Photography by Joel Goldberg and Prop Styling by Charlotte Havelange
This past year has brought much to celebrate, including the continued (if cautious) return to gatherings with family and friends, and openings (and re-openings) of bars and restaurants across the country.
It’s also brought a line-up of memorable spirits—and a number of surprises.
This list was compiled from the hundreds of bottles we’ve had the opportunity to review over the past 12 months. It includes a top-scoring new bourbon that hailed from Colorado—not Kentucky—and an attention-getting Italian vermouth infused with Japanese cherry blossom that filled our glasses with pink-tinged Martinis. A toasty rye whiskey from Denmark shared space with top-tier American-made ryes, and a debut gin from Kenya charmed with brisk citrus and spice.
Of note: This year’s Top 100 doesn’t include Scotch whisky—the first time since 2013 that has happened. To be clear, that omission isn’t a knock on venerable Scotch, but it afforded us the opportunity to, instead, highlight blended Scotch. And a surprising dearth of samples opened the door to reviewing a wider range of whiskey styles. As a result, this year’s list includes several American and international single malts. Again: a year of surprises, but also a year of delights. —Kara Newman