As we approach the end of Dry (or ‘damp’, if you will) January, we’re looking toward the drinks that we plan on making serious eye contact with from across the bar. From the continued revival of the ever-present spritz to a surprising fungal twist to a super spy favorite, these are the cocktails some of our staff plan on imbibing in 2023.
1. Half-proof cocktails
Low-ABV cocktails are ideal for the sober curious, or those in search of something ever-refreshing without a boozy punch. John Debary’s Radler—made with beer, a non-alcoholic aperitif, and lots of seasonal citrus—is the perfect example of this style of drink. Half-proof cocktails have also been on the circuit for quite some time without us being truly aware. They’re some of the most popular drinks of the last few years: the Aperol Spritz, the Shandy, the Negroni Sbagliato (thanks to the dilution from sparkling wine… ahem, with prosecco), and the Kir Royale (depending on whether or not you’re an Emily in Paris fan). Half-proof is the moment, and we’re just living in (and for) it.
“Half-proof sips are perfect for when I want to feel fancy, but I also want to be able to have more than one cocktail on a weeknight. They’re the best of both worlds,” says Assistant Editor Madison Trapkin.
2. Gin Martini
Asking for another “new” twist on a martini in 2023 is like a splinter; painful. Sorry to all espresso martini lovers, but it’s time to come back to the classics. The gin martini offers a touch more flavor profile than vodka (thanks to infused aromatics), and those herbal elements pair really well with olive brine.
“The gin martini is a classic drink that has countless fans and I am one of them. It’s my go-to drink to accompany any dinner, happy hour, or bowl of fries. I order mine dirty (what can I say, I love olive juice) and the brine of the olive juice blends perfectly with the herbal flavor of the gin, making it a simple order that very rarely disappoints,” says Commerce Editor Julia Gómez Kramer.
3. Mushroom Cocktails
Mushrooms have been a main character lately. As an easy swap for meat (thanks to their sumptuous texture and endless varieties), there’s truly something for everyone with mushrooms. And as savory drinks become more mainstream, it’s time to let the mushroom shine in a brand new capacity: the cocktail. I know I just said “no more new twists on the martini,” but this pickled beech mushroom martini with garlic olive oil? Stunning.
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4. The Spritz
The spritz has been high on the popularity list for some time, thanks in part to the low-ABV (as mentioned above). Wine, digestive bitters, and some splashy soda water is truly all you need to cobble together this refreshing drink. If a spritz were a dog, it would be a golden doodle: reliable, recognizable, loyal, and sweet.
Brand Pantry Manager Sebastian Sardo says, “The Spritz feels like a special moment. It transforms a simple Friday after work or Sunday afternoon into a chic and sophisticated moment, especially when paired with a spontaneous ‘what do I have in my fridge’ cheese board.”
It’s really just a 90’s hit with fresh packaging (and we’re not mad about it). As antioxidant-packed beverages have become standard fare, we ask, why not bring it to the bar? Because it’s a ferment, pickle juice is chock-full of probiotics, and the salt helps you stay hydrated. The most common pickleback pairing—whiskey—creates a rich, umami finish.
“If you’re taking a shot, have a pickleback instead. Savory, briny drinks are having a moment, and what could be more savory or briny than pickle juice? Plus, they’re a great way to use up extra brine from that jar in the back of your fridge,” says Editorial Assistant Anabelle Doliner.
6. The New York Sour
The “New York” part of this cocktail is a bit of a misnomer; the beverage was first created in Chicago under the name Continental Sour and was also known under the aliases Brunswick Sour and Claret Snap. A cousin to the Whiskey Sour, its special element comes from a drizzle of red wine that’s topped off at the end, not shaken with the rest of the ingredients.
“It’s wildly good,” says Erin Alexander, Managing Editor.