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Cocktails

The 5 Most Popular Cocktails of January

January 31, 2024

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Jamie Miki

Cocktails

The 5 Most Popular Cocktails of January

January 31, 2024

Story: Punch Staff

photo: Jamie Miki

Here are the five drinks that you couldn't get enough of this month.

Spirits like shochu and pisco, which are beloved in their native countries, haven’t become staples of the American home bar—yet. If the top recipes of the past month are any indication, though, there’s a growing appreciation for them, whether they’re featured in a centuries-old recipe passed down through generations or in an obsession-worthy savory Margarita variation. The rest of the drinks you deemed best in January included a lesser-known cocktail that’s found a home in New Orleans, a crowd-pleasing tequila sour and a perfected Campari Soda. Here’s how to make them.

Chirulín

Chirulin Pisco Sour Recipe

A centuries-old pisco-based cocktail, the Chirulín combines pisco, pomelo and cinnamon-spiced simple syrup, served on the rocks with a pomelo wedge and cinnamon stick. In its birthplace of El Ingenio, generations of Afro-descendant Peruvians have batched it in jarras, and sipped it from communal cups. In Lima, Tatiana Flores’ shaken version swaps pomelo for grapefruit and adds lime juice to increase acidity, which appeals to fans of sours like the Paloma, Brown Derby or Greyhound.

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Koji-San

Made with shochu, mezcal, citrus and celery juice, the Koji-San reads like a savory Margarita. The key to the cocktail’s allure is how two seemingly different spirits—barley-based shochu from Japan and smoke-laced mezcal from Mexico—meet with conviction in the glass, ultimately revealing that even though they don’t share origin stories, their similarities outweigh their differences. Both are earthy, terroir-driven spirits, and when tethered together via the bright, cooling qualities of celery juice (which, incidentally, also ups the savory factor), the result is a refreshing sour bearing multitudes of intrigue.

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Kirk Estopinal’s Absinthe Suissesse

Suissesse Cocktail Recipe Peychauds Bar NOLA

The Absinthe Suissesse went through many twists and turns before landing in New Orleans and morphing into the creamy drink it is today. Kirk Estopinal dispatches two versions, depending on the season. In hot weather, he prefers the version without orgeat, citing the refreshing, clean combination of herbaceous absinthe and mint. Winter calls for the grounding nuttiness of the orgeat, which also lends “a little bit more texture and a more creamy mouthfeel.”

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Baby Turtle

A smash hit from industry icon Trick Dog’s first menu, the frothy tequila-based sour remains one of the few early drinks for which the bar keeps all of the ingredients on hand to make at customers’ request—and those requests still roll in, 10 years in.

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Campari Soda

Best Campari Soda Bar Shake Tokyo

There is a significant amount of technique involved in Masayuki Kodato’s Campari Soda, which is served at his Ginza bar, Bar Shake. First, you must chill both the Campari and the soda water so that the ice (just one small piece of cracked ice, in this case) doesn’t immediately melt and water down the drink. Kodato’s addition of lemon juice to the template brightens the flavors of the drink and somehow binds them, and an aggressively effervescent soda water, Wilkinson Tansan, provides nodogoshi, a term that describes the refreshing feeling you get when a sparkling drink hits the back of your throat.

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