Slideshow: The Best Drinks We Drank in December

Michelada from The NoMad in NYC
Michelada from The NoMad in NYC
"The version of the Michelada—the classic Mexican beach-or-patio cocktail that combines iced beer with hot sauce in a salt-rimmed glass—served at The NoMad takes the cocktail off the back porch and puts it firmly in fine-dining territory. House-made hot sauce is intensely flavored without being intensely hot, with a nice horseradish-y bite and a kick of black pepper. It comes in a tall glass with a whole bottle of Cisco Breweries Sankaty Light on the side, so you can add as much or as little beer as you'd like. I like starting off with just a splash, to grab a hit of that intense hot sauce before diluting it to cool off."—J. Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer

[Photo: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Volcano Bowl from Hogo, Washington, DC
Volcano Bowl from Hogo, Washington, DC
"The best thing I drank in December was the Volcano Bowl from Hogo, the new bar from The Passenger team in DC. It's made with Lemon Hart rum, Appleton Estate rum, El Dorado Gold rum, maple syrup, grapefruit, and lime. It's more or less a traditional scorpion bowl, but the combination of maple syrup and grapefruit is great. The maple syrup cuts through the high acidity of the grapefruit and lends a nicely sweet, smooth finish to the rum."—Brian Oh, DC Cocktails Contributor

[Photo: Brian Oh]

Die Hochland Imker Lime Leaf Mead
Die Hochland Imker Lime Leaf Mead
"I don't drink dessert wine often, but when I do, I drink mead. Most meads I've found tend to be overly sweet and brutishly forthcoming with the honey, which is why I've been so in love with this bottle ever since I first tried it at Hearth in NYC. It's Die Hochland Imker's lime leaf mead, riesling-like in its electric mineral qualities and so much more dry and restrained than the mead standard. The lime leaf flavor, which comes from lime tree blossom honey, comes through loud and clear, but there's a lot more going on in a sip. I've offered it to many a mead skeptic with the promise that it'll change their minds about the beverage. It always does. Next on the list to try: their Falkenstein!"—Max Falkowitz, Serious Eats NY Editor

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Wines from Kevin Kelley of Salinia
Wines from Kevin Kelley of Salinia
"I've enjoyed a bunch of wines from Kevin Kelley of Salinia / The NPA this month—I'm especially taken with the floral, fragrant whites, mostly made with extended skin contact. At Local's Corner and Local Mission Eatery in San Francisco I've enjoyed a few bottles of Twenty Five Reasons, his unusual sparkling Sauvignon Blanc. This Petillant Naturel is tangy and floral and hazy and tart.

At a special event at The Punchdown in Oakland, I also had the chance to taste a barrel sample of skin fermented 2007 Chardonnay that Kelley left in the cellar for several years in two barrels, untopped and turned on their sides. It's an exciting experiment; reminiscent of the wines of Jura, umami-rich, with a saline side, like salted caramel corn, roasted chestnuts and figs, especially tasty with rich triple-cream cheese."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks Editor

Silver Needle Tea
Silver Needle Tea
"Maybe it's blasphemous coming from a coffee person, but I went down a tea rabbit hole this month, and feel in love with Rishi Tea's Silver Needles (among a zillion others). Sometimes even I need a break from the black stuff, and a delicate, floral white tea just does the trick during a self-imposed coffee hiatus. (Don't worry, coffee; you know I can't quit you.)"—Meister, coffee columnist

[Photo: Meister]

Will Gordon's Best Drinks
Will Gordon's Best Drinks
"December was a good drinking month. The beer highlights were Maine Beer Company's King Titus Stout and Smuttynose's Wheat Wine, and my favorite cocktail was one I made at home using gifts from my pals Extry and Panda. In private, I call it a Sazerac, but among those of you who would string me up for not using rye, I'll call it a Sazeracish: 2 1/2 ounces Evan Williams Barrel Aged Bourbon, 3/4 ounces simple syrup, and 3 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters in a glass rinsed with St. George Absinthe."Will Gordon, Bottom Shelf (and more) Contributor
The Golden Ratio at Mother's Ruin, NYC
The Golden Ratio at Mother's Ruin, NYC
"This drink really is all about a golden ratio. The ingredients are few—just tequila, lemon, and spiced honey—but the flavor was, in my opinion, perfect. The tequila gave the cocktail a smokey, earthy background, but it lost its rough edge thanks to a good punch of citrus. The spiced honey should have read spicy honey, which is great because I love spicy tequila drinks. It was a touch sweet, but more light and refreshing with a bit of tongue-tingling heat."—Carrie Vasios, Sweets Editor
Avondale at the Rum Club, Portland, OR
Avondale at the Rum Club, Portland, OR
"I went to the Rum Club on my friend Adam Robinson's last night working in the bar for awhile—his new plan is to 'winter' in St. Croix and summer in Portland. (A smart idea.) He mixed up a cocktail I can't get out of my head—a cacha├ža-based sour with pineapple gomme and an ounce of Cynar for a touch of bitterness. Fresh, bright, and lovely, with a bit more complexity thanks to the Cynar."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks Editor

[Photo: Greg Harned]

Grenache
Grenache
"My mom loves wine but lives alone, so she tends to save the good bottles for when her wine-appreciating kids are around. The best thing we drank on my visit home was an amazing 2005 Sine Qua Non Atlantis Fe2O3, a bold Grenache (with 7% Syrah) from the Central California winery."—Carey Jones, Senior Managing Editor
Spicy Ruby Red Margarita from Colonie in Brooklyn
Spicy Ruby Red Margarita from Colonie in Brooklyn
"It was a lazy brunch on a Saturday morning (or actually, 2 p.m.) at Colonie when I was planning to stick to coffee but this cocktail popped out at me. Sign me up for anything grapefruit, and also anything served in a salt-rimmed glass. This tangy, tart, spicy margarita is made with habanero-infused reposado tequila (infused in-house). It has a fresh bite but isn't so spicy that you're scared to drink it. The fresh ruby red grapefruit juice brings a tad of sweetness. And if you like salt as much as me, you'll appreciate the licks of lime zest salt around the rim."—Erin Zimmer, National Managing Editor