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Share your drink discoveries of 2022

Every year around this time I ask the forum to share their favorite drink discoveries from this past year's travel, or at least some memorable drink-related moments -- I began with a focus on wines and liqueurs but many of the most interesting posts have been about soft drinks and mocktails and other brews that helped make a memorable occasion.

What's top of your list for 2022?

I want to start with a little memorial tribute to Queen Elizabeth -- she and her mum were known for their devotion to a Dubonnet cocktail, basically mixing the aperitif with gin, and not long before her passing the brand was given a royal warrant -- that and the coverage of her death led to a doubling of Dubonnet sales in England.

We might also see Dubonnet as an example of one of those consumables that we tend to associate with an era or place or generation that is fading. Does that remind you of any others? At least this is one that is currently having a revival.

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3542 posts

We had two European trips this summer. During the first all Germany trip I discovered a lovely summer cocktail on almost every menu so I considered those my research. I tried several versions of a Lillet Blanc Spritz and became fond of the ones that included a few fresh raspberries.

Our second trip was to England for a month and we were there during the big heat wave. I had already been thinking about trying a different drink, having discovered that a Pimms Cup was a bit to sweet for my taste. So I devoted my research on this trip to simple Gin and Tonics. Who knew there were so many Gins to choose from!

EDIT: I was drawn to cocktails that featured some klinky ice on our warm summer vacations. My favorite ice was one gigantic ice cube in a balloon type glass. I’d like to find a method to make a 3” iin diameter spherical ice cube. I bought and brought appropriate glassware home with me.

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708 posts

Alvarinho or Albariño - a lovely white wine that we were able to buy throughout Scandinavia and Spain.

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7381 posts

Not a discovery in 2022 but in 1972 at San Francisco’s famed Tonga Room inside the Fairmont Hotel, had my first Smith and Kerns.

These days I’m bemused by how few bartenders know of the cocktail.

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1536 posts

I’ve spent the last year switching between liberally swilling vermouth in Spain and miserly rationing my duty free hauls at home. Spanish vermouth is quite different from the French or Italian varieties in that it’s eminently quaffable. But it’s also hard to find in the states.

Side note- Godello is another great Galician white, a good alternative to the Albareños (whose popularity has hiked their prices).

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5798 posts

Just Jameson with a little water in Dublin. Had Guinness several times but just couldn't get to like it.

Limoncello was my big discovery of 2018 and there's always a bottle in my refrigerator.

Somehow I remember that Dubonnet was Nelson Rockefeller's drink too. And my parents had it in the house, but I don't remember trying it (at any age). Maybe I'll look for it.

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3025 posts

At home, I could buy a 6-pack in January and have 5 left in December, but I always sample the local beers while I'm away. I love a Stout and one day I'll make a pilgrimage to Ireland to visit the Guinness Brewery, in the meantime, two beers top my list this year. In January, close to home in Banff, Three Bears Brewery still had some seasonal specials on the menu and they had infused peppermint in their house Stout. Incredible. The 2nd was in June in Glasgow. Drygate Brewery had a peanut butter Stout. Yes, peanut butter and beer do go together.

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2969 posts

I discovered some lovely Rose wines this past year. There seem to more variety and choices.

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708 posts

Godello is another great Galician white

Good to know. I will be in Galicia in March 2023 and after 5 weeks of travel in need of a few drinks.

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9207 posts

Light vermouth or dark, Scudder? I'm in Spain and will try some before lunch.

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1536 posts

Bets: If ordering a glass at any bar/tavern/terrace there's really only the option for dark/sweet (with a lower sugar content than Italian or French, but somehow sweeter.) It'll just be "vermut" (or drop the T for 'vermu'). Light does exist, but it's not common, more expensive, and likely only found in better wine shops.)

AussieNomad: You might even impress the locals by ordering Godello in Galicia. It kind of has 'insider' status in the shadow of Albarño.

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2635 posts

I’ll second the Vermut. Drank it liberally (heh) in Barcelona and Madrid this past summer. In the Basque Country discovered a nice light wine perfect with seafood, Txacoli. It comes in a tall thin bottle and in San Sebastion they poured it from on high, like cider. I was able to find it at Costco! Also, it’s on the wine list at Tony’s Seafood in Marshall, CA just up the road from where we are weathering the storm. Great with oysters!

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1556 posts

On my first trip to Istanbul in September I discovered Raki. I now have a bottle of Beylerbeyi, which I keep in my freezer (because I love to drink it ice cold without adding ice).

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6461 posts

Our main trip this year was to Spain, we had spent time (work related) in Barcelona and a couple times in Madrid, and a long ago week in Majorca, so were well familiar with Vermut, Sherry, the various wines, and of course Sangria, but this was the first time we ran into Tinto de Verano. Similar to Sangria, but basically red wine with a lemon soda, like Fanta Limon, and usually a slice or two of fruit and ice.

More common in Andalusia, it was perfect for a warm afternoon and a lower alcohol option.

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1090 posts

Kombucha. I am taking a break from alcohol, and this gives me something to toast the evening with.

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3477 posts

Tonight at the Christmas Market in Frankfurt, friend and Frankfurt on Foot tour guide Ms. Jo introduced me to Feuerzangenbowle.

"Feuerzangenbowle is a traditional German alcoholic drink for which a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and drips into mulled wine. It is often part of a Christmas or New Year's Eve tradition. The name translates literally as fire-tongs punch."

Perfect for a 30F degree evening!

