Food & Drink

The Best Cocktails We Had in 2016

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

We did a lot of drinking in 2016. Over the course of Supercall’s inaugural year, we spiked Starbucks drinks, got deep into bacon cocktails, reverse engineered our own Midori and even put sushi in a Martini. But as great as our own innovations were, we wouldn’t be anywhere without the pros who served us drinks that truly set our palates and minds ablaze. Here, our favorite cocktails of 2016. If it wasn’t for these superior sips, the Supercall staff wouldn’t be nearly as inspired (or relaxed) as we are today.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

“The Sauvage Martini comes to mind. I loved it so much that I included it in a piece about the best Martini variations. It’s served with a sidecar of garnishes so you can fully customize your cocktail.” —Dillon Mafit, Senior Editor

Thomas Shauer

“Definitely Mother’s Milk from Wallflower. I took a sip and said ‘wow!’ out loud. It's unlike anything I've ever tasted—like Tom Kha Gai soup made sweet love to a milkshake.” —Zoe Barton, Audience Development Manager

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

“The best cocktail I drank this year was a Manhattan made for me by Tom Dillon at La Grenouille in Midtown Manhattan. Working downtown for the better part of a year means I hadn't seen Tom in little while, and being in the neighborhood, I figured I'd stop in. I asked him for a Perfect Manhattan, but he misheard me. By the time I clarified my intentions, it was, as he put it, ‘too late—it's a sweetie.’ This did not stop the classic Manhattan he made me from being absolutely fantastic. When I ordered a Perfect Manhattan as a follow-up, it felt self-consciously dry where the original had been round and jolly—the ideal accompaniment to dropping temperatures outside. The entire incident was a welcome reminder that sometimes the perfect thing isn't perfect and that mistakes are often more correct than we know. And that Tom might be the best bartender in the world.” —Scott Alexander, Editorial Director

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

“The Sazerac at Attaboy was my favorite drink of the year. I really wanted the Vieux Carre to be my favorite rye cocktail, but then I had a Sazerac and it took the cake. Having a balanced absinthe drink seems to be a tricky thing, but this guy did it and it tasted like nothing I'd had all year. It had that traditional, baseline, GOOD whiskey cocktail taste, but with a kick that I loved. Honorable mention: The Devil in Oaxaca at Ofrenda, which had mezcal, carrot juice, cilantro, orange bitters and a flamed citrus peel. My girlfriend actually ordered it, but I drank it. Carrot juice and mezcal make for a weirdly great combination—it was very out of the box and totally worked.” —Kevin Schlittenhardt, Managing Editor

“The best cocktail I had this year was in Oxford, England at this little underground, candlelit cocktail lounge called Raoul’s. The bartenders there seriously know their stuff, from expertly-made classics to innovative, extravagantly garnished signatures. Outside of London, you’d be hard pressed to find a decent cocktail in England—where ale is almost always the better option—so I was delighted to find this spot where their main philosophy is using the freshest ingredients possible. The Flower Power Sour was a mixture of Hendrick’s gin (my favorite), apricot liqueur, elderflower cordial, fresh lemon juice and orange bitters—shaken with an egg white. I usually never like floral-forward cocktails, but this was perfection. It was light, creamy, sweet, tart and, above all, refreshing. I was devastated when my glass ran dry.” —Laura Reilly, Editorial Assistant

“I love a good slushy. Bearded Lady in Prospect Heights rotated them all summer, but the best was the Painkiller. It was really sweet, but I'm weird and kind of into that—it was so coconuty and unquestionably a dessert drink. Runner up goes to the hyped Negroni slushy at Alta Linea, which I enjoyed with a solo tapas lunch (beets and goat cheese and pistachios, oh my) on their sun dappled patio on a treat yo' self kind of summer Friday.” —Nicholas Mancall-Bitel, Editorial Assistant

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“This year was all about the bananas, which is kind of strange because I'll usually only eat them fresh or baked in bread (call me a purist). But I really wanted to try the Onwards From Delhi cocktail at Pouring Ribbons. It used gin, lemon juice, anisette, crème de cacao, Lustau, fino sherry and banana. The banana flavor was just subtle enough and a cool contrast to the sherry and gin—I had to force myself to share with my husband. It even came out in a little glass wrapped in a banana leaf—a win all around. Then, later in the summer, I had another banana cocktail at an Olympics-themed event for Avuá Cachaça—the Oak Bronze Caipirinha. It uses aged cachaça, a banana-lime puree, banana liqueur and chocolate bitters. It's so creamy, tart and refreshing that I got the recipe, which is perfect for those days I need to make-believe I'm drinking on a faraway beach.” —Anna Archibald, Senior Editor

“I’m always drawn to cocktails with savory garnishes because one should always drink with a snack on hand. So when I saw the Dragon’s Breath on Fresh Kills’ menu earlier this year, I ordered it immediately. The cocktail is a mix of dry vermouth, curaçao and apricot liqueur with a couple drops of Tabasco and a lemon twist. But the main attraction is a sidecar of pickled walnut. The ultra-savory, vinegary bite perfectly complements the cocktail. I loved it so much that the bartender gave me a couple extra so everyone at the table could try.” —Amanda Gabriele, Senior Editor

Matthew Kelly / Supercall

“It might sound gimmicky but the Christmapolitan from Miracle on 9th, the annual Christmastime pop-up set in NYC’s Mace, is real-deal delicious. It’s gulpable. I had to consciously pace myself to stop from just chugging it down. Fresh, zesty cranberry sauce is one of my favorite holiday dishes and the Christmapolitan is that in a glass—with the added benefit of alcohol. Lucky for me (and all the other cranberry lovers out there), we scored the recipe. So even when the pop-up shuts down, I’ll be able to drink it all year long. A close second on my list of top drinks of 2016 was an unassuming White Russian I had at Madeline’s in Ithaca, NY. It was the first time I’d had a White Russian since college and it was a revelation. Did you know White Russians are great? Do yourself a favor and have one. The Dude knew what he was doing.” —Justine Sterling, Deputy Editor