On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” hosts Adam Teeter, Joanna Sciarrino, and Zach Geballe invite the entire VinePair staff to reflect on the best drinks they had in 2022.
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Adam: From VinePair’s New York City headquarters, I’m Adam Teeter.
Joanna: I’m Joanna Sciarrino.
Zach: In Seattle, Washington, I’m Zach Geballe.
A: This is the Friday “VinePair Podcast.” Happy motherf*cking New Year.
J: Happy New Year.
Z: Happy birthday, you mean?
J: Happy birthday.
A: Oh, yes. Happy birthday, Zach.
Z: Coming up.
A: Happy birthday, Zach. We have a few people in the office that’ll have early birthdays. Keith is January 5th. I think we have a few others.
Z: My fellow sea goats, we will be grumpy and stubborn together.
A: Totally. We’re not going to have a lot of babbling today, between the three of us. Instead–
J: I think we were called out for our babbling recently, anyway.
A: Someone left a comment, they didn’t like the TV recommendations. Screw you, buddy.
J: No, we hear you. Sorry about that.
A: No, we don’t. I’m going to give TV recommendations again. I thought that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. Anyways. We put together a really fun package. We got together with a bunch of people in the VinePair office, lots of different employees.
J: Our whole staff, pretty much.
A: Our whole staff, who were around during the week before, we all worked from home during the holidays and brought them all into the recording studio. Each person has recorded what was either the most memorable drinking experience, memorable drink this year. I think it’s really fun to hear the differences in what people were up to in 2022. Give that a listen, and we’ll check back with you at the end. Please enjoy.
Josh: This is Josh, co-founder of VinePair, and this is my most memorable drinking experience from the year. Back in May, I took my first trip out of the country since the start of the pandemic, to Jordan, for a week and a half. Probably not a surprise, there isn’t a ton of alcohol produced there, although Cow Brewing, in Amman, is doing some really cool stuff. The most memorable experience was in Petra. After almost a dozen hours spent hiking and exploring the archeological sites, I was absolutely exhausted. I ordered a club sandwich up to my room, a.k.a. the best room service order there is, along with a can of Petra 5%, which is just a plain old lager, a room service club sandwich with an absolutely local lager isn’t why I travel, but it’s the experience that is always a part of traveling, one that I missed.
Sylvie: I’m Sylvie Baggett. I’m the branded content editor at VinePair. When we were challenged with this task, I thought about the cocktail that surprised me the most, that I liked. It was a celery Gimlet from a place in Bushwick, called Palmetto. I would never order this normally, because ew, it sounds gross, but the bartender was like, “You should try it, it’s actually really good.” It was salt, pepper, vodka, celery, and I don’t know what else. It sounds nasty even to say it, but it was delicious, refreshing, and very bright. That surprised me. That’s my cocktail.
Danielle: Hi, I’m Danielle. I’m the art director at VinePair. One of the best drinking experiences that I had in 2022 was when I went to Katana Kitten, in the West Village. I was actually working on a really cool video series with Patron, and it featured one of the bartenders there, Armando. It was really cool because I actually went prior to the shoot, so I got to meet him in person. He was just such a really great person to be around and spend time with while we were at the bar. First off, the cocktails there are amazing. It’s a Japanese-style cocktail bar, but very modern, and had American twists on it as well. He brought us a free glass of Champagne and also these really interesting shots of sake with a deviled egg, which I would personally never think to have, but overall, had a really great experience there. Hoping to go back more next year.
