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The Best of Eater Drinks: Top Stories on Wine, Whiskey, and More

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Catch up on the year's cocktail and caffeine trends

A cocktail at Leyanda in NYC.
A cocktail at Leyanda in NYC.
Nick Solares

Eater's drinks site launched this March, helmed by editor Kat Odell and focusing its stories on the world of spirits, wine, beer, coffee, and tea. Since its inception, Eater Drinks has published everything from whiskey guides and wine advice columns to explainers on the year's hottest trends — bone broth, matcha, and more. Here, 12 of the top stories from 2015.

Vintage Soda Brand 'Original New York Seltzer' Is Making a Comeback
Defunct retro soda company 'Original New York Seltzer' rallies to conquer carbonated drinks
Sarah Baird

"Original New York Seltzer—the 1980s classic soft drink that was a favorite of Rambo actor Sly Stallone—is making a triumphant return after a two decade absence. For first time drinkers—who perhaps grew up faraway from the imagined glamour of Manhattan—it’s a welcome remembrance of a time when a cartoon skyline and art deco fonts captivated with big city allure. For original drinkers? It’s a top-to-bottom Proustian glug of the past with glimpse at a bottle."

The 10 Best Affordable Whiskeys Under $35
The best whiskey for your buck
Jake Emen

"Older doesn't always mean better for whiskey, and neither does more expensive. Phenomenal whiskey deals can be found for those looking to spend wisely by shopping the opposite side of the "Pappy" spectrum. While the availability of wonderful whiskey really explodes at the $40-$45 range, herein we're digging deeper to find the top 10 best whiskeys under $35."

Also: An Absurdly Complete Guide to Understanding Whiskey | A Comprehensive Beginner's Guide to Whiskey

Ciders. [Alex Ulreich]

Taste Test: 20 of America's Best Artisanal (Alcoholic) Ciders
Cider is in. And these are the bottles to try.
Kat Odell

"The truth of the matter is: Farmers have been fermenting apples forever. And while certain countries (France, Spain, England) long ago adopted alcoholic apple cider as a cultural standby, the U.S. is only now catching up."

What Exactly Is Matcha and Why Is Everyone Talking About It?
Everything you need to know about matcha
Kathy YL Chan

"Meet matcha, the current darling of the tea world. This finely milled green tea powder — the staple ingredient upon which traditional Japanese tea ceremonies were built in the 12th century — has seen a surge in popularity recently thanks to its visual appeal, purportedhealth benefits, and beautiful, distinct flavor. Matcha is essentially processed green tea leaves that have been stone-ground into a delicate powder. The powder is then sifted and whisked with hot water. Because of the laborious process required to produce matcha, the tea is generally pricier than others."

Gadget Review: Six of the Best Hand Coffee Grinders
Who makes the best coffee hand grinder?
Matthew Kang

"Specialty coffee has a huge problem. It's not nearly as usable and immediately enjoyable as other beverages like wine, beer, and even tea thanks to coffee's two step process. Beans must first be ground and then brewed. Pop a cork, twist a cap, crack open a beer, throw tea leaves into a gaiwan — you're ready to drink. While grinding beans has been around since the mortar and pestle, many coffee drinkers have been loathe to purchase quality home grinders because of their relatively high cost."

Also: The One Device Coffee Experts Swear By

Kava Sutra. [Nick Solares]

Meet Kava Tea, a Prescription-Free Alternative to Xanax
Should it be legal?
Marguerite Preston

"For centuries, Pacific Islanders have been drinking kava, a physioactive "tea" of sorts made from the root of a plant in the pepper family. A variety of kava species grow across the islands, some more potent than others. But their basic effect, when ground and mixed with water, is the same: to relax you."

Bone Broth Isn't Going Anywhere
The newest beverage trend is heating up
Daniela Galarza

"Brodo, bone broth, stock, bouillon, consommé — what's the difference? Most people shrug and say they're all the same thing. But look closer and differences arise. Here's what you need to know about the hottest new health trend."

10 Ways to Tell if Your Sommelier Really Knows Wine
How to spot a very good sommelier
Levi Dalton

"Sommeliers are now regular fixtures in many restaurants, but how can one determine if their suggestions are worth trusting? It turns out that you don't have to know a lot about wine to judge a sommelier's skills. To evaluate the value of the advice they're proving, keep in mind the 10 points mentioned below."

The expat cocktail at Little Branch. [Nick Solares]

Nine Cocktails That Should Be Considered 'Modern Classics'
File these cocktails as contemporary classics
Erick Castro

"Despite the odds, many cocktails of the modern era have managed to attain the classic title. Drinks such as the bramble are made in bars around the world, and are so common that many imbibers mistake them for relics of a past age. But every year, countless creations put together by talented bartenders are lost in the annals of time. Too often these libations are interesting, but do not quite have what it takes to break through the endless barrage of new fads and trends.

These nine cocktails — mostly under-the-radar — deserve the title of modern classics. Some are well-known regionally, while others have caught on only within small circles. Regardless, every bartender should consider adding these drinks to their repertoire, and every cocktail aficionado would be wise to give each a try."

Three Non-Alcoholic Beers You'll Actually Want to Drink
Is decaf coffee really coffee? Is non-alcoholic beer really beer? Yes and yes.
Christina Perozzi

"Many people view beer without alcohol as some kind of unnatural beer imitation, a product that must be chock-full of added artificial flavors. The truth is that non-alcoholic beer actually starts out as normal beer. A brewer mashes malt and boils it with hops and then the beer goes through a fermentation process, which creates alcohol and carbon dioxide. At this point, a brewer would bottle the beer if it's going to be alcoholic. But if the brew is non-alcoholic, it must undergo another step."

What Is Nitro Coffee?
Why are coffee geeks nerding out over nitro coffee?
Leif Haven

"In the last year, nitro coffee has insinuated its foamy tentacles into the world of specialty coffee thanks to its smooth, creamy taste and fizzy beer-esque look. But this isn’t just a $5 glass of morning beer—it’s a completely new coffee experience."

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