The year 2018 was one for the books. And no matter whether you thought the year ended with a bang or not, in the world of mixology, there were a few cocktails that reigned supreme. Whether you’re a budding bartender or just like to be on top of trends for your next dinner party, why don’t you try your hand at crafting these tasty cocktails?
Nothing gives you a vintage feel like an Old Fashioned. While many bars and lounges might put their own twist on it in terms of bourbon or whiskey selection or additional bitters, the core structure is always the same. The Old Fashioned is probably one of the oldest American cocktails that came to be because people got tired of taking their medicinal bitters solo—yes, the very same bitters that are the basis for a number of drinks. We can’t pinpoint where in the U.S., but as far back as 1806, people began combining bitters with alcohol, sugar, and water. Sound familiar? That is the ingredient list for the original Old Fashioned. These days, you’re more likely to find your cocktail with hints of orange or cherry or maybe even a liquor other than whiskey.
· In a rocks glass, combine sugar, water, and Angostura bitters and stir until the sugar is dissolved. For easier cocktails, you can use simple syrup instead of granulated sugar.
· Add large ice cubes and then pour in the bourbon and give the drink another stir.
· Garnish with an orange peel and enjoy!
Many of the most popular drinks from 2018 are actually classic recipes that experienced a resurgence. The Negroni is one such drink. This tasty treat pulls its origins from Italy in 1919 at a tiny bar called Bar Casoni in Florence. The drink is really a twist on an Americano, which is sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda. As the story goes, Count Camilo Negroni came into the bar and requested an Americano with gin in place of the club soda. Since then, the drink has been a fan favorite. To make a Negroni, it’s just as much as about presentation as creating the cocktail.
· In a cocktail shaker, combine equal parts of sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin. Either shake or mix.
· Prep a cocktail glass by filling it with ice and using an orange peel to rim the glass.
· Pour your mixed cocktail over ice, garnish with an orange peel, and enjoy.
Tuxedo No. 2
Older is better, and the Tuxedo No. 2 is a drink that’s almost two decades older than the Negroni. The origins of this drink are a tad murky, but most people agree that it was created around 1900 in New York. This is a drink that is served in swanky and simple bars across the United States. A common theme for the drinks that made the list in 2018 is simplicity. The cocktail is the perfect example that you don’t need a complicated list of ingredients or a drawn-out recipe to make a drink work. Tuxedo No. 2 is a streamlined cocktail that combines two ounces of gin, three quarters of an ounce each of dry vermouth and maraschino liqueur, two dashes of orange bitters, and an absinthe rinse.
· Combine everything except the absinthe rinse in a cocktail shaker and mix.
· Rinse a cold coupe glass with the absinthe and drain. Pour the cocktail into the glass and garnish with a lemon twist.
An internationally inspired cocktail graces this list with the hinoki martini. The drink gets its name from a specific type of cypress tree called hinoki that is found only in Japan. This craft cocktail offers a buffet of ingredients from around the world to create a perfectly balanced drink. The hinoki martini pairs French vodka with Colorado gin, sake, and sherry. In Japan, the drink is accented with hinoki tincture derived from the hinoki tree. But since you can’t find the tree in the U.S., many bars substitute it with a tincture made from Colorado cypresses.
· Combine one and a quarter ounces each of Grey Goose Vodka and Spring 44 Mountain Gin and half an ounce of Lustau Fino sherry jarana in a shaker full of ice. Shake for at least 15 seconds to chill.
· Strain the mixture into a frozen glass.
· Garnish with a lemon twist, olive, rakkyu (Chinese onion), and a cypress leaf.
This is just a sampling of some of the tasty drinks that were the most popular in 2018. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to see what other new or vintage mixes made the list, check out this post.