Keith: Hey, everyone, my name is Keith Beavers. I’m the tastings director of VinePair, and the host of VinePair’s “Wine 101” podcast. I drank a lot of great, amazing stuff this year. My favorite wine that I had this year– How to get to there? What happened was, it all started with a visit with the CEO of VinePair, Adam Teeter and I, we went to Monte Rosso Vineyard, it’s one of California, one of America’s very important vineyards. We met Brenae Royal, who is the manager of this huge vineyard, with her team, doing amazing work to basically evolve American wine into the next generation. It’s amazing. When we were there, I was able to see things that I didn’t know existed, like the oldest, the second-oldest vines of Semillon in the world. It was that moment that I decided, I was like, “Wait, wait, wait. American wine? Why aren’t we focusing more on American wine?” I started collecting American wine from small producers throughout the year. In the fall, I got together with Adam Teeter, managing editor of VinePair and host of “Cocktail College,” Tim McKirdy, at my house on a beautiful, beautiful, exquisite fall day. Right in the beginning of fall. We carved pumpkins, we lit fire pits, we played bocce, and the whole time, we drank these American wines that I had collected throughout the year. They were stunning, amazing, and beautiful. It showed me that the United States is just getting started with really good, focused, and sometimes expensive, but worth it, American wines that will age forever and drink just beautifully. The culmination of all this was a bottle of 136-year-old-vine Sémillon from Palmeri Vineyards. It blew my mind. Structurally, aromatically, Americanly, it was incredible. We had other amazing wines, like the “Revolver” Zin from Gagnon-Kennedy, and an amazing Cabernet Sauvignon. That Sémillon showed me that we are a very diverse country in wine, and we have so much more to explore. I cannot wait to do it.
Jessica: Hi, I’m Jessica. I’m the assistant editor here at VinePair. One of the best cocktails I had this year was a Soju Martini from Genesis House in the Meatpacking District. One of the reasons why I really, really enjoyed it is because it was super delicate and smooth, but it had this really nice nutty and earthy flavor to it that probably came from the sesame oil. It was really unique and just a different take on a Martini. Then I also had the opportunity to try some of Schramsberg Vineyards J. Schram, the 2001 vintage, at Anson’s earlier this year, and that one was so super good. It had notes of lemon, and very Champagne-esque, even though it’s not Champagne, but it was like the perfect kind of sparkling wine that you can just sit and sip, and you don’t always have to have a toast to, which I really love, too.
Dave: Hey, this is Dave Infante. I’m a contributing editor and columnist here at VinePair. I write Hop Take, which is our beer column. Everyone, go read it. It comes out every Thursday. This was a big year for me, drinking abroad. I hadn’t been abroad in a few years, and this year, I was lucky enough to go to both Oaxaca City, in Oaxaca State, in Mexico, and also Verona, Italy. While I had a blast in Verona and I was there with some colleagues from the site, we were there speaking of Wine2Wine, which is really cool conference, we had a lot of fun, but Oaxaca came through with what I thought was probably one of the most unique drinking experiences I’ve really ever had, and certainly, this year, which was– We got the opportunity to visit a mezcal palenque about an hour outside Oaxaca City proper. It was the palenque of Real Minero, which is one of the pioneering mezcal producers in the state of Oaxaca. It’s a very well-respected producer, from what I understand, and the reporting I read on it, in preparation of going to check it out. I was able to go with a few friends, and we got a tour from the family members that still own and operate the palenque. We got run through the whole process of producing the mezcal. I’ve been on distillery tours before, and they vary in quality. I think some of them are pretty interesting, a lot of them are pretty rote and not that compelling. This one certainly was. We got to taste a bunch of the mezcal that they produced there at the palenque. I think we talk a lot about, certainly here at the site, and then just as journalists generally, we talk a lot about provenance, story, and why that stuff matters, or does it matter? Some of it, I think, really becomes trite and just marketing deployment, rather than actual value creation or extension for the drinker. This was not that. Real Minero, even though I’m cynical and I’ve been covering beverage alcohol for more than a decade, I was really impressed with the family members’ evident passion, and frankly, concern for mezcal as a spirit and as an export. You can, and I did, look them up and read about their advocacy around preserving the various agave cultivars that they rely on to make mezcal. That came through a ton, in a way that I feel pretty much every producer is going to pay lip service to, being concerned about the ecology of the cultivars. I was very convinced that they were genuine in their apprehension for it. That very much informed the way we talked about and the way I now think about mezcal as a product. I’m of course not claiming that I’m new, or that I’m hot on the trail of this unknown spirit. Mezcal has been covered well, I think, and continues to be covered well, by folks here at VinePair, and other journalists who are covering the spirit. It’s not that this stuff isn’t known necessarily, but for me, it was a very up close and personal introduction to what I consider to be one of the more interesting spirits out there, and available for American drinkers. That was awesome. We bought a bunch of mezcal to bring back. I think we were just under the legal limit for customs. We now get to sip on that from the little veladoras that we purchased at a market in Oaxaca, that have the little crosses in the bottom of the little shot glasses, and remember what was a pretty singular experience for a pretty singular spirit.
