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I Made a New Cocktail Every Day of January (#NewYearNewBarCart)

If you have turned down drinks because they sound gross, this article is for you. Hello, I am the girl who never ordered a cocktail if it wasn't gin or vodka based. On a date, a guy very sweetly offered me a sip of his old-fashioned to try and I declined without a second thought. I am an adventurous person, but not with alcohol. So I decided to make a different cocktail every day of January 2021 (using 11 liquors new to me) to see what would happen.

The Inspiration

My booze palette has never been great, as I learned to drink either not at all or to shotgun crappy vodka like my life depended on it. And this lack of education meant I never ventured out of the safety of Moscow Mules and vodka crans, fearing I'd spend $7 on a drink I wouldn't like. So when my best friend bought me a cocktail book for Christmas ('Bubbly' by Colleen Jeffers) I knew 1) they look so yummy, I want to try every recipe and 2) I needed to fix my hangups with booze. And since the drinks are all champagne-based, I knew it would make even the liquors I hated tasted a bit better. I flipped through the book and found 31 recipes I liked, made a spreadsheet of ingredients, and got to work!

The Experience

I have done a lot of social experiments in my life, but this one took the cake for most fun. I had the best (and worst) drinks ever. I rated each drink on a scale of 1-5; 1 being this is grosser than dog poop and 5 being I want to fill a bathtub with this cocktail. You can see all of the drinks and ratings on my Instagram:

So yes, for an entire month I planned my day around making a cocktail. From choosing what I wanted to drink to doing the prep work - then rearranging my apartment to get the perfect shot - it was a commitment. Especially the day I had to finish work early so I could get a shot of my drink in the fresh snow. I loved every moment of it, as it fulfilled the foodie and creative parts of me. I'm no food stylist, but my Instagram was mouthwatering.

Did my palette expand? Kind of. I still hate rum (no surprise) but have come around to some other dark liquors. One of my favourites has scotch in it! I think the overall lesson I learned is that it's not so much about the base liquor as it is the other ingredients. Any bitter is not my friend, but anything grapefruit is. Now when I go on dates and the guy offers me his drink, I probably will take a sip out of curiosity.

Although the pandemic needs to end first because ew, germs.

The Benefits

The process of making a cocktail is fun (shake, shake, shake) and there was an unprecedented social aspect I never expected in a pandemic. Yes, I was doing this in a pandemic and never felt more social! Almost every day my Instagram was filled with messages from followers with comments and questions about my drink of the day. Would you recommend? Have you tried this drink? Can you send me the recipe? I was connecting with people I hadn't talked to in years who were suddenly having days-long conversations with me. It was so cool!

I also expanded my bartending skills...and my barware. What can I say? I haven't met a champagne coupe or mixing glass I didn't fall in love with. Particular favourites of my collection are these Anthropologie coupe glasses, pressed glass highballs from Cost Plus World Market, and all of my gorgeous glassware I've picked up from thrift shops over the years. If you want unique, special pieces for killer prices, I recommend hitting thrift shops first. I have German Crate & Barrel gold-rimmed cocktail glasses I got for $3 a piece.

What started as a way for me to expand my palette (a.k.a. learn to drink like I wasn't at a kegger) turned into me finding joy in something unexpected. The ritual of a cocktail every evening was very soothing, and something I look forward to. And the social connection was everything I needed after a year of living alone in a pandemic. Since challenging myself, I'm now hosting two different Zoom cocktail events in the coming months. Who am I? The booziest bougie potato.

This experience was so fun and a great way to step outside of my comfort zone. I don't think I'm a "cocktail every night" kind of gal, but I love that I now have the skills to make a special drink when I feel like it.

Top 5 Drinks

Here are the drinks that absolutely rocked my world! 10/10 would recommend to everyone, and they are now part of my regular rotation. Always use fresh citrus juice!

All recipes can be found in Colleen Jeffers 'Bubbly'

Paloma Punch {tequila ● grapefruit ● lime ● simple syrup}

Vermouth Spritz {aromatic herb ● lemon twist ● chilled vermouth ● champagne}

Elderflower Grapefruit Mimosa {grapefruit ● elderflower liqueur ● angostura bitters ● champagne}

Margarita Fizz {blanco tequila ● orange liqueur ● lime ● simple syrup ● champagne}

Rosemary Maple Bellini {rosemary ● peach juice ● lemon ● maple syrup ● prosecco}

Happy drinking!

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