During a year when comforting pours were needed most, spirits producers continued to turn out high-quality bottlings, and record numbers of consumers tried their hand at mixing cocktails at home.
As always, this list represents the most compelling spirits we’ve had the opportunity to review this year. It spans a broad range of categories and price points, from a $250 single-barrel Bourbon to an $8 extra-dry vermouth ideal for elevating your Martini.
This best-of-the-best collection also incorporates some delightful surprises, such as a Sherry-based vermouth almost too good to mix into cocktails; a quirky bartender-made rum that straddles the line between spiced rum and gin; and an innovative applejack-finished rye.
We could all use a little comfort this year, and whether you’re looking for yourself or as a gift, this selection of spirits is sure to deliver some much-needed joy. —Kara Newman