Bevvy's Best Spirits 2019 | Bevvy

Another year of better drinking has come and gone, which means that 2018 is nearly in the books. It was an eventful year in the world of booze, with many great moments accented by a couple unfortunate passings.

2018 saw the loss of John Lermayer, beloved bartender and the cofounder of Sweet Liberty in Miami. Then there was the passing of Dave Pickerell, legendary master distiller and the cofounder of Whistle Pig. They will be missed.

On a more positive note, 2018 included the first Tales of the Cocktail under its new management team, the launch of Bourbon+, a subscription magazine from award-winning writer Fred Minnick, blended bourbon’s comeback with acclaimed offerings such as Barrell Bourbon’s 15 Year, and the continued rise of rum and other cane spirits.

With public awareness for freshness, quality, and flavor continuing to increase, we are as excited as ever for 2019. But before we jump ahead to the New Year, let’s look back at your favorite articles and our favorite drinks from the year that was.

Bevvy’s 10 Most-Read Stories of 2018

  1. 14 Must Try Moscow Mule Recipes
  2. 13 Mouthwatering Manhattan Variations
  3. Easy Orgeat Syrup Recipe
  4. 12 Delicious Martini Variations
  5. The Best Rum for Daiquiris, According to Top Bartenders
  6. The 12 Best Bars in Portland, Maine
  7. Rhum Agricole vs. Cachaça: Clearing Up the Canefusion
  8. 150 Bars to Visit Before You Die
  9. The Best Japanese Whisky Under $100
  10. How to Fill a Flask Without Spilling

Team Bevvy’s Favorite Spirits and Cocktails of 2018

Jay Hung, Founder

  • That Boutique-y Whisky Company Malt Scotch Blend #1, Batch 2, Aged 23 Years
  • Stranahan’s American Single Malt Whiskey, Cask Strength
  • Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica Rum
  • Favorite Cocktail: Roar of Yara (Vida Mezcal, Contratto Bianco, Tequila Cabeza, Giffard Passion Fruit, and Rhine Hall Mango) from Pouring Ribbons, NYC
  • Favorite Bar: Kashoku (Taiwan). “Kashoku is a speakeasy-ish basement bar underneath a whisky shop in the Da’an District of Taipei. Jeremy Hsu is a fantastic host, guiding patrons through cocktails based on flavors and preference, sans any menus. This night almost didn’t happen for me, as Kashoku requires you to call a phone number to gain entry, and I didn’t have a local phone. Fortunately, the lad at the corner store understood the importance of a great tipple, and allowed me to use his phone.” —JH

Kevin Gray, Editor-in-Chief

  • Nikka Whisky From the Barrel
  • Sierra Norte Single Barrel Corn Whisky
  • Amaro dell’Etna
  • Aberlour Casg Annamh
  • Ki No Bi Kyoto Dry Gin
  • Favorite cocktail: “Visiting Dandelyan before its announced closure was a real treat, and everything from the service to the bar snacks was impressive. Several drinks stood out, but one I keep thinking about is the BC3 Negroni. Just when I thought I’d seen every Negroni variation there is, someone goes and combines gin with bee pollen, vermouth, propolis (a resinous ‘bee glue’), Ceylon Arrack, Campari, and aged honey.” —KG

Eric Twardzik, Contributor and Boston Ambassador

  • Mount Gay XO: The Peat Smoke Edition, which married my love of rum and Islay scotch
  • WhistlePig Boss Hog V: The Spirit of Mauve, which provided a bittersweet coda to the late Dave Pickerell’s career
  • Malfy Gin, which seriously upended my reliance on London Dry.
  • Favorite cocktail: “The Amaro di Cocco at Shore Leave, Boston’s newest tiki bar. It’s described as a Negroni/Pina Colada mash-up, and it tasted like both, plus a flavor that reminded me of instant hot chocolate mix (despite having no chocolate element).” —ET

Jeff Dufour, Contributor

  • High Wire Jimmy Red Corn Bourbon
  • Two James Doctor Bird Jamaica Rum
  • Martell Blue Swift Cognac
  • Woodford Reserve Malt
  • Remy Martin 1738
  • Favorite cocktails: “Mauna Loa Breeze from Bourbon Steak in DC. Originally from Hawaii, Sarah Rosner has the flavors of the Pacific in her blood. But earlier this year, she took over the bar at Bourbon Steak in DC, which specializes in whiskey. So what’s a bartender to do? Well, something like her Mauna Loa Breeze. First, she fat-washes bourbon with macadamia nuts, then adds orange curacao and both orange and tiki bitters. Imagine Trader Vic’s by way of Lexington.” —JD

Matt Pietrek, Rum Columnist

  • Hampden Estate Pure Single Jamaican Rum: “Jamaica’s Hampden Estate is a world treasure, and legendary with rum geeks. Until this year, there’s never been a tropically aged, official release from the distillery. With the new 46% ABV and 60% ABV expressions sold by La Maison & Velier, Jamaican funk lovers can be assured of a steady supply of hogo.”
  • Giffard Caribbean Pineapple: “Fresh pineapple flavors pop from this 20% ABV liqueur. It works great in tropical forward cocktails, including the Jungle Doctor, a funky Jungle Bird variation.”
  • Westward American Single Malt: “One of the earliest and best of the burgeoning American Single Malt category.”
  • Savanna Lontan (Unaged): “A head-snapping high-ester rhum from Reunion Island with an indescribable raw funkiness more than capable of taking on the highest hogo Jamaican overproofs.” —MP

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