go…some of the drinks I enjoyed most in 2019.
Top 3 Cocktails of 2019
3. Whisky Sour
This year I started experimenting and using egg whites a lot more in my cocktails, and there isn’t a more classic egg white drink than the Whiskey Sour. Lemons are pretty much always available, it’s strong yet super easy to drink, good in the summer or winter and even my wife likes them, so they were a staple in our house year round. Another thing I like about a whiskey sour is that although you would typically shake this with ice, I find you can make them just as delicious by dry shaking with no ice, then straining over crushed ice. I like making them this way if the kids are asleep because it’s silent and there is no chance of them waking up 🙂
To make a Whiskey Sour, all you need is:
- 2-3 Oz Bourbon (depending on your mood)*
- Juice of half to 1 full lemon (depending on how much bourbon you used, and how tart you like them)
- 1 oz Egg White
- 0.5-1 oz Simple Syrup (depending on desired sweetness)
Mix all ingredients into a shaker and shake your ass off. Then either add ice and shake again- then strain into glass…OR strain directly into a glass full of crushed ice. Top with a few dashes of Angostura bitters.
*Another variation is an Amaretto Sour, a traditional Amaretto sour is WAY too sweet for me, but a mix of Amaretto and bourbon is nice. When I make these I typically use 1 oz Amaretto, 2 oz Bourbon and reduce the simple syrup because Amaretto is really sweet.
2: Old Fashioned
Nothing is more classic than an old fashioned. It is strong, easy to make, and lets me showcase some of my better bourbons. To make an old fashioned, all you need is:
- 2 oz bourbon (or rye)
- Teaspoon of simple syrup (or demerra syrup, or maple syrup)
- 3-4 dashes of bitters
Mix all ingredients with ice, strain over a large ice cube. Twist an orange over top and enjoy. There are multiple variations you can make (Rum, Mezcal, Rye, Bourbon, etc) and can play with the syrups as well. In 2019 my two favourites were:
– Rum Old Fashioned using Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum, and just a dash of Maple Syrup
-Eagle Rare Bourbon old fashioned, using demerra syrup.
My most enjoyed cocktail of 2019 was….
2019 was the year of the Negroni for me. In previous years, I would have said my go to cocktail was an old fashioned, however this year, the Negroni won me over, and it is by far the cocktail I made/drank the most. What I love most about a Negroni is the contrast of: bitter, sweet & strong. Another beautiful thing about the Negroni, is it’s simplicity. The drink consists of just 3 ingredients, one ounce of each: Gin, Campari & Sweet Vermouth. Mix with ice, strain over large ice cube, twist an orange or grapefruit and you are done. You can make a Negroni in a minute or two (or even make big batches, and just pour over ice).
Honorable Mention: Pimms Cup
In the summer, it’s hard to beat a Pimms cup. I’ve written about them before, and how great they are, which you can see HERE.
Top 3 Beers of 2019
My new found love of bourbon and cocktails over the last couple of years has greatly reduced the amount of beer I have consumed (my beer belly says thanks). That said, I still enjoyed some great beers in 2019, and below were my top 3.
3. Nonsuch Brewing Company: Baltic Porter
This is made by a local brewery, which makes it pretty awesome that it made it onto my top 3 list for the year. The Baltic Porter is a nice blend of bitter coffee and sweet chocolatey goodness. It has an ABV of 6.5%, so it’s heavy, but not so heavy you can’t have more than one or two!
2. Saugatuck Brewing Company: Neapolitan Milk Stout
This was definitely one of the most unique beers I’ve ever had, not just in 2019, but ever. There is no other way to describe it, except it’s like drinking a bowl of Neapolitan ice cream. You can distinctly taste all 3 flavours, and although it sounds gimmicky, it’s absolutely delicious. The only downside is you can’t buy it here in Winnipeg regularly.
1. 4 Hands Brewing: Absence Of Light Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout
Yet another beer I cannot get here in Winnipeg, but that I was lucky enough to try on my trip to St. Louis.
This is a heavy stout (7.1%), and the brewery was recommended by many of the fine people of St. Louis. I am so glad I tried this, since (as you can tell) Stout’s are my favourite, and who doesn’t like peanut butter. This beer has a nice mix of heaviness, creaminess and of course peanut butter goodness. If I ever get the chance, I’ll definitely buy this one again!
Honorable Mention: Tom Green Cherry Milk Stout
Top 5 Spirits of 2019
I decided to save the best for last. Here are my top 5 “sippers”, in other words…booze straight up that I enjoyed the most in 2019.
5. Eagle Rare Bourbon
I had heard great things about Eagle Rare for some time, and in 2019 was finally able to not just try it, but snag 2 bottles. This is basically an “upgraded” Buffalo Trace, as it is the same recipe, but uses better barrels. I find it to be a bit sweeter and a lot smoother than regular Buffalo Trace, and it works amazingly well in an old fashioned. I didn’t open my first bottle until near the end of 2019, however it’s already almost gone, so that should give you an idea of how much I enjoy it. This is available in Manitoba once or twice a yer for a limited time, and sells for about $60/bottle. I will buy again.
4. Diplomatico Exclusiva Rum
While the Diplomatico Reserva is a nice sipping rum, the Exclusiva (pictured above in the middle) is a special treat. This Venezuelan rum is aged up to 12 years, distilled from molasses in a copper pot and is one of the sweetest smelling rums I’ve ever had the pleasure of sniffing. It’s extremely sweet, but in a good way, and sometimes I love pouring a glass, and letting it sit on the chair or my lap just to periodically get whiffs of this stuff. It also works great in a rum old fashioned, however I prefer it on it’s own. This bottle is available year round in Manitoba and typically goes for about $60, however sometimes you can find it on sale.
3. El Dorado 12 Year Rum
This Rum is the perfect blend of sweet and smooth. A tad less sweet than the Diplomatico, but extremely smooth – it tastes like candy for adults. There is no burn, hints of caramel and spice and the price is unbeatable. This can be found year round in Manitoba for $37!
1&2: Weller Antique & Blantons Single Barrel
I just couldn’t do it – I couldn’t pick between these two. All year I’ve been going back and forth between which one was my favourite…and I’m still undecided. I’ve yet to do a blind side by side comparison, perhaps I will need to to finally once and for all determine which one I like better.
Weller Antique is 53.5% but doesn’t feel like a higher proof bourbon, it’s a bit softer (since its a wheated bourbon) and has nice hints of brown sugar and caramel. This unfortunately is not available in Manitoba, and is rarely available in Ontario. The price used to be unbelievable $36, however they recently raised it to closer to $60 (if you can find it) which is still fair in my opinion.
Blanton’s Single Barrel – which may have the most iconic and awesome bottle of all time, is as equally easy drinking. While it’s not currently available in Manitoba (sold out) we do get a decent amount of Blanton’s throughout the year, and a bottle will cost you about $80. Much like the Weller, this has no hot burn, and an amazing aroma of caramel and vanilla, with just a bit more spiciness than the Weller.
Both are extremely easy drinking, smooth and sweet, with some heat(in a good way). If you haven’t tried either of these – do yourself a favour and get yourself some (if you can find it)!
Honorable Mention: Glenlivet 21 Year Archive. I just recently tried this, and have always told people I am not really into Scotch – however after tasting this, it seems that perhaps I just had never found a scotch that met my flavour profile. I am looking forward to broadening my horizon and adding scotch to my repertoire in 2020.