Gustavo's Top 5 Drinks of 2012!

So this isn't Homer drinking, but I will NEVER tire of this image!
Although we've been boozehounds here at SaFII since forever, 2012 was the year where we really took off and became full-fledged drinkers. Not only did we hold an epic Happy Hour with KCRW and the OC Bartender's Cabinet (and stand by for the next one...) but we began reporting on alcohol as its own serious subject worthy of admiration.

As a result, we drank. A lot. Especially me. Right now on my desk, I have two bottles of bourbon, five bottles of tequila, a bottle of gin, and a tall boy of Fernet Branca--and this doesn't count the Weekly's official booze table or my own private stash. They are all bottles for consideration, or bottles I received as Christmas presents, or bottles I bought meself--mucho drinking ahead for 2013! But here are my top 5 picks for 2012.

5. Death's Door Gin

As I explained in my original review, I'm not a gin man--that would be my best friend Art, who drinks so much that his liver is now British. But of all the spirits I reviewed this year, Death's Door Gin was the best: not just a great gin but spectacular, so florid and nuanced that it can turn anyone into a gin man--but only this one. Man, the Negroni that Death's Door can make... Available at Hi-Time Wine Cellars, 250 Ogle St., Costa Mesa, (949) 650-8463;

4. Widow's Kiss at Broadway by Amar Santana

Thumbnail image for broadway-widowskiss.JPG
Photo by Das Ubergeek

This one is currently off the menu, as head bartender Gabrielle Dion is on maternity leave (congrats, Gabby!), but it's a stunner: Calvados, Benedictine, yellow Chartreuse, bitters, and an orange rind. As Dave wrote, "Any of those three would be a flavor punch upside the head, meant to be drunk as digestifs, helping a stereotypically huge and rich French dinner down, but together they complemented each other well. The reaction from other patrons at the bar was immediate; after I let people take a straw's worth of the cocktail, at least one other order for a Widow's Kiss went in." 

I was there. And I concur. 328 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, (949) 715-8234;

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