It’s that time of year again. The time when I ask myself, “Where the hell did the year go? And why am I getting older at a continually faster rate? And why am I still single? And why did I do that extra shot of tequila at 2 a.m.?” As yet another year approaches, many of us will take a moment to reflect on the year behind us and all its amazing adventures and accomplishments. And all of the stupid shit we did. Regret is our universal bond. But also, hope.
So, as we stare into the fresh, clean, sober face of 2014, why not devote some time to resolutions of the drinking kind? Not that we should drink less. Oh no. We should drink more—but better, and with less regret.
In my own moment of resolve, I vow to never again get drunk on a plane. It seems somehow glamorous, but I will undoubtedly feel 10 times more hungover than I would on the ground. I also promise that when I find myself swaying at a dive bar in the wee hours of the morning that, when offered a dollar shot to accompany my already unnecessary pint of beer, I will just say no. You will not be less adventurous and spontaneous, Whitney. You will be smart.
What shall I do more of in 2014? I’d like to bulk up my classic cocktail repertoire and add more special bottles to the wine cellar. But I also need to drink more margaritas on a beach somewhere and start building champagne towers. Why are we not all building more of those on a regular basis, for every celebration ever?
While considering my own regrets and hopes, I asked several friends and colleagues to weigh in on the discussion. Over-indulgence seems to be a theme, unsurprisingly, which makes me feel much better about myself and my decisions in 2013. It’s good to know that I’m not the only one who experienced what I like to call “shots trauma.” Upping one’s game is also a common thread, and if everyone’s intentions are met with success, 2014 looks as if it will be a very delicious (and classy) year.
JESSICA SEINFELD | Author, The Can’t Cook Book
Here’s what I’m not doing in 2014: drinking Mai Tais. There were a few mornings in 2013 when I swore them off for good, but, as always, with sublime food and drink, I am not so disciplined. Thus, I decided to eliminate drinks with multiple juices because I believe it’s actually the sugar that gives me the crawl-on-all-fours headache.
I’ve always been a wine guy, so this year, I’m committing to furthering my education on proper drinks. My grandmother, religious with her 5 p.m. Manhattan, found it shameful that I was so unsophisticated when it came to booze. So, to honor Granny’s 99 years of appreciating a great cocktail every night—while reading the New Yorker and listening to “All Things Considered” on NPR—I’m going for more knowledge about and experience with finer spirits and their accompaniments. By the way, I’m going against the “grain” here—my doctor once told me that the Jewish constitution is not well suited to absorb alcohol, which apparently results in fewer Jewish alcoholics. So, I’m also looking forward to swimming upstream this year.
DAVID WONDRICH | Cocktail Historian and Author, Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl
I will say “no-thanks-are-you-fucking-crazy-do-I-look-like-I-need-another-fucking-shot-what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-you” more often to my friends, especially after 1 a.m. or any time they’re waving Fernet at me. I will not neglect the interesting and crafty new bars I’m supposed to visit because the dive I happen to be walking by looks like it might have beer, and a little whiskey and—just maybe—a jukebox. I will not look over the house cocktail list and then just have a Manhattan. I will learn to like purslane & annatto seed-infused armagnac and new gins that are flavored with the stems of the botanicals that other, older gins are flavored with. I will write less about whiskey and more about things that I don’t like as much as I like whiskey. I will stay away from Sean Kenyon like my mother warned me to.
I have a couple resolutions for 2014. First, I resolve to never drink beer, wine, vodka, wine, vodka, vodka, beer, wine, vodka, wine, vodka ever again because I can’t afford to be that hungover on Tuesday. Secondly, I resolve to never drink two bottles of champagne at Neiman Marcus and spend all my money on Tom Ford makeup, just because I was drunk and some girl put eyeliner on me.
What I do want to do in the New Year is put together a classy little wet bar and venture into making cocktails at home. I also want to work on new punch recipes and I hope to spend more time wine tasting in a professional, not-guzzling-bottles-on-my-couch way.
JON BONNÉ | Wine Editor, The San Francisco Chronicle; Author, The New California Wine
One lesson learned: If you happen to be drinking with folks who went to your alma mater, and the topic turns to drinking games played in your younger days, and you happen to decide to revisit past glories: DO NOT play those drinking games with grower champagne. (Not unless everyone at the table gets drunk faster than you.)
With my head deep in California, I’ve been neglecting some of my other favorite places in the world to drink from. So, in 2014, here’s to a return to good Chinon. Saar riesling. Chablis. More sherry. Barolo. Maybe a bottle of Saint-Péray. And rye. My rye whiskey quotient has been dangerously low of late.
ABE SCHOENER | Winemaker, Scholium Project
My resolution is to bring out champagne bottles only one at a time after 2 a.m. And my other resolution is to finish all champagne opened after 2 a.m. before going to bed.
