For some, January was defined by dry. Others leaned a little more toward damp. And then there are those who threw moderation trends to the wind and continued right where the holidays left off. For some of us with the Cool Material team, January fell somewhere in the middle of the latter two and served as a time to open some new whiskeys and sip thoughtfully (as well as find something new to put in our weekend morning coffee). These are the bottles and categories that we enjoyed most in the first month of 2023.
Bourbon gets most of the love when it comes to American whiskey styles, but rye whiskey was often the original spirit of choice for whiskey cocktails. Today, distillers are making ryes that, yes, mix perfectly, but that are also incredibly enjoyable to drink neat. Still Austin Whiskey Co.'s The Artist Straight Rye Whiskey is one of those.Read More
Expensive whiskeys are often expensive for a reason. On the other hand, there are very much affordable whiskeys that taste as if they sell for multiple times what they go for. Watershed Distillery's Straight Bourbon Whiskey is finished in a barrel that previously housed some of the brand's apple brandy, and it delivers a subtle fruitiness to this Ohio-based and locally focused spirit.Read More
Espresso Martinis were all the rage for a spell. The hype and talk might have cooled down some, but judging by cocktail menus and the sound of espressos being pulled at bars, the desire for them hasn't tempered all that much. XXI Martini Espresso jumped on the trend as a ready-to-drink version of an Espresso Martini. Though it doesn't have the exact same flavor profile, it more than satisfies a craving and just might be the closest thing you can get at home without a proper espresso machine. Plus, it makes an average cup of Joe far better.Read More
January proved to be a time to sip something strong. These nine cask strength bourbons all deliver big in the flavor department. There are plenty of cask strength bourbons out there, and these were the ones that met the criteria of being good enough to recommend and also under $100.Read More
Admittedly, these stand-bys don't match the criteria of "thoughtfully sipping something new in January." At least one of them is on our bar cart at all times though, and for good reason: they're affordable, they taste like spirits that sell for far more, and they can be found just about anywhere.Read More