Put down that fifth tiki drink and step away from the Negroni you always order—the New Year stands before us, and it’s time to review the state of our drinking lives.
For the past two years I’ve asked some of my fellow drinkers what they vow not to repeat in their drinking futures, but also what they hope to do more of. I’ve posed the question to myself, too. I can say that I’ve successfully fulfilled many of my 2015 goals—like making not one, but three Champagne towers this year.
In the New Year, I will stop doing two things: forcing myself to love beer (I just don’t; sorry, I’m not sorry) and swearing off shots. Shots will happen. Whiskey, tequila, whatever—they just occur, and at a moment’s notice.
So, here we are. I’ve assembled yet another stellar group of colleagues and professional drinkers near and far to dispense their resolutions of the drinking kind. From swearing off Bud Light Lime to not taking Tinder dates to expensive craft cocktail bars to finding a way to drink wine on a cleanse to breaking less Zaltos, here’s to our most hangover-free/hangover-worthy year yet.
Katie Parla | Author, Tasting Rome
I resolve to stop stressing the capacity of my Roman apartment’s limited storage with random alcohol experiments. The world does not need borderline industrial quantities of my questionably drinkable homemade digestivi. What I gain in closet space will be designated for flat shoes, which will replace all heels in an effort to curb 2015’s alarming rise in cobblestone-inflicted drinking injuries. I will devote all that free time and ankle health to revisiting Italian wine regions I love but know only superficially—Valtellina, Irpinia, western Sicily—and to re-discovering the fruit brandies and rieslings of Austria and Germany.
Courtney McBroom and Leslie Discher | Large Marge
Courtney: I vow to never again drink something I don’t like, just because I’ve been told it’s “THE BEST!” My goal for the New Year is to learn more about natural wines and try to actually retain that knowledge instead of getting drunk on wine and forgetting all the cool details about it.
Leslie: I vow to keep my husband off bartending duty, unless I want to partake in specialties like “Double Jack Splash of Coke” or “Vodka Cactus Cooler.” With a new baby on the way in the 2016, I aim to be the “responsible cool mom” who doesn’t bring her kid to a bar. Unless it has a killer wine list.
Drew Lazor | Food and Drink Writer; Columnist, Punch
In 2015, I cultivated a Jessica Jones-style whiskey-glugging habit, but instead of using my superhuman strength and leaping abilities to help the innocent while wearing a cool vintage leather jacket, I mostly just overslept and forgot to return people’s texts.
In 2016, I want to work on changing my default reaction from “SHOTS!!!” to “…shots?” I feel if I can accomplish this I can truly live up to the potential my mom keeps talking about. I want to become more OK with not finishing drinks I know I have no business finishing.
Brette Warshaw | Editor, luckypeach.com
I deeply regret drinking four Bud Light Limes in rapid succession one night this past summer. My goals in 2016 are to not do that ever again and to also spend some time finding an inexpensive house wine that I enjoy and understand and stock in a responsible manner.
Alison Roman | Senior Food Editor, BuzzFeed
In 2016, I vow to learn more about wine. I’ve coasted too long on the fact that I know I like wines from Jura, but to be honest I have no idea what I’m talking about. I’d like to change that.
What I vow to drink less of? Fizzy, refreshing, low sugar, low-ish alcohol, all-night beverages. Which is code for: No more vodka sodas. Nothing good ever comes from a night of vodka sodas.
Gary Regan | Author, The Joy of Mixology and Negroni
I vow never to wash my fingers between stirring Negronis in 2016 and to give my cock (see below) to everyone I meet.
Sarah Baird | Food and Drink Writer; Contributor, Punch
In 2015, I spent a lot of time trying to convince my more health-conscious friends that it’s totally fine to drink wine while doing a juice cleanse because, you know, grapes. I’ll also finally stop propagating the myth that that the texture of pulque (it’s a little like lukewarm spit) gets better the more you drink it, and that all the syrupy, neon-colored cocktails I enjoy sipping in airport bars are for “research purposes only.”
In 2016, I really want to step up my home stemware game. I’ve gotten a little obsessed with finding a nice pipe snifter for brandy, but also want a healthy dose of kitsch in the mix, like this clown decanter. I might even spring for a penguin-shaped ice bucket, who knows?
Talia Baiocchi | Editor in Chief, Punch
Well, let’s see, on January 30th, 2014, I had such a wild night that I physically could not ring in 2015. So, first things first: I am definitely not starting 2016 on the couch, ill, watching the entire first season The L Word. Low bar, I know, but you gotta start somewhere. I also plan to do more drink-related travel this year than I did last year, to somehow liquidate the test bar I’ve built in the hall closet and to make more punch. And god knows there will be plenty of spritzing in 2016.
Lesley Bargar Suter | Dine Editor, Los Angeles Magazine
I will stop ordering Negronis everywhere just because I like Negronis. They’re the new Mojito: suddenly everywhere, mostly terrible. I’ll also stop using the word “savory” to describe my drink preference. That seems to translate to most bar staff as “something with tomato or jalapeño in it,” which isn’t really what I mean at all.