Allie: Hi, I’m Allie Kuklinski, manager of brand partnerships and activations here at VinePair. Definitely a loaded question, the best thing I drank all year. If I had to choose the most memorable sip or experience, I do have one. I visited a few maisons in Reims, France, early this fall, and while Veuve and Pommery Champagne were both great, Maison Ruinart topped them both. Tasting in their beautiful courtyard, I had a vintage rosé Champagne, which was a blend of 40 to 50 crus, that combines the freshness of Chardonnay with the fruitiness of Pinot Noir. It was the most refreshing and in-the-moment experience I had all year. I think what made it really unique as well was that there’s a lot of history there. Ruinart was the first established house of Champaign in 1729, and has been exclusively producing Champagne since then. Overall, would definitely recommend having a crisp glass of rosé Champagne.
Zach: I’m Zach Geballe, and as you all listening no doubt know, I’m the co-host and producer of the “VinePair Podcast.” 2022, another excellent year in drinking for me. Got to take a few trips to Eastern Washington, to Napa Valley. Got to drink, of course, lots of great wines there, and in other places. Some excellent beers, cocktail spirits, even a couple of hard seltzers that weren’t too bad. I think the single most special drinking experience for me this year was getting to share a bottle of 2016 Treveri Cellars Blanc de Blancs with my mom, on the occasion of the Seattle Mariners not just making the playoffs for the first time in over two decades, but actually winning a series, on a thrilling comeback against the Toronto Blue Jays. Sorry, again, Joanna. Cheering for the Mariners is something that’s united my mom and I for decades, from the time I was a kid, through now. Even though, as mentioned, there have been some lean periods in there, it’s something that we’ve always enjoyed, getting to go to the ballparks together, turning on the game, commiserating, all of the things that go along with being a sports fan. It was really magical for me to get to celebrate this moment with my mom with a nice bottle of wine. I think there’s a lot to be said about our custom of celebrating special occasions with sparkling wine. Be they life milestones, promotions, sporting events, getting through a Tuesday, whatever it might be. I certainly hope that there are many more such occasions in my future, especially up ahead in 2023.
Nicolette: Hi, my name is Nicolette Baker. I’m a news writer here at VinePair. It’s difficult to pick a favorite drink out of the year. There’s been so many great ones, but I would have to say my favorite was the frozen Miami Vice from the Long Island Bar. I’m usually not a frozen drinks girl, but the tartness of the cranberry just cuts the Piña Colada so well. It’s an amazing drink.
Rob: I’m Rob Gearity. I’m the senior director of integrated marketing here at VinePair. A unique tasting experience that I got to have this year was actually up in Canada. This October, my partner and I were celebrating our first anniversary. We hadn’t really plotted out what we were going to do. On a whim, we decided that we were going to drive up to Niagara Falls and just experience everything that the border got to offer. We specifically wanted to go to the Canadian side, up in Ontario. Since it was on a whim, we hadn’t really mapped out what we wanted to do or what our trip would look like, apart from the obvious, which was seeing the falls. A friend of mine, about a week earlier, I had been saying that we were considering Canada and mentioned Niagara. She said that there were a lot of great wineries up there. She’d actually gone to a few. We decided to take a look at a few in the area. Much to my surprise, there was an impressive amount of wineries within the driving distance. We took a chance on one, it wasn’t the one that she had mentioned, and decided to check it out. We signed up to do one of their premium tastings. It was going to be three glasses from that list, but what we got was so much more. We got there, we sat down, we had gone on the earlier side ’cause we wanted to start off the day on a high note. Our consultant immediately came over, was super friendly and knowledgeable, led us through the list with ease. Said a lot of people tend to go for one white, one red, and one from their dessert wine section. Since there were two of us, we knew that meant we could multiply our options. We each chose different ones, for our first couple of tastings. Then, as we were talking to her, she started mentioning another white. My partner wanted to go back to the whites, but I was really focused on the dessert wines. Specifically, they had ice wine, which I’d never had the chance to have. They also had this specialty liquor called Vinea, which they made on site, and was this raspberry grape concoction. She equated it to Chambord, but said it wasn’t quite as sweet. I told her I was between both and she said, “Don’t worry about it, I got you, don’t tell anyone,” and came over, poured the Vinea in. Tasted it on its own, it was amazing. As I’m tasting it, she’s