Summing Up 2008

My goal at the beginning of 2008 was to make every drink in my 2008 cocktail of the day calendar (weekend days are combined on a page), and I started this blog to document my progress, or rake's progress. So how'd I do?

Pretty damn good, thank you. I made every alcoholic drink in the calendar. Some days had 2, and I made all of those. Other days had variations, and I made most if not all of those. About a dozen days had non-alcoholic cocktails; I skipped those. And I mixed recipes from Internet Cocktail Database and elsewhere to further explore recipes or ingredients from my calendar.

Actually, to 'fess up, I did skip 2 punch recipes late this year. My reasons were simple: (1) I didn't have any large gatherings to make them for (one called for 3 bottles of wine) and (2) the punch recipe I made earlier in the fall was so lethal, bordering on toxic, that it's already become the stuff of legend among me and my friends.

So what didn't I like? I wasn't too good with the pousse cafes; I need an expert to show me how to build them. Fernet Branca didn't appeal to me, but I only made one or two drinks with it. I need to give it a second chance. I'm not a big fan of chartreuse, green or yellow. It tastes like you're drinking a meadow. Jagermeister doesn't do it for me either, but I need to give that a second chance too.

Liqueurs I tried for the first tine that I really like: punt e mes, especially for mixing negronis. Campari, which I'd had a few times before, but I really like now. Cachaca, especially in caipirinhas. Licor 43, on ice. Creme de peche (uh, straight out of the bottle if I could). Rangpur gin. Mezcal, which I prefer 100% over tequila. Limoncello: I don't where I've been all these years, but I'd never had it before. Champagne cocktails, especially the French series, and I've never been a big champagne fan.

I plan to continue exploring new liqueurs and recipes in 2009, probably not at the same breakneck pace as in 2008, but a few a week. And I want to investigate using them in cooking, which is a neglected aspect of cookery on the Food Network and elsewhere, apart from using wine to deglaze a pan. So stay tuned. Thanks for reading!