Drinking Resolutions For The New Year

With New Year’s Eve almost here it’s time to start thinking about resolutions. If you need to get in shape, obviously the gym will be on your mind. Other common resolutions involve trying something new and doing the unexpected — which is exactly what this list is about. It’s easy to get comfortable drinking what you love, and while you should always have some old reliables, stepping out of your drinking comfort zone will bring delicious rewards. Here are 34 fun drinking resolutions for 2015 that should help make for a great year.

 

Pick a new wine grape to try every month of the year.

Expand your wine drinking horizons by trying a new wine grape (variety) every month. By the end of the year you might just have some new favorites.

 

ABC Drinker? Give California Chardonnay another chance.

The California Chardonnay “Butter Bombs” you hated have fallen out of fashion. There are certainly still many out there, but you should have no problem finding a California Chardonnay you love. Especially if you seek out ones that are unoaked.

 

Put together a solid home bar.

Gathering a handful of essential spirits and mixers will allow you to make a ton of cocktails at home. Serious Eats has a helpful guide!

 

Drink dry white Bordeaux.

While many people are familiar with Bordeaux’s famous red wines, and its sweet white Sauternes, the dry whites coming out of the region are amazingly affordable — and delicious.

 

Bordeaux Red Wines

Go back to Bordeaux’s reds.

It’s trendy to hate on Bordeaux’s classified wines, but prices are slowly coming back down to reality, even among the First Growths. You can also find incredible values among the Cru Bourgeois.
 

Buy a Pulltap’s Double-Hinged Waiters Corkscrew.

Once you’ve tried this slim, elegant double-hinged corkscrew you’ll silently snicker at friends with large elaborate devices.

 

Drink all of the wines made by a winemaker/producer that you love.

Pick a wine that you love and then seek out all the other wines made by that producer. You’ll drink wine you love and you’ll learn (with your taste buds) a lot about the collaborative effort of a winemaker and Mother Nature.

 

Buy a case of an age-worthy/ageable wine that you love and age them.

Try a bottle every year to see how it evolves. It’s fascinating to see how a wine can change — and hopefully improve — over time.

 

Hofbrauhaus
Exterior view of Hofbrauhaus in Munch via Bokic Bojan / Shutterstock.com

Head to the mecca of your favorite drink.

Take a drinking vacation you’ll never forget. Love Scotch? Head to Scotland. Beer? Stamp your passport in Germany. With wine you could of course head to France; if another country’s wines are your favorites, head there instead.

 

Find a great local wine shop where the staff are friendly and helpful.

No other person can help you discover amazing new wines as well as a trusted shop owner/staffer.

 

Ask that wine shop you trust for the best example of a wine style you love at the upper limit of your budget.

You’ll see if the price is truly worth it, and hopefully have a drinking experience you’ll never forget. You may spend less than you expect if the shop staff are the kind of folks who go out of their way to find the best value, instead of just hitting your budget.

 

Find a sparkling wine you love other than Champagne.

We love a good glass of Champagne, but as everyone knows, Champagne can be quite expensive. France, Italy and Spain — and many other other countries — produce amazing sparkling wines that don’t carry the name Champagne. We’ve got some suggestions if you’re ready to expand your horizons.

 

Try a highly recommended wine made from a grape you ‘hate’ and see if you really hate it or just had some lousy wine.

While you might truly just hate that wine variety/blend, get a recommendation on a good bottle and see if you’ve actually been depriving yourself of a whole lot of wine.

 

Nightlife in Shinjuku, Tokyo
Nightlife in Shinjuku, Tokyo via Perati Komson / Shutterstock.com

Try Japanese Whiskey.

Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible 2015 shocked whiskey drinkers everywhere by naming the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013 the “World Whiskey of the Year.” Whether it’s that bottle or another great Japanese Whiskey, give Japan’s interpretation of this spirit a try.

 

Start a wine club with your friends.

One of the best ways to learn about wine is to drink with your friends. A wine club is a great way to make sure that happens on a regular basis. A wine and book club also works, as does a wine and cheese club.

 

Use an app like Delectable to track everything you drink this year.

There’s no better way to learn about your wine drinking preferences than keeping track of everything you drink. Jotting down everything you drink can be a real pain, but label-scanning apps like Delectable make that a chore a breeze.

 

Read a great book about wine.

There’s no better excuse to relax on the couch with a glass of wine in hand than reading a book about wine. We’ve got a few suggestions.

 

Really learn about a region you love.

Geek out like crazy on a wine region you know you love. You’ll probably have a long list of wines to try when you’re done.

