The best drinks of 2012
2012, like any other year was full of irresponsible drinking. It may a sign of the times, but despite the parties not being as long, they certainly were harder, faster and meaner. In no particular order, here are the top 10 drinks of the year, for very different reasons.
Beer out of a can
Now, I’m not talking VBs or Fosters where when you finish the contents and crush the can on your forehead but I’m referring to the neat cans of parallel imported beer. The stigma attached to beer out of a can is definitely being dispelled, especially because cans of Asahi, Peroni, Sapporo, Heineken and Halida (just to name a few) are readily available at retailers. Restaurants are embracing this as well as they’re easier to stock, cool and it minimises the wastage. Cans are just fun because cans also spells party, and just like Coke, beer just tastes better out of a can.
A few years ago, everyone started getting into all the flavoured bitters: orange, coffee, cinnamon, fig etc. until someone called bs. Bitters were once taken seriously before everyone started mixing their flavours and told everyone their drink had been touched by something artisanal. After a bit of breathing space, bartenders have calmed down on their enthusiastic approach to flavoured bitters and have learned use them only when needed and appropriate. They’re coming back in a big way now that restraint is being used. Big enough for bars such as Lily Blacks and the gin-makers from West Winds to be producing their own.
Bottle fermented cocktails
The first I heard of bottle fermented cocktails was couple of years ago and no one was doing it in Australia, or if they were, they were in the early stages of experimentation. The basic idea behind bottle fermented cocktails is to take the method of brewing beer and champagne and use it to create a (kind of) pre-made cocktail. The drink would ferment in the bottle (as implied by the name) and either age, developing flavour you would not otherwise get from making drinks to order, or create carbonation through the yeast either added or present in the cocktail. So far, I have only seen a Gin Fizz or a Negroni served this way. For the moment, the jury is out, but I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of this in 2013.