You’d be forgiven if the last thing you want to think about right now is a New Year’s resolution. After all, the winter of our discontent is a perfect time to think about anything but self-improvement, moderation or fitness.
What of the drinking resolution, though? Sure, it’s at least partly an airing of regrets that allows us to look back, with embarrassed fondness, and vow to never, say, fall asleep in a taxi cab again, or believe that a full pitcher of Margaritas is a suitable serving for one. But it’s also about looking ahead and allowing ourselves to think bigger, drink smarter and to seek out more of what we genuinely like.
As we kiss 2020 goodbye and welcome our bars and restaurants back in the next few months, the drinking resolution has never been more relevant. To get a sense of what 2021 might hold, we checked in with some of the most resolute folks we know and asked them how they will be drinking in the coming year. Here’s what they had to say.
Talia Baiocchi | Editor in Chief, PUNCH
Good riddance, 2020. I am here for whatever collective rumspringa is on the other end of this vaccine. Trite as it may sound, the great reveal of 2020 is how much we took for granted. So I am going into 2021 grizzled, but full of more wonderment than ever. In that spirit, I am calling dealer’s choice on the whole thing; consider me here for whatever anyone is willing to share with me—so long as it isn’t sambuca. I’ll be at the bar.
Christine Wiseman | Bar Manager, Broken Shaker, Los Angeles
I just want to start by saying thank god this year is almost over! Frick 2020! A couple of things that are going to sound so crazy coming from my mouth. I am done with hangovers! And I may have out Claw’d myself. I know, I know… However, the Truly Tropical pack will still hold a special place in my heart and mouth. My year of drinking will look a lot like this: supporting the heck out of our industry, natural wine, mezcal and Negronis. I know I’m not resurrecting a secret cocktail here with the Negroni, but I just can’t get enough of them right now. And in 2021, I want to drink every variation of them. Show me what you’ve got, everyone! I want to wish everyone—what will hopefully be—a bit brighter year. Every single person that I know in this industry are some of the strongest and most resilient people I have ever met. All of the support that I have seen for each other has been so heartwarming and a nice change. Sending you all positive vibes. I cannot wait to get back out there and drink all of your Negronis.
Chloe Frechette | Senior Editor, PUNCH
Last year I resolved to drink more in 2020. That is, I vowed to stop hoarding bottles, saving them for a distant unknown occasion and just enjoy them when the mood struck. It ended up being the ideal year to realize that goal and I drank my fair share of prized spirits as a way to revel in the year’s few, small victories, and to dull the many, many lows. It made clear that sometimes “because I feel like it” is as good a reason as any to crack open that special bottle. It’s a philosophy I plan on bringing with me into the new year. That, and drink more water.
Drew Lazor | Author, Session Cocktails
I wish I had a way to Eternal Sunshine myself back into the sweet, ignorant idiot I was in early January. I was relatively cheery, motivated and hopeful, and all I wanted to do was expand my wine vocabulary, wean myself off Bud Light Lime and stop passing out with my contacts in. Went 0-for-3 there, but it’s not like the rest of the world shot much better, right? This year sucked for me, as I’m sure it’s sucked for every other human, but I have to say: I did a lot of really good drinking in 2020. Supersized Whiskey Sours became the official cocktail of quarantine—I made a bunch of drinks out of Chloe’s excellent Easy Tiki, too—but in addition to that, I’ve tried all sorts of beer, wine and spirits I never had the time, wherewithal or opportunity to otherwise. I’ve learned quite a bit. And the weirdest/best part is that if you tabulate my 2020 consumption cumulatively, I think I’ve drunk less overall than in nonpandemic years. This might be moot since I very rarely keep resolutions anyway, but I think I’m going to roll this same energy over into the new year. No idle threats of tangible self-improvement in 2021.
Aaron Goldfarb | Author, Hacking Whiskey
In 2021, I want to view drinking as something special again. Not just something to do because there’s nothing to do, because there’s never anything to do during a pandemic. I also hope to one day next year have a drink without my wife and children sitting mere inches away from me on the sofa.
Lynnette Marrero | Bar director, Llama Inn, Llama-San
Leslie Pariseau | Features Editor, PUNCH
I just took a peek back at my resolution for 2020 (to write down and document the drinks that dazzled me), and to be very honest, I didn’t do a great job. But I’m going to give myself some slack, because 2020. I did, however, do a great job buying cases of wine, making Manhattans and drinking frozen Margaritas. I’m not going to pretend I didn’t overdo it occasionally and I’m also not going to pretend I’m going to cut any of these things out. In fact, I’m just going to add one thing to the list: more Champagne. I don’t know nearly enough about the category, and I don’t drink nearly enough of it. So, more secondary fermentation and more cork-popping in 2021.
Dale DeGroff | King Cocktail; author, The New Craft of the Cocktail
Well, COVID-19 forced [my wife] Jill and I to fast-track part of our New Year’s resolution for 2021. We left New York and are domiciled in the southeastern corner of Connecticut, a 12-minute walk from my mom’s house in Rhode Island. The trek takes us over a small river and through beautiful Wilcox Park, which is filled with stunning old-growth trees. Mom is 93, and my sons Leo and Blake are well into their 30s, and when they visit we can finally say, “Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house we go!”
[Since moving] I made a resolution to support local alcoholic beverage producers, and I have re-discovered my college go-to beverage: a local beer called Narragansett Lager that was rescued by a new owner and is made in Rhode Island again. The lager is better than I remember it being when I enjoyed it at Iggy’s, the local public house near the University of Rhode Island.
We are, however, far from our New York community—the friends, the bars and the restaurants among other amenities. We are hoping that the vaccine will give us the opportunity to Amtrak-it into the city and resume some of the life we lived for so many years.
Tatiana Bautista | Assistant Editor, PUNCH
This won’t be applicable until later in 2021, but once we can properly “go out” again, I won’t be the first one to call it a night. Another round? Count me in. Just one more drink? Sure, why not. There will be a lot of catching up to do and even more to celebrate.
Megan Krigbaum | Contributing Editor, PUNCH
Our front stoop became key to seeing friends from a distance this year. I’m planning to continue enticing people this winter by resolving to open the big red wines I’ve been hanging on to for years, but never find a time for. (That and upping my warm snacks game.) And I’ll keep using neighborhood restaurant loves, like Popina and Franks Wine Bar, as my de facto wine shops for any urgent needs.
And, with the Sidecar as the driver, I have found a new little love of Cognac this year. (Perhaps a lasting effect of reading Thad Vogler’s book, By the Smoke and the Smell, a few years back?) At this point, I’d prefer it to the occasional pour of whiskey in the evening, but in truth, I haven’t tasted broadly enough to know what’s what. I’ll remedy this slowly (an admittedly pricey proposition) in 2021, starting with a VSOP from Paul Beau that I’ve had my eyes on.
Kellie Thorn | Beverage director, Hugh Acheson Restaurants
This time spent in quarantine with limited soujourns out into the greater world provided me with an opportunity for a lot of inward reflection. I started meditating regularly and taking long periods off from drinking. I see this to being a continuing theme in 2021: drinking less and really taking the time to appreciate the things I’m consuming and the people I’m consuming with. Above all else, I will not take for granted hugs, high fives and sitting in my favorite bars and restaurants and traveling without the anxiety of a pandemic looming over my head.