Best of 2014


By Dane Feldman

Merry Christmas! It’s hard to believe that 2014 is already coming to a close. This year has been a great one and to celebrate, I am sharing about a week’s worth of my favorite recipes, restaurants, and experiences. To start this holiday Thirsty Thursday I’m looking at 10 of my favorite cocktail recipes from this year. Perhaps you will find some last-minute inspiration for cocktailing tonight!

Michelada Mary

All photos by Dane Feldman.

The first Thirsty Thursday of the year, I posted this sweet and spicy michelada-meets-Bloody Mary recipe. The brunch cocktail has rivaled every other attempt at Bloody Mary-style drinks I have made since and is bound to stay in my repertoire in 2015.

Fresh Whisky Sour

No matter who you are, or whether or not you drink whisk(e)y of any sort, you ought to know how to make one of these at home. Skip the sour mix and even add in an egg white for good measure and you’ve got yourself a refreshing cocktail that won’t taste anything like the kinds served at dive bars.

Happy Accident Cocktail

This recipe is a little out there in that it’s pretty much a strange amalgamation of several classic gin cocktails including the negroni and the Tom Collins. Strange or not, it’s perfect for this time of year and carries well into spring as long as you can get your hands on some clementines.

Tequila Sunrise Revamp

Speaking of weird amalgamations, this recipe combines the best of the new-age tequila sunrise along with the best of the original. Personally, I’ve never been much for tequila, but this drink is without a doubt an exception. It’s mildly sweet, boozy without the burn, and just plain fun.

Frozen Strawberry Basil Cocktail

Unfortunately, this time of year doesn’t exactly call for frozen drinks in most of the country. Alas, I am also not currently growing fresh basil or mint. That said, however, this was one of my absolute favorites for spring and summer. The 1:1 ratio between vodka and club soda keeps it light, while the fresh fruit, herbs, and bitters make it refreshing and bold at once. If you’re feeling tropical, this may be the direction you ought to take.

Melon Summer Sangria

Now that we have summer on the brain, I want to call attention to this fruity white wine sangria. It may be months yet before watermelon is in season, so I suggest bookmarking this one. It was a huge hit for me last summer and it couldn’t be easier to make a batch on the fly.

Old Fashioned

The Old Fashioned is probably my favorite cocktail of all time. Its booziness, simplicity, and history make it one of the most coveted cocktails in existence. This recipe in particular is more for the faint at heart in that it calls for club soda (and a decent amount of it at that). If you’re a regular to the strength of a classic Old Fashioned, there’s no need for club soda at all. Simply, a splash of water will do.

John Collins

I mentioned the Tom Collins before, which calls for gin. The John Collins is a bit lesser known and calls for bourbon along with the lemon juice and simple syrup. I went for a summery take on this old-school drink and used lemonade instead. If you can find lemonade in the dead of winter, I won’t judge you for trying this one now.

Vodka Sour

Oh, vodka drinkers. Did you really think I would post a whisky sour recipe and not one tailored to vodka? Because this spirit tends to pack a bit less of a punch than whiskeys can, I added some triple sec to this recipe. When I’m on a vodka kick, I’m pretty much caught choosing between these and gimlets.

Ginger Grapefruit Spritzer

Since sangria season is so far away, I thought it best to also include a wintry wine cocktail. This fruity and fizzy drink is easily one of the best, simplest, and most enjoyable winter cocktails I’ve come across in a long time. It has been a big hit with my guests so far this season and I can’t imagine growing tired of it any time soon.

Keep an eye out in 2015 for more drink recipes both on Thursdays and Sundays. After all, what’s brunch without the cocktails?