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The Best Drinks of 2017

Last week I shared my favorite plates of 2017, but for the best drinks of 2017, I’ve turned to some of my favorite bloggers to get a bit of a different perspective. I asked them each to share one of their favorite drinks from the past year and let me tell you, these do not disappoint! I know where I’ll be grabbing drinks in 2018.

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2017 Cocktail Highlights

Melissa from Craving Currently: Thinking back over this past year I had a lot of great drinks – from cocktails, to mocktails and plenty of wine but the one drink I couldn’t get enough of was the Cherry Champagne Mule from Rachel in Federal Hill (554 E Fort Ave). Not only is the drink the perfect cross section of sparkling wine and Absolut but it is served in some of the prettiest glassware I’ve seen.

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Cherry Champagne Mule

Kim from Nomtastic Foods: If you’re looking for an amazing new cocktail (or cocktails in this case) to try, head on over to Iron Gate stat. Located on 1734 N St NW, their “Athens to La Paz, Nonstop” duo will seriously impress, like we can pretty much guarantee that it’ll be love at first sip. Nick Farrell, their Spirits Director, refers to it as a mini-cocktail flight, and it’s priced at $15. Now, that may seem steep but remember, you’re getting two drinks so it’s actually reasonable, especially for DC standards. He gives you both so that you can compare the featured tequilas (Zitsa Tsipouro & Rujero Singani) side by side. Both drinks contain Luxardo Maraschino, creme de violette, and lemon so you’ll be able to detect subtle differences with ease. They also have some of the best food we’ve ever tasted – Chef Anthony Chittum’s pretty much the Dumbledore of food – so make sure you order noms as well while you’re there.
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Athens to La Paz, Nonstop

Becky from Our Endless Adventure: My favorite cocktail of 2017 had to be the Official Light City Cocktail, the Golden Hour, created by Eric Fooy. The Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts has hosted a cocktail competition for the past 2 years to determine the official cocktail of Light City, one that could be enjoyed while wandering through the installations of Light City.  The live competition was judged by beverage industry notables and included many delicious cocktails by local bartenders and mixologists. The winning Golden Hour cocktail included Sagamore Rye, Luxardo Maraschino, Angostura bitters, orange & lemon juice and cherry garnish.

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Golden Hour

Taylor from Stylishly Taylored: It’s hard for me to pick a favorite drink; as someone who frequently tries to capitalize on the creativity of Baltimore’s talented and creative mixologists by ordering cocktails crafted on-the-spot, I’m not sure I could even recall what was in a favorite drink, let alone relay it to you — so rather, I’m picking a machine. Yes, you heard me, a machine. Blinky, to be exact. One of my favorite bars in all of Baltimore, Wet City offers an amazing selection of craft beer, rotating daily, as well as some funky cocktails for customers who prefer liquor. And come warm weather, Wet City has weekly alcoholic slushies (!!) made by none other than Blinky, a slushy machine named for its sporadically blinking blue light. 

Last seasons selections ranged from frozen strawberry daiquiris, pineapple pisco sours, frozen negronis, to chocolate bourbon cherry sour slushies. My favorite Blinky creation to date, however, has been this Passion Fruit Guava Typhoon slushee. You (dangerously) couldn’t taste the alcohol, so I killed two while enjoying Wet City’s phenomenal Nashville Hot Chicken. Trust me y’all, the brain freeze (and the hangover) were worth it. I highly suggest making a trip to see the great guys that work behind Wet City’s bar — and be sure to follow @blinkyslushes4you to stay up to date on all the slush!

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Passion Fruit Guava Typhoon slushee

Amy from Charm City Cook: My favorite drink of 2017…I thought a lot about this. And, scrolled and scrolled through my Insta. But the more I thought about it, this just kept coming back to me as “the one.” It’s the best. It’s what I really WANT to drink: The Clavel Margarita. Made with Tapatio blanco tequila, lime juice, agave nectar, pinch of pink salt and garnished with Himalayan pink salt & a lime peel. Simple. Perfect.

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Margarita photo credit: Isaiah Winter

Leandro from Food Nomad: There has been a rich tapestry of cocktails in and around Charm City this year. You can find everything from Amaro to Absinthe in all sorts of drinks which is a good sign that Baltimore’s cocktail scene is bustling. But, when I think about my favorite cocktail of 2017, I like to stick to classics so I guess you can call me…um…old fashioned (thanks folks, I’m here all week and twice on Saturdays, tip your bartenders please). But, seriously, my current favorite Old Fashioned is at The Bluebird Cocktail Room, even the description is perfect, “Whiskey with a touch of sugar and bitters”. It’s balanced, it warms you up and puts a smile on your face. There’s nothing more you can ask from a drink.

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Old Fashioned

Chyno from The Baltimore Foodie: Behold the “Smoke & Fire” my absolute favorite cocktail in Baltimore. Comprised of Ilegal mezcal , Plymouth gin, yellow chartreuse, guajillo chile and espresso this drink knocks me off my feet every time, in the Carrie Bradshaw type of way. As if the ingredients were not enough this cocktail arrives table side in a Beauty and the Beast style Bell Jar filled with smoke to truly make for a magical cocktail. Oh and By the way Minnow will smoke any cocktail for you just ask your bartender/server.
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Smoke & Fire

Jordan from JZ Eats: If you’re a Rosé fan, you need to head over to In Bloom in Federal Hill. They have one of the best Rosé’s I’ve ever had. It has notes of grapefruit, without being overly sweet or tart. I was in heaven after tasting this one!

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Rosé

Nikki from Cocktail Crafty: My favorite cocktail of 2017 came from Ida B’s Table. The Love and Happiness featured Reposado tequila, satsuma orange, lime, sweet corn and aquafaba (aka chickpea brine). A completely vegan “egg white” cocktail. I often enjoy the foamy goodness of an egg white cocktail but admit that the use of raw egg white can be, at times, off-putting. I was more than pleasantly surprised by how well the aquafaba resembled traditional egg white and honestly couldn’t tell the difference. It’s been exciting to see aquafaba cocktails pop up bar menus more and more.

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Love and Happiness

Celine from Celine’s Eats: The False Idol from La Cuchara is a drink that stands out among the many I’ve had this year. It’s likened to a whiskey sour but made with Buffalo Trace bourbon and so skillfully crafted. The bourbon is shaken with lemon juice and agave, which make this so refreshing and extremely easy to drink. The lemon peel is more than a garnish – it’s charred directly on top, adding a nice depth of smokiness. I love a theatrical and dramatic drink just as much as the next person but the False Idol is proof that simple can be just as delicious.

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The False Idol

And for me, my favorite drink this year came from Alma Cocina Latina. Over the summer I visited for a late night happy hour after First Thursday’s at the waterfront. It was a hot summer evening and I wanted something refreshing. With help from Argie, the bartender I settled on the Pina Colada. This drink had your traditional flavors of coconut, lime, and pineapple mixed with a light rum. It wasn’t nearly as heavy as a traditional frozen pina colada, but it was every bit as refreshing.

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Pina Colada

A big thanks to all of the bloggers mentioned above for sharing your favorite drink with me!

Was your favorite drink not mentioned? Let me know in the comments below.

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Looking for a place to eat? Check out Rachel’s Baltimore Restaurant List.

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