telling me all about how this is the favorite thing that she brings to all of her friends’ parties, “It’s so versatile, you have to have it with sparkling wine.” Then she comes over with their sparkling wine and pours that in, and I get to taste it that way, too. Just really getting to taste all the different ways you can use it, it was so good. Then proceeds to also give me the ice wine. I simply have to try it because we’re in Niagara, on the lake. I try that. It was good. I don’t know if I get the hype around ice wine or not, but I’ll never not try something new. As we went on, she tells us that they have some first-growth vintages, that are open, and not everyone gets to try these. She brings those out. At this point, I was like, “How many tastings have we had today?” She was having a great time with us and I think because we went on the earlier side, it allowed her to have more flexibility. We got to try a wide breadth of what they had to offer. When I say wide, they have a lot to offer. It’s called Reif Estate Winery. The founder is German and so comes from that background, a lot of those grapes, but the winemaker that he partnered with has more of an Italian and Spanish background and education. They had everything from Cab Franc to Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc. The amount of different types of grapes that they had on this vineyard was pretty impressive. When all was said and done, we left with three bottles of their wine, plus the Vinea, which we still haven’t opened, because we’re still waiting for that perfect moment to do it and relive that amazing experience up in Canada.
Joanna: This is Joanna Sciarrino, editor in chief of VinePair and co-host of this very “VinePair Podcast.” By now, you all know about the amazing drinks I’ve had this year, and there have been so many, from truly exceptional wines around the world, the Arinto and the Azores, Emidio Pepe Pecorino in Verona, many more, but I think the cocktails, for me, were the real standouts this year. I learned so much on the “Cocktail College” podcast, making stuff at home. The one standout, I think, for me, was the Añejo Old Fashioned that we had at the Hacienda Patrón earlier this year, made by Pepe Guti for us. That was really delicious and I think really unlocked the Old Fashioned for me because that was never a cocktail I loved, but this iteration was just outstanding.
Gabrielle: My name is Gabrielle Johnson. I’m the creative producer at VinePair. I have to say my favorite drink for this year, and one that still sticks out in my mind, after having it this past summer, is the A Martini at Long Island Bar. It’s made with Hepple gin, sake, Lustau White Vermouth, and their house bergamot/pomelo tincture. I just remember the tincture complementing the citrus notes and the gin very nicely, and the sake, to me, added a nice refreshing lift. It’s one that I can’t wait to have again.
Sara: I’m Sara Pinsonault and I’m a designer at VinePair. The best drinking experience I had this year was at my sister’s college graduation from Loyola Maryland in Baltimore. My whole family went to The Bygone, this rooftop restaurant and bar out of the Four Seasons in Baltimore. I had a couple Palomas, and they were fantastic.
Tim: Hello, my name is Tim McKirdy. I am the managing editor at VinePair and the host of the “Cocktail College” podcast. When I look back at this year, I feel very fortunate for all the opportunities I’ve had to travel in pursuit of drinking. That’s taken me to the Seychelles to drink rum, to Canada to drink rye whiskey, and Charleston for the Wine and Food festival, to basically drink everything the city had to offer. Looking at the most memorable experiences, though, we’re heading to a different city, and that would be New Orleans. First up, for me, from there, would be a drink from the Cure Cocktail Bar. It’s called The Drink of Laughter and Forgetting, it was created by Mike Yusko. While I didn’t drink this in New Orleans, it features in the cocktail bar’s book, which was authored by owner Neal Bodenheimer and Emily Timberlake. This cocktail contains Cynar, green Chartreuse, lime juice, rich Demerara simple syrup, and 14 dashes of Angostura Bitters. What I really love about it is the fact that this drink contains no real base spirit, but it remains powerful and bold, and it’s just an incredible mix of unexpected ingredients. The most memorable experience I had, however, was in New Orleans, and is a different one. It was a Martini. I drank this Martini directly after– It had just been announced that VinePair had won the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award for best drinks publication in the world. I was lucky enough to be at the ceremony, and this Martini I had, it definitely wasn’t technically the best of the year. It was served to me in a highball glass with a lemon wedge. This was all they had at that time of the night, but it was just a wonderful experience to celebrate that success of the work of all of our colleagues and wonderful writers that we have here at VinePair. Looking forward to many more experiences like that in 2023.
