Drink Issue

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From coffee and charcoal, to beer and bitters, here’s some flavor profiles of our favorite palate-pleasing ingredients

Writers love booze. 

This should not come as a surprise to anyone with even a passing interest in writing or literature. For us, alcohol can serve as both muse and distraction, something that can cure a bad case of writer’s block, but also make it worse. Spirits can lift our spirits, but also serve to gouge our bank accounts (it also shouldn’t come as a surprise, but writers don’t make that much money).

Yeah, we call this issue “The Drink Issue,” but that just looks nice and diplomatic on a cover. Let’s call this issue what it is: “The Booze Issue.” The “Let’s Get Faded and Do some Magical and/or Dumb Shit Issue.” When the CityBeat staff sat down to plan this issue, the excitement at the prospect of getting to try a bunch of new cocktails was palpable, but, as always, we wanted to put our own little spin on the theme. 

What we ended up with—after multiple meetings, naysaying from the editor and one not-so-brilliant suggestion that we make “animals” the theme—was the idea to focus on the ingredients in some of our fave cocktails that don’t get a lot of love. Yes, the brand of booze in the drink is the crucial element, but what about the ingredients, accoutrements and additions that make these cocktails so enjoyable to imbibe. Sure, there’s something to said for a bourbon neat or a mezcal on the rocks, but add some coffee or lime juice and you have something else altogether. Something even more inspired and inspiring. 

2017 Drink Issue

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It’s a story as old as time. Someone makes something particularly innovative. Everybody loves it. Then, some upstart comes along and says, “I’m going to make it even better” often sprucing up and tricking out the original creation in the process. And while innovation is always a good thing, there’s something to be said for tradition. After all, if something is considered a “classic,” it has that distinction for a reason. 

Nowhere is this logic more relevant than in the cocktail world. It can be contentious sometimes (think about the eyerolls that ensue when someone orders an appletini), but it’s more than simply a battle between strict originalism and liberal innovation. For bartenders, it’s about respecting their proverbial drink-slinging forebearers while also honoring their own creative instincts.

But for us, it’s all about what tastes good. Finding that perfectly balanced and meticulously made classic cocktail can transport us back to the time and place where we first tried it. Or, it can be finding that clever, crafty and creative drink that we may have otherwise never tried. The 16 drinks in this feature are more than adequate representations of this classic versus craft dichotomy. They also happen to taste really damn good as well.