"I'm a vintage soda fiend. So long as it's made with real sugar and has a flavor that I can't find anywhere else, I'll probably like it. Among my favorites: Vernor's, the real ginger soda from Detroit (and quite possibly the oldest commercial soft drink in the world), Cheerwine, the cherry-flavored pop known as the Nectar of North Carolina, Foxon Park birch beer from Connecticut that you'll find in any halfway decent CT pizza joint, and Big Red, the bright red cream soda from Texas.
So when some friends of mine told me they were opening a burger joint a few blocks from my apartment and asked for some advice, the first order of business after designing the burgers was to get some vintage sodas stocked in their fridge. Adam Kuban, Nick Solares, and I hit it up last week for lunch and you can bet your butts we partook of the spoils."—Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer
Negroni Slushy at Parson's Chicken & Fish, Chicago
"I was well aware of the Negroni Slushy before my first visit to Parson's Chicken & Fish; I just didn't expect it to be any good. Though a interesting concept, I expected it to be watered down and sweetened up. Instead, this version has all the bitter notes that you'd expect from the classic, while the ice helps lighten it up, making it a great fit for all the fried offerings." —Nick Kindelsperger, Chicago Editor
Green & Gold from Chris Lane of Lolinda at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market Party
"San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market turned 20 this month, and one of the many events they threw was a cocktail celebration with many of the city's top bartenders making market-inspired drinks. My personal favorite was from Chris Lane of Lolinda, made with Montelobos Mezcal, sage, honey, and ginger, plus loads of fresh lemon for balance. This man knows his drinks."—Maggie Hoffman, Drinks Editor
Espresso from Ultimo Coffee in Philly
"The best espresso coffee I had this month was as a single-origin shot of Bolivian coffee called Nueva Llusta, from Ultimo Coffee in Philadelphia. If you could drink warm Raisinets, that's basically what this tasted like: Softly chocolaty and sweet, with a little bit of a fruity peek toward the end. Perfect after trudging through the rain all morning."—Meister, coffee columnist
Beras Kencur in Central Java
"This is a traditional Javanese drink made from fermented rice, cane sugar, and spices. Served chilled, hits of cinnamon, clove, ginger, and other tropical spices make strike the perfect balance between the sweetness of the sugar and the slight funk of the fermented rice. Perfect for sipping in the shade under a blazing midday midday sun, it's horchata's Indonesian cousin."—Andrew Strenio, spirits reviewer
Cocktails at Trick Dog, San Francisco
"Lessons learned from my trip to San Francisco:
1) Drink with Drinks editor Maggie. A lot. Shut up and let her take you places.
2) If you can't do 1), visit Trick Dog in the Mission.
3) Find bartender Chad, give him seven descriptions of the drink you want. Let some of them contradict. Watch him nail each and every one.
4) Failing that, order the Alligator Alley (pictured), featuring olive oil-infused Broker's gin, Imbue vermouth, Tempus Fugit quinine, and Green Chartreuse. It's the Mediterranean diet's take on a martini, and it's magical."—Max Falkowitz, SENY Editor
Crémant de Loire
"I'm having a lot of fun with this Crémant de Loire Brut from Château du Petit Thouars. It's a sparkling Loire Valley 100% Cab Franc, and I love its crisp, green-apple acidity; it's a great food wine and since it's under $20, it's not an extravagant purchase. Recently I've had it with chicken wings, grilled kale, oysters..."—Carey Jones, former Senior Managing Editor
Bruce Cost's Unfiltered Ginger Ale with Jasmine Tea
"The first thing that attracted me to this bottle was the ginger sediment in the bottom. Shake gently, and the full spicy effect of the root blooms across the bottle. The jasmine tea is oh-so-slightly sweet, and the carbonation minimal, making this a rather refined soda."—Jamie Feldmar, Managing Editor
Anne Boleyn at 15 Romolo in San Francisco
"The Anne Boleyn at 15 Romolo in San Francisco is super simple (just gin, Aperol, and Lillet Rose) but it's deliciously reminiscent of a citrusy Negroni. Strong but tasting neither too boozy nor too sweet, it was a good aperitif while I waited for a table at a nearby restaurant."—Carrie Vasios, Sweets Editor
Farewell to Arms at Plum Bar, Oakland
"Here's what best friends are for: when I was in Oakland recently, my friend knew to take me straight to Plum Bar for a Farewell to Arms. This super-charged version of my favorite cocktail, the Hemingway Daiquiri, takes the maraschino up a notch with Nardini Tagliatella liqueur (grappa with cherry juice and other fruit and spice flavors). The added complexity and bright fruit flavors with all the usual grapefruit zing of the classic version make this a worthwhile update."—Naomi Bishop, Seattle cocktail contributor
Soda chanh muối
Drunken Dragon's Milk
"Of all the drinks I sampled at the Lucky Rice Cocktail Feast, this concoction from Macao was far and away my favorite. Thai green curry meets mojito, the Drunken Dragon's Milk pairs Grey Goose vodka with a young coconut purée and lime juice, for a satisfying, chalky-in-a-good-way texture. Pandan leaf syrup and Thai basil add a minty sweetness that partners really nicely with the lingering notes of nutmeg, clove, and cardamom." —Niki Achitoff-Gray, Associate Editor