2012: A Drinker’s Preview

We’re only a few days into 2012, and we’re already excited for the rest of the year. There are a number of excellent bars opening across the country and an array of delicious spirits coming out, plus new mixological books and products. Here are some of our favorites to look for during the next 12 months.

BROOKLYN’S BEST:

Last month, talented mixologist and Liquor.com advisor Allen Katz launched the New York Distilling Company and its neighboring watering hole, The Shanty, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. You can enjoy its Perry’s Tot and Dorothy Parker gins now, and late this summer you’ll be able to buy its Potter’s Old Tom Gin and Katz’s Rock & Rye.

A BOURBON BASH:

This fall, the multi-year renovation of Jim Beam’s visitor center will finally be finished. Upgrades include more displays of family memorabilia, historic documents and photos. And for the first time, the brand will offer a tour that goes inside its distillery.

DRINK DOWNTOWN:

Demi Monde is one of New York’s most anticipated winter restaurant openings. Located in the Financial District, it was created by top bartender Alex Day and David Kaplan, founder of craft-cocktail stalwart Death & Co. The duo is also working on a 100-seat lounge, The Rose, in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that will be finished by this summer.

COCKTAILS IN CHICAGO:

The long-awaited Spanish- and Latin American-inspired restaurant Tavernita in Chicago will be ready for business this winter. It has a bar program from the acclaimed Tippling Bros., AKA Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay, which will feature a variety of cocktails, beers, wines and even house-made vermouth, all on tap.

GET INTO THE (NEW) SPIRIT:

Keep an eye out for Leblon’s new liqueur, Cedilla ($33), which is created by infusing cachaça with açai berries grown in Brazil’s Amazon region. Pierre Ferrand is also introducing a classic cognac-based orange liqueur, Dry Curaçao Ancienne Méthode ($30; pictured above), derived from a 1800s recipe and developed with the guidance of award-winning author and Liquor.com advisor David Wondrich. And Liquor.com editor-in-chief Noah Rothbaum helped select the limited-edition The Glenrothes Editor’s Cask Scotch Whisky ($375), which was produced in 1996, matured in a Spanish oak hogshead and should be on store shelves shortly.

REQUIRED READING:

In May, famed writer and Liquor.com advisor Gary Regan is publishing the next installment of his Gaz Regan’s Annual Manual for Bartenders, and in June, his 101 Best New Cocktails: 2012 will be available as well. (Check Mixellany Limited this spring for more info about both titles.)

A COCKTAILIAN MILESTONE:

The Tales of the Cocktail convention in New Orleans is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2012. This year’s edition of the mixological festival will take place from July 25 to 29 and, of course, include seminars, bar crawls, tastings and fabulous parties hosted by the world’s top bartenders and spirits experts.

BECOME BITTER:

Master bartender and Liquor.com advisor Dale DeGroff has influenced cocktail culture around the world, and his reach will soon be even greater with the release of his line of eponymous pimento bitters. The tincture will be made in France to DeGroff’s specifications by Ted Breaux, who was crucial in bringing absinthe back to the US.

MIX IT UP:

Last summer, New York’s Employees Only was named the world’s best cocktail bar at Tales of the Cocktail. Now, the establishment, co-owned by Liquor.com advisor Dushan Zaric, is expanding its line of bottled gourmet drink mixers to include a grapefruit cordial, a Sangrita and a revamped lime cordial. All will be available by June.

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