THE BEST NEW SPIRITS AND LIQUEURS OF 2017

From refreshing releases by mainstream producers to debut projects by exciting newcomers, here are 17 spectacular new bottles to try right now

BY DAN Q. DAO | DECEMBER 28, 2017

If 2017 has driven you to drink, at least you’ve got plenty of options. With consumers becoming increasingly discerning of what’s in their glass, so have producers upped the ante on innovating what’s in the bottle.

This year, we tried dozens of new spirits and liqueurs, taking notes and nursing hangovers along the way. Here are some of the things I noticed—from both in front of and behind the bar—as an NYC booze writer and bartender. Brandy continued to earn rightful recognition as the original American spirit for cocktails; more Taiwanese, Canadian, and Irish whiskies joined their Japanese counterparts in the ranks of celebrated non-American whiskies; and speaking of Japanese, as my friend Kara Newman reports, Japanese gin is on the rise. Beyond specific styles, we’re also seeing continued interest in aging with a wider range of casks and barrels, from sherry and other fortified wines to applejack.

The below not-so-scientific, nowhere-near-comprehensive compilation of field notes represents bottles we loved this year—both those meant for sipping and for mixing, familiar producers and new faces, crowd-pleasers and quirkier personal favorites. From barrel-aged cachaça to sherry-cask-aged Taiwanese whiskey and one funky sotol, here are our favorite spirits and liqueurs of 2017.

Novo Fogo Colibri

Come for the sustainable production and stay for an excellent cachaça. Brazilian distillery Novo Fogo has always had my heart for its sustainable farming methods, using organic cane and operating a zero-waste distillery. A special release for 2017, the Colibri has been aged in both repurposed American oak and legally-sourced amburana oak casks. Amburana, sometimes called Brazilian teak, brings lovely cinnamon and spice into the mix, which complements the style’s natural sweetness. I’m ready for my caipirinha. $34.99

The Best New Spirits and Liqueurs of 2017
Saveur, December 28, 2017