Jenny: Hi, everyone. My name is Jenny Riddell. I’m the senior director of brand partnerships, activations, and events here at VinePair. Today, I am talking about my favorite drinking experience of the year. This summer, my fiance, my parents, and I drove up to Canada to visit family and friends. Despite my many trips to Canada to see family, I’ve never actually visited Ottawa before. This summer, it was on the list. We went to the rooftop bar in the Fairmont Château Laurier, a historic hotel overlooking the Parliament buildings, and the Ottawa River. This hotel was built in the early 1990s. Celebrities, royalty, and politicians have all stayed there. The view was gorgeous. The cocktails and wines were delicious, and it was the perfect experience combining past and present.
Dario: My name is Dario Foroutan. I’m the social manager here at VinePair. My most memorable drinking experience of 2022 was probably within the last month, month and a half. A wine bar called Sauced, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. It was just an experience that I had never had before, where the wine menu is not really existent. It was more so you explain your current feeling, your vibe, what state of mind you’re in, what you look for in a wine, and what you maybe don’t like in a wine. The kind people there, they help you sort through different bottles, different styles, they talk you through it, and they allow you to try as many wines as it takes, for you to find exactly what you’re looking for. Me and a few friends, we had a long week, we went there as a release. The vibes were great, the music was great, a big space in the back, but the interior was pretty cozy. When you ordered your wine, you were just able to really understand why this wine was assigned to you, almost. We fell in love with a– I believe it was a white wine, but it was more so of an orange of what we’ve come to understand today. It burst with very citrusy, bright, honey, pineapple notes, something that you might enjoy when the weather is warmer, but it really didn’t matter. We sat in the cold, on the patio, with this bottle, we ordered another, and it was fantastic. It was a night where all of the stresses of the week faded away into that experience and into that bottle. The bar is Sauced, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
Olivia: All right. My name is Olivia White and I am an editorial assistant here at VinePair. One of the coolest drinking experiences I had in the past year was probably in November, in San Diego. Had the privilege of spending Thanksgiving out there in the sunshine and went to a bunch of breweries out there. There was one called Pure Brewing in North Park. The space itself was fantastic, and they had a really extensive beer list, one of them with a beer that I’d never even seen before. They called it Smoothie Beer. It was a blueberry smoothie beer, and obviously, I had to try it. I got a flight. I’m usually a stout person, and it was the first time I had branched too far away from that and really, really, really enjoyed everything. It was about 6% alcohol and tasted like a blueberry smoothie. It was really fantastic. I was talking to the guy behind the bar about the beer itself. They actually circulate about every four or five weeks, between the kinds of smoothie beers that they have on tap there. Now they’re featuring a– I think he said it was an orange cream smoothie beer. That sounds great. I’ll have to go back and try that at a later date. The texture was really interesting. It was unlike anything I would’ve expected to find on a draft list, at a brewery like this, and found it really unique, really incredible. I can’t think of any other brewery that’s doing anything like it. Definitely really cool and something to keep your eye on. If you’re in the San Diego area, I would really highly recommend going and checking it out.
Bobbie: Hi, so my name is Bobbie Thorn and I’m an account manager on the brand partnerships team at VinePair. This year, we took a trip to California in the early fall and we drove down the coast of Big Sur. We stayed in these little yurts, in this glamping resort called Treebones. On the property, they have this sushi bar called Wild Coast, that has some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever tasted. They do a 10-to-12-course omakase dinner, and for a set price you can do this beverage pairing. They have this really great variety of Champagne and sakes. It was really one of the best drinking and dining experiences I’ve had in a while.