CHRISTINA TURLEY | Turley Wine Cellars
I may have over-indulged in the obscure. A red wine blended with blood from a stag that fed off the same grapes grown throughout a Siberian forest? Absolutely, fill ‘er up. Vermouth from a manic-depressive druid who’s taken a vow of silence and therefore “bottles” everything in velvet so the process makes absolutely no sound? SIGN ME UP.
These things are all well and good for the occasional pushing of boundaries and broadening of horizons, but only if you can put them in the proper context. For example, I don’t know that I drank a single bottle of Bordeaux in 2013. So, the resolution for the coming year is to re-familiarize myself with the fundamental wines—those that comprise the context of the modern wine era. I plan to cull from the classics, which, for me, includes California (Crab’s Black Burgundy anyone?) as much as it does France and Italy. I need to look into the past to strengthen and expand the basic foundation, and ready myself for the next—warmly welcome—wave of weird.
JOE CAMPANALE | Owner, Anfora, L’Apicio and dell’anima
I love sherry and madeira but rarely drink them, so I want to drink more fortified wine in 2014. And as I say every year, I vow to drink more Burgundy.
TALIA BAIOCCHI | Editor in Chief, PUNCH
Let me preface this by saying that since graduating from college, I’ve had mild alcohol poisoning less than three times. Ok, maybe four. But I can handle the wine. Except for last New Year’s Eve when I had dinner at Roberta’s before a New Year’s party I was planning to attend. Let’s just say I didn’t make it to the party. There was a bartender covered in glitter and shots. Lots of shots. And wine. And shots. Maybe even a beer somewhere in there. I was home bent over a toilet and in bed before midnight. So, this year I am starting things off on a classier note. No shots, more caviar. Always more caviar.
MATT DUCKOR | Multimedia Editor, Bon Appétit
I found myself in Nashville three times this year; it’s a great city with a lot going for it. One thing it doesn’t have going for it: the popularity of Fireball, the sticky-sweet cinnamon whisky that I unfortunately took a shot of (ok, two shots) one night at a honky tonk. Never again.
Things I want to do? I hope to be one of those guys who somehow comes across a bottle of 23-year Pappy Van Winkle in some weird, out of the way grocery store only to post copious Instagram photos.
AMANDA KLUDT | Editorial Director, Eater
Don’t do: Shots. And with the exception of a bottle of Budweiser at the end or beginning of a long night of drinking, I vow and hope to only drink wonderful, delicious things—wine, cocktails, etc.—and to not just drink what’s convenient or cheap or put in front of me (e.g. most wine at weddings and certain house parties).
KERRY DIAMOND | Editorial Director, Cherry Bombe; Co-owner, Seersucker and Nightingale 9
I resolve to be more adventurous about cocktails. I pretty much stuck to wine and champagne this year, but given that New York City is the cocktail capital of the world, I need to branch out.
I do regret drinking on an empty stomach too many times. Never a recipe for success. Gotta remember the food first.
LESLIE PARISEAU | Deputy Editor, PUNCH
I vow to stop counting late lunch and early evening oysters as a proper dinner suited to pad the Negronis, Manhattans and magnums of Barolo to follow. I will stop drinking only French and Italian wine. I will stop expecting cocktails with 15 ingredients to be delicious. I will stop testing bartenders with Daiquiris. I will cut down on my Luxardo cherry intake.
I will go to my local dive bar more. When traveling, I will seek out fewer fancy bars in lieu of bars with jukeboxes and High Life in bottles. I will drink more beer on Sundays. I will drink more sherry in life. I will continue to start happy hour at 4:30. I will drink more while cooking. More shower beers. More Irish Coffees.
JJ GOODE | Food Writer and Co-author, Pok Pok
Things I will continue to try and not do: Whenever my wife is out of town, I drink way too much bourbon and watch whatever bad horror movies are streaming on Netflix. I definitely regret it the next day, because I feel worthless. But I still do it again the next time she’s out of town.
RICHARD BETTS | Master Sommelier and Author, The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert
One of my resolutions for 2014 is to spread the gospel of high-proof spirits. No more watered down 80-proof nonsense. (Of course Sombra at 90 and Astral at 92 proof are a big part of that, but it extends to all spirits for me.)
What I vow to never do again in 2014: Jameson shots. They only accelerate the inevitable and create the difference between a manageable and unmanageable hangover. (I would categorize today’s as unmanageable.)
What I hope to continue: I’m hooked on “Hang Over” pills from “The Organic Pharmacy” in London. Three before you have your first drink and three after your last. I swear by them. One of the ingredients is “Nux vomica.” Sounds good to me.