For some reason there never seems to be a bottle of decent wine in the house when I have guests. Does that mean I drink too much or not enough? It’s unclear. I know we bought four bottles on Friday, and yet … they are gone. I may still live paycheck to paycheck, but I’ve certainly grown beyond living bottle to bottle. So, it’s time to stock up. Oh, and I’m going to start drinking a lot of overly oaked chardonnays—just because I’m feeling contrary, and I like an underdog.
Zachary Sussman | Drink Writer; New York Wine Columnist, Punch
First, I vow to stop meeting internet dates in fancy wine and cocktail bars. My alcohol budget is already far too meager to allow me to rack up a (minimum) $60 bar tab on some random person I’ve never met before, and will likely never want to meet again.
Other than that, I resolve to drink less French wine in 2016. Or if not less French wine, at least more wine that isn’t French, with the exception of Champagne, as I believe any sane individual should resolve to drink more Champagne.
Leslie Pariseau | Drink and Culture Writer; Contributing Editor, Punch
Real or imagined, I’m convinced I found a good balance of moderation and creativity in more time spent drinking at home. Much of this can be attributed to the requirement of dreaming up new recipes while working on SPRITZ with my partner-in-crime Talia Baiocchi (and waking up without a hangover in order to write coherently).
This year I’m resolved to entertaining at home in a more organized, Martha-esque way, i.e. with a proper cocktail hour, ironed linens, table settings that involve seasonal fruit and flower arrangements—maybe even place cards. But a more realistic resolution would be to stop breaking expensive glassware. I did a lot of that in 2015. Fewer broken Zalto glasses. Let’s stick with that one.
Marissa A. Ross | Wine. All the Time.
My drinking resolution is to not drink a pitcher of margaritas after I’ve already had a bottle of wine. This is harder than one might think considering there this great Mexican spot, El Condor, is at the bottom of my street with late-night happy hours.
In the New Year, my goal is to explore more traditional wines. I’m a sucker for anything new that pushes the boundaries in flavors or farming, and have focused mostly on those wines in my work. But just like any art, it’s important to come back to the classics.
Adrianna Adarme | Author, The Year of Cozy
Life is really complicated because the thing I never want to do again was so fun when it was happening. In 2015, that was drinking tiki drink after tiki drink at Lost Lake in Chicago. The bananas shaped like dolphins wooed me, and I just kept ordering one after the other. The next day I thought I was on my death bed. I probably shouldn’t do that again.
Jon Bonné | Author, The New California Wine; Senior Contributing Editor, Punch
This was actually a pretty great year for drinking, and I’m doubly thankful that my tasting habits began involving less time on bad wine and more time on good wine. If I have any regret, it would involve not pushing back harder when, especially in France, I kept being told that instead of a wine list, I could have a “conversation,” all while being poured something that resembled a mud peel. For next year? More Champagne. And more amari. You should start and finish strong.
Sarah St. Lifer | Food and Style Writer; GM/Partner, Night + Market
I’m very proud of the wine knowledge I accumulated in 2015. I read books, I took notes, I even participated in a few blind tastings. But, the most educational wine experience was working for Laurent Saillard during harvest. One week of back-breaking labor taught me so much. My resolution is to do it every year until I physically can’t.
Christopher Ross | Food and Drink Writer; Contributor, Punch
My regret from 2015 is thinking that I could hold my own drinking with bartenders after five years of civilian life. I used to work at The Franklin Mortgage and Investment Co. in Philadelphia before moving to New York to work in magazines, and recently moved back to the City of Brotherly Love. A few weeks ago I went out drinking with a friend I used to run around town with when we both worked behind the stick in the early 2010s. I learned the hard way that normal human beings are just not constitutionally equipped to take shots like a working bartender can. They train at altitude. I was hungover for about three days after that night.
Michael Cruse | Winemaker and Proprietor, Cruse Wine Co.
Alcohol and I had a pretty good run this year without too many regrets. I do need to stop trusting my failing memory and write down a few notes about some of the great wines I’ve been lucky enough to taste. As for New Year’s drinking resolutions, this one is a bit tough for a native Northern Californian, but I want to drink more in LA.
Regan Hofmann | Food and Drink Writer; Contributor, Punch
My resolution for the last four years has been to knuckle down and learn to love Scotch – the “serious” stuff that tastes like a Boy Scout troop is practicing their campfire-building skills in your sinuses – even though every time I’ve tried it over the last four years it’s sent me running back into the arms of rye, my one true brown-spirits love.
In 2016, I plan to have people over to put a dent in the massive home bar I’ve assembled, mostly by accident. These bottles have annexed most of my dining room, so it’s time to call in reinforcements. Party’s at my house, guys.
Interviews have been condensed and edited.