Slideshow: The Best Drinks We Drank in January

Sazerac in New Orleans
Sazerac in New Orleans

"I recently took my second trip to New Orleans. The city has so much to offer on the food and booze front that I didn't double up on anything I had tried before, with one exception: the Sazerac at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt Hotel. I love the classic, frozen-in-time ambiance of the bar and the perfect balance of the drink. Some Sazeracs in the city are too sweet, but this one does well by going easy on the simple syrup and limiting the Herbsaint to a rinse. Otherwise, it's just good rye, Peychaud's bitters, and a curl of lemon."—Carrie Vasios Mullins, Sweets editor

[Photo: Kevin O'Mara]

Genever 'White' Martinez
Genever 'White' Martinez

"This cocktail, which I made while cooking at home, has barrel aged genever, maraschino, Dolin Blanc vermouth, and an absinthe rinse. It's based on a recipe from the Speakeasy book by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric. I swapped out the gin for genever, giving it a malty flavor with a little more body. Light and silky on the tongue with hints of citrus, malt and a little anise in the background. This one has that crisp martini taste but goes down so smooth....maybe too smooth."—Nick Caruana, cocktail columnist

[Photo: Nick Caruana]

Rye and Chinotto
Rye and Chinotto

"Chinotto is an Italian soda made with a bitter orange; its flavor is something between grapefruit peel (minus the acidity) and cola (minus the candy sweetness). That makes it a surprisingly versatile grown-up bitter soda that I can't stop drinking, especially when you add couple fingers of rye at the bottom of the glass. A reader on Twitter coined it the cheater's Boulevardier. I like that."—Max Falkowitz, SENY Editor

[Photo: Wes Rowe]

The Commons Brewery Biere Royale
The Commons Brewery Biere Royale

"This fuchsia-colored sour ale—inspired by the Kir Royale French cocktail—was the hit of Portland's 2013 Fruit Beer Fest, both for its striking color and burst of bright berry flavor. I bought more bottles than I'd care to admit once it went on sale in the autumn. The black currants, reminiscent of raspberries and huckleberries, work beautifully with the acidic lactobacillus bite. Anyone with even a passing interest in sour ales should seek out this beer immediately."—Adam Lindsley, Portland and chain drinks columnist

[Photo: Josh Grgas]

Kola Flip at Betony, NYC
Kola Flip at Betony, NYC

"I'm always intrigued by little-known ingredients, so when a friend told me that the bar at Betony was experimenting with a shipment of kola nuts (the fruit of a kola tree, and one of the main ingredients in first-generation colas), I knew I had to learn more. (Well, to be fair, we sent crackpot cocktail writer Roger Kamholz out to learn more, but still). The kola flip is a wintry lovechild of a Rum and Coke and eggnog, made with kola nut syrup, aged rum, amaro, and, of course, an egg. Garnished neatly with freshly-grated nutmeg, it was one of the prettiest and most unique-tasting cocktails I've had all season."—Jamie Feldmar, managing editor

[Photo: Roger Kamholz]

A Maple Cocktail at Home
A Maple Cocktail at Home

"Maybe maple-flavored drinks are overly trendy these days, but I couldn't resist trying to pair the flavor with black walnut in a cocktail at home. I combined Camus Cognac, Amaro Nonino, maple syrup, Fee Brothers Black Walnut bitters, Angostura and splashed some lemon juice in there for balance. With a bright flavor that is still rich and warming it's definitely a good start to a winter cocktail hour. The recipe is here on Stir & Strain."—Elana Lepkowski, cocktail contributor

[Photo: Elana Lepkowski]

Whistle Pig Rye
Whistle Pig Rye

"I'm not a rye connoisseur by any means, but I've enjoyed the few I've tried. So when a friend ordered up a glass of Whistle Pig—an unusual 100% unmalted rye whiskey—I immediately followed suit. Wow! Spicy, grassy, smoky, and smooth—it's delightful stuff. Especially on a verging-on-zero polar vortex evening, when it sends that bone chill packing. I even left myself a souvenir, a receipt in my wallet on which I'd scrawled 'Whistle Pig! YOU LIKE IT.'" —Niki Achitoff-Gray, Associate Editor

Black Isle Brewery's Black Run Tomatin Whisky Barrel Imperial Stout
Black Isle Brewery's Black Run Tomatin Whisky Barrel Imperial Stout

"I recently sipped Black Isle Brewery's Black Run Tomatin Whisky Barrel Edition Imperial Stout along with three drams of Tomatin single malt Scotch whiskys. Black Isle Brewery and the Tomatin distillery are located near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands. The beer and Scotch were both delicious, but it was an extra special sampling because I got these at their source this last summer. For a brief moment I was back in Scotland, my favorite country to visit, hands down."—Chris Cohen, beer columnist

[Photo: Chris Cohen]

Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
Cigar City Jai Alai IPA

"I was in Naples, Florida for the beginning of January and was excited to try this Jai Alai IPA from Cigar City Brewing in nearby Tampa. It was perfectly bitter, citrusy, and complex—a model IPA."—Leandra Palermo, Ad Accounts Executive

Tocino Caramelo at China Poblano, Las Vegas
Tocino Caramelo at China Poblano, Las Vegas

"Whenever I'm in Vegas, I always make sure to head over to The Cosmopolitan and hit up as many of José Andrés' restaurants as I can. This year at China Poblano I discovered the Tocino Caramelo. A take on a Manhattan, it's made with bacon infused rum, ancho liquor, sweet vermouth, and lemon juice. Sweet, spicy, and salty blend together into a smooth, easy-drinking cocktail. The bacon doesn't hit you over the head as a novelty, but is incorporated well with the other ingredients. And of course the strip floating on top as garnish makes a nice snack when you're done."—Nick Guy, cocktail columnist

[Photo: Nick Guy]

Oolong Spritz at Fung Tu in NYC
Oolong Spritz at Fung Tu in NYC
"I'm not a big drinker, so I try to pick cocktails that are on the lighter side. This totally hit the spot for me—it had a nice bitterness that offset the sweetness, and the oolong flavor came through but wasn't cloying."—Tracie Lee, Designer
Bloody Mary at Martin Cook's in Buffalo NY
Bloody Mary at Martin Cook's in Buffalo NY

"While the chef would only tell me 'bloody mary stuff' was used to make it, this great Bloody Mary warmed the cockles with an umami-rich tomato base, pickle-back sourness, and a chili kick that was a nice change from the usual horseradish. A nice warm-me-up on a cold winter morning!"—Lizz Schumer, cocktail columnist

[Photo: Lizz Schumer]