The best way to bid farewell to 2018? With a big “don’t let the door hit ya” and a fresh, stiff drink.
As we prepare to welcome a new year, let us also welcome the latest and greatest trends in cocktails that have us in a 2019 state of mind: with blasts of flavors like mint, fig, lemon, pistachio and a humble Mediterranean spice called Baharat. Here are five of our picks, all of which you’d be keen to serve at your own trendsetting New Year’s Eve party. (Tip: Serve the first one to your all-ages NYE bash for silly sour faces!)
At the James Beard Award-winning Philadelphia restaurant Zahav, chef Michael Solomonov prepares a menu that includes the rich, warm and beloved spices and ingredients of his native Israel. One of them is limonana, a mint lemonade beverage, which the eatery serves by the pitcher to thirsty guests, but is available widely in Israel as a tasty way to cool down on hot days. “It’s one of the most refreshing drinks in the country,” said Israeli Kitchen recipe contributor Miriam Kresh. “It’s sweetened lemon juice blended with fresh mint and lots of ice, and the flavor is intense.”
Kresh even adapted her own recipe so that lemon lovers the world over can enjoy Israel’s pleasantly kept secret, with or without a splash of vodka. Read our recipe here.
Baharat-spiced Old Fashioned
At Feast of Merit restaurant in Melbourne, Australia, the menu is designed to share, with acclaimed chef Ayhan Erkoc drawing his culinary influence from the Mediterranean. He clearly took a liking to Baharat, a spice blend commonly used to give Israeli street food a proper punch. But here, Erkoc made it into a cocktail, with only four ingredients: Havana Club Anejo, Baharat and orange bitters. And since Israeli-inspired fare is one of the hot food and beverage trends to watch for in 2019, it might be time to book a table down under!
Georgian orange wines
Next year, your favorite wine might not come from Bordeaux or Napa Valley, but the Republic of Georgia. Yes, that’s the country in Asia, formerly a member of the Soviet Union. Its white (called “orange,” but it’s still made with grapes; the color is a rusty amber) wines are making waves internationally, after being cultivated for, oh, about 8,000 years (we’re slow learners, OK?). Georgian wines are, according to food trend experts, a hub of the natural wine movement due to its unique cultivation process: it’s made with the use of qvevri (pronounced: kwevri), which are underground clay vessels, often lined with beeswax, that ferments the wine without additives.
The wine’s newfound fame stateside is partly due to the wide-ranging success of MAYDĀN, a restaurant in Washington, D.C., that started as a street food cafe and evolved into a full-range upscale menu – with khachapouri, a Georgian egg and cheese bread dish, taking a leading role. It also happens to pair perfectly with a fine bottle of Pheasant’s Tears, Kortavebis Marani, Nikoloz Antadze or Iago’s. And, we also happen to have our own recipe for it.
We’ll always tip our hats to the lemon wedges, cinnamon sticks and mint leaves that topped the cocktail garnish wish list for generations. But next year? Feast your eyes on the cocktail that drinks like a meal: fruit- and sorbet-filled glasses, colorful salts and savory spices (see Baharat, above) and dry ice for dramatic effect. Presentation is the new black, we presume?
For your own low-key but high-enjoyment version of the loaded cocktail, take a page from our very own Jerry James Stone, who created this mango sorbet champagne cocktail recipe so you can finally be the bartender of your own dreams.
The coffee-cocktail merger
In the beverage world, two things are taken very seriously: coffee and cocktails. But together, in one drink? Indeed, after rising to fame in London’s cafe culture, the combo is gradually making its way onto cocktail menus across the U.S. Experts say it’s best served as an after-dinner apertif: add vodka, freshly brewed espresso and coffee liqueur, and garnish with a few of your most fragrant coffee beans. The perfect palette cleanser for a cheery and remarkably alert 2019!