 

Learn How To Make Craft Cocktails

Learn how to make that absurdly expensive cocktail you love.

We love hand-crafted cocktails made by expert bartenders, but prices at cocktail bars have been known to get out of hand. It’s fairly easy to find a recipe for that cocktail you love by simply googling it; once you’ve got the recipe, put your new home bar to use by making the cocktail yourself.

  

See why Portugal’s red wines are worth finding.

Portugal’s wines can be confusing to the uninitiated with their odd names, but with a little research (which we’ve already done for you) you can find some really great wines that many people expect to grow in popularity in the U.S.

 

If Rioja is the only Spanish wine you drink, try these five.

Spanish wine to many people begins and ends with Rioja. If that sounds like you, do yourself a favor and try some of Spain’s other delicious varieties. We’ve put together a list of five to help you start your Spanish drinking adventure.

 

If you love oysters, make it your mission to eat a platter of them with a bottle of Muscadet.

Muscadet, a French white wine, is often confused with Muscat. The grapes are nothing alike. Muscadet is a delicious dry wine that is heaven when paired with oysters.

 

If you don’t drink Riesling because it’s too sweet, give it another chance.

All Riesling is not sweet. If you’ve sworn it off, find a good dry bottle from Germany or Austria and see why so many wine geeks, writers, and sommeliers are utterly obsessed with Riesling.

 

A Flight Of Craft Beer

Try all of your local craft beers.

Depending on where you live this might mean from your city, the metro area, or the entire state. Whatever ‘local’ means near you, explore all of those beers, preferably at the breweries where you can take a tour and meet the folks who brew them.

 

Find the wines you drank in college — assuming they weren’t absolutely terrible — and see if you still enjoy them.

If you swore off the first wines you drank as something you drank only because you were a broke college student, see if that’s truly the case. If not, you’ve just rediscovered some cheap wine to love.

 

Buy a really good rum, pour it neat, and see how good a ‘sipping rum’ can be.

The only time most people drink rum is in a cocktail or a simple mixed drink like a Rum & Coke. Aged rums, particularly those made using the solera process, are great to drink on their own. Pour a good rum in a glass like a cognac snifter, or even a wine glass, sniff, sip, and enjoy.

 

Try wines from America’s up-and-coming regions.

Wine in the United States for many means California with a bit of Pinot Noir from Oregon and perhaps bottles from Washington. There are over 9,000 wineries in America, and thousands of them are in states like New York, Virginia, Texas and New Jersey. The wines coming out of these states are improving rapidly in quality and are worth your attention.

 

Try Argentina’s other red grape, Bonarda.

Argentina makes more than Malbec — really! Bonarda is the country’s 2nd most planted grape, and while it’s typically blended into wines labeled Malbec, it is possible to get bottles of Bonarda. If you like deep, dark fruit flavored wines you’ll enjoy Bonarda.

 

Mount Etna In Sicily
Mount Etna In Sicily

See why Sicilian red wines grown on the slopes of Mt. Etna are amazing.

Sicilian wines have been growing in popularity as the region modernizes. If you haven’t tried the island’s varieties like Nero d’Avola, Frappato, and Nerello Mascalese get some at your local wine shop, or even better at your favorite Italian restaurant.

 

If you like Guinness but don’t love the heaviness try Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

It’s Guinness but it’s leaner and it’s even got a little hoppy spiciness to it, making it perfect for days when a creamy glass of Guinness won’t do.

 

Drink lots of Vinho Verde this summer.

Vinho Verde, Portugal’s ridiculously cheap white wine (you’d be hard-pressed to spend more than $10 on a good bottle) is a perfect summer afternoon sipper. The young wine is light, slightly fizzy, and low in alcohol.

 

If you like Sauvignon Blanc go back to the source — Sancerre.

Sancerre has a reputation as the default, ‘basic’ white wine ordered at restaurants, which isn’t fair. If you avoid Sancerre for that reason when looking for crisp white wines on a restaurant’s wine list — don’t. It’s crazy not to order wine just because the waiter might judge you. For the record, the one who deserves judging in that situation is the waiter.

 

If you love Malbec try the original version.

Malbec was born in France, though it’s not grown there much anymore. Cahors is known for its Malbecs, and a bottle from there is absolutely worth a try.

 

Try wines from Eastern European countries like Hungary, Georgia, Romania, and Moldova.

They are among the world’s largest and oldest producers of wine and while typically difficult to find, they’re wines you owe it to yourself to try.

Images via Shutterstock.com