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2223 posts

At least one of the good Catalunyan vermuts is now being more widely distributed and available in the USA -- Yzaguirre.

and over the last several years the same region of Spain has been leading the way in the revival of rosado wines that Barbara is noticing -- these aren't the 'blush' rosé wines of the 1980s but more in the direction of a light red, and they are a great improvement!

The spread of these and softer drinks, various spritzes and the Tinto de Verano, are more indicators of a trend toward less alcohol consumption that you may have heard about -- but in France at least it is more of a tidal wave than a trend: per capita liquor consumption there is just 1/5th of what it was 40 years ago.

Alcohol consumption is even down in Russia, apparently. Incroyable, non?

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11562 posts

My usual "go-to" apero is an Aperol Spritz. This fall when it was quite warm in Italy I discovered the limoncello spritz which was quite good! Different in every establishment but all delicious. I meant to try a Hugo spritz but never saw it on a menu (even in Castelrotto) and my Italian is atrocious so didn't think I could explain!

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6461 posts
  • indicators of a trend toward less alcohol consumption that you may have heard about*

Even in Germany, Beer consumption is down about a third since 1980.

In the US it is down as well, but interestingly people are going for quality over quantity for the most part. Craft Beer up significantly, high end Bourbons and Scotches up, some of the same trends you can see elsewhere.

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52 posts

Monaco Beer that I first had in Paris this past June.

4 fluid ounces amber beer · 2 fluid ounces lemon-lime flavored carbonated beverage · ¼ teaspoon grenadine syrup.

A nice low alcohol refreshing beer for a warm summer day, similar to a German Radler.

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192 posts

2017 had lovely Pedro Ximenez Montilla-Moriles dessert wine in Cordoba. Also wonderful gin and tonic in Spain!

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361 posts

I'm drinking this only during my vacations at the German Baltic Coast

Sanddorn Schorle - Sea Buckthorn Spritzer

No alcohol, super sour and very refreshing. But fair to say at home in Munich I don't like it.

Sea Buckthorn is a big thing at the coast and you can buy everything with this ingredient from delicious cakes to soaps :-) :-)

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4954 posts

The Five Guys in Vienna now has Reese's milkshakes and I'm pretty excited about that one.

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268 posts

Gosh, our big trip of 2022 had so many. In a nutshell:

  • Switzerland has a world-class wine production region -- they just keep it to themselves. Almost no exports. But the Three Lakes Region (Morat, Bienne and Neuchatel) produces some outstanding whites. Chasselas is the leading varietal, with good reason, followed by Malvoisie or Pinot Gris. On the reds side it was all about Pinot Noir. Such an amazing wine region and completely unknown to us until we got there.
  • Did everyone else know Absinthe is Swiss, not French? Paris kinda stole the absinthe "thunder," but it is actually a Swiss product. Visiting the Maison de l'Absinthe in Môtiers, Switzerland was another eye-opening discovery.
  • Then there was Sekt along the Moselle River. Okay, I actually knew about sekt already, but the discovery was sitting down at Otto Treis Mosel Sektkellerei in Merl Germany -- which was founded in 1810 by Theodorus Treis. We enjoyed a bottle while chatting with Marcus Tries, the sixth generation managing owner of the sekt winery. We sat riveted at his stories about the industry. Such a wonderful, eye-opening experience.
  • Finally, there was the little stretch of forest along a path, high above Bad Bertrich (Germany), called Maischquelle. How is that a drink discovery? Because they've harnessed a natural spring to create an honor bar of beer and wine (along with water and soft drinks). You literally come out of the forest into a clearing to discover a spring-fed trough filled with beer and wine. Slip your Euros into the adjacent box, and be sure to recycle your empties in the nearby can. So German! So lovely!

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169 posts

Sea buckthorn spritzer? How delicious, Mignon. Reese’s milkshake? Emily, you’re brilliant!

My seduction with Becherovka started when I had a few extra koruna in my pocket leaving the Prague airport in 2021. I grabbed a bottle of the ubiquitous Czech liqueur as a novelty. It sat in my liquor cabinet for months before I Guinea pigged a few friends with a cocktail I dreamed up for them. Becherovka smells like Christmas swirled in a glass to me with notes of cinnamon, cloves and honey. It wasn’t hard to devise a delicious dram we all enjoyed. That was just the beginning of my intoxication with this digestif.

I found myself sipping a cordial of it on cold winter nights. Summer’s heat was a wonderful excuse to sip it mixed with tonic and a slice of lime known as a Beton ( BEcherovka + TONic). It’s incredibly mixable in a variety of cocktails. How did I spend my trip in the Czech Republic never even trying this elixir? Heck, I even strolled past the factory HQ in Karlovy Vary with pictures to prove it but never imbibed. Had it not been for a few unspent koruna in an airport, I would have never know this liquid pleasure.

I righted my wrong with a pilgrimage there the next year. I returned to Karlovy Vary this past September.( I love KV and always need spa break on vacay. ). My husband and I went on their factory tour. We really enjoyed the history and fun of the tour. Back at home, I always keep a couple those pretty green bottles in the cabinet in case an unenlightened friend should drop by and need schooling in all things Bohemian. Nazdravi!

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2223 posts

This is a great little re-budding / flowering of this topic - thanks for these last few enlightening posts!

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4910 posts

Last Fall, I tried two Portuguese specialties:

1) Ginjinha in Lisbon - A sour cherry cordial. It is delicious and I used the remaining sour cherries that I froze last summer to make up a batch at home. It should be ready next month.

2) Poncha on Madeira - Made with Madeiran rum, citrus, and honey. It is potent.