Culled from an archive of all the spirits tasted throughout the year, this 100-bottle list represents top picks in their respective categories.
As is always the case, mind you, balance is key. So, by design, this year’s edition encompasses a broad array of spirits categories as well as a wide range in prices. It’s perfect for those who seek something new that’s still wallet friendly and people looking for a special splurge.
There are plenty of crowd-pleasers to be found, from single-malt Scotches, Irish whiskies and a stunning 21-year-old sipping rum from Jamaica’s Appleton Estate to a bartender favorite dry Curaçao that’s sure to elevate your cocktail game.
There are also a few rule-breaker bottles that deserve attention, like the powerful, savory agave spirit that’s not technically a mezcal but certainly drinks like one, or the Sherry cask-finished VSOP that until recently wouldn’t have been permitted to use the Cognac designation. It just goes to show that spirit producers near and far are thinking outside the box to bring you the most interesting, exciting pours.
Whether you lean toward classic or creative, rest assured that all of these selections deserve a place on your bar. –Kara Newman