Old-School Spirits Enjoy a Youthful Revival
Around the world, once-obscure, old-fashioned spirits are enjoying a youthful revival.
Japanese Whisky: Bartenders everywhere are embracing this lighter, sweeter alternative to scotch, be it single malt (Suntory Yamazaki 12-year) or blend (Hibiki 17-year). At Tokyo’s Bar High Five, it’s poured over an ice “diamond” hand-carved from a huge block.
Fernet-Branca: A shot of this bracingly bitter amaro—made in Italy from botanicals such as saffron, chamomile, and myrrh—is known among insiders as the “bartender’s handshake.” Argentines are obsessed, and mix it with Coke; try it at the venerable Gran Bar Danzón, in Buenos Aires.
Cachaça: The sugarcane-juice-based Brazilian spirit has shifted from poor-man’s rotgut to premium product, whether sipped neat or muddled with lime and sugar into a caipirinha. Beloved São Paulo restaurant Mocotó pours hundreds of brands.
Raki: Turkey’s signature drink is a twice-distilled, anise-flavored spirit derived from grapes, raisins, and sometimes figs. At restaurants such as Kiyi, Istanbullus drink it with bountiful spreads of hot and cold meze.
Ancho Reyes: The dried poblano chiles beloved in Puebla, Mexico, give a vegetal bite to this spicy elixir. Try it at San Francisco’s Trick Dog, where it’s added to mezcal, cucumber, and pineapple to make the Lombard Street.