Katie: I’m Katie, I’m the editor here at VinePair. Two drinking experiences stood out to me this year. The first was– I got to visit Napa for the very first time with my family and we had a chance to visit Chateau Montelena. Beautiful property, and amazing wines. The combination was pretty unforgettable. The other thing was– I got to discover that Coronitas exist. When I was at the beach, I actually got to finish my beers before they got hot, because I’m a slow drinker. Those were very exciting for me.
Adam: Hey everybody, it’s Adam Teeter here, co-founder and CEO of VinePair, and one of the hosts of the “VinePair Podcast.” You guys all know me pretty well, I know that I loved to share all the things that I drank this year, and got to have a lot of really delicious stuff. I had really amazing travels, went to the Hacienda Patron, was able to travel to California a few times, and sampled some amazing wineries. Chateau Montelena’s big birthday party, where I got to have some of their amazing wines again. Went to Italy with my wife and had incredible wines together, whether it was Girolamo Russo, or amazing Barolos, great Chiantis. Just had some really delicious stuff this year, but two things stand out the most to me, both for specific reasons. One would be the ridiculous magnums of Champagne I had on my birthday party, my fried chicken magnum birthday party, which was just too epic to even to go into, and magnums of other wines. We talked about that. Then the other thing would be the cocktails I had this year at the Sunken Harbor Club, and they’re special for a reason. It’s because it was the cocktails that I had with my wife on our anniversary. They were some of the last cocktails we had together because I’m expecting my first child in the new year. It was some of the last cocktails I had with my wife. I’m looking forward to her being my drinking buddy again when this is all over in April and we are welcoming a healthy child into our family. It’s been a long journey for us, but I’m really excited about everything that is to come, the cocktails we will drink, and wine, and beer we’ll drink in the future. Happy holidays. Well, that was awesome.
Z: You’re just saying that because yours went last.
A: Well, yes.
Z: You got to close with– It’s like the anchor leg of a relay. We know who can bring it home.
J: We drank a lot this year.
A: We did drink a lot this year. We had a lot of fun.
J: That means you should trust us, right, everybody?
A: Yes, for sure. For sure. I just wanted to say to everyone who listens to the podcast, thank you so much for listening every single week, to both Monday and Friday, for reaching out to us with your thoughts with how much you love the podcast, with ideas for new episodes, for telling your friends and family, and just strangers, even, about it. It really helps people continue to discover the show and has caused us to grow every single year, making us one of the top drink drinks podcasts in America, which we really appreciate.
J: We’re very grateful for you.
A: Very grateful. Thank you again, so much, for listening. I hope that each and every one of you have an incredible new year. Lots of fun. Hopefully, you’re popping great bottles. As we said, there’s no point in saving bottles.
A: Drink them. We will see you in 2023. Joanna, Zach, Happy New Year.
J: Happy New Year.
Thanks so much for listening to the VinePair podcast, the flagship podcast of the VinePair Podcast Network. If you love listening to this show, or even if you don’t, but I really hope that you do, as much as we really do love making it, then please drop us a review or a rating, wherever it is that you get your podcast. Whether that be iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, anywhere. If you are listening to this on a device right now, through an app, however you got this audio, please drop a review. It really helps everyone else discover the show.
Now, for some totally awesome credits. The VinePair Podcast is recorded in our New York City headquarters, and in Seattle, Washington, in Zach Geballe’s basement. It is recorded by Zach, mastered, and produced by Zach. He loves all the credit. Keep giving it to him. Drop his name in the reviews. He’s going to love hearing how much you love him. It is also recorded in New York City, by our tastings director Keith Beavers, who is the managing director of the entire VinePair Podcast Network.
I’d also love to give a shout-out to our editor-in-chief, Joanna Sciarrino, who joins us on every single podcast as our third and most important host. Thank you as well to the entire VinePair staff, and everyone who’s been involved in making VinePair as special as it’s become. Thanks again for listening. We’ll see you next week.