At the start of each new year I assess my calendar, noting not only deadlines and appointments, but upcoming trips—to nearby cities, or clear across the country, and sometimes to places on the other side of the world. Because while I love the familiarity of things close to home—the tea shop where I work some mornings, the beer store with its bar where I’ll send the day’s last emails over a pint, the cocktail bars that brighten evenings out—I also look forward to regular changes of scenery, whether it’s a burgeoning new drinks destination in an unexpected location or a café or bar that promises to become a new favorite in a long-familiar city.
Imbibe’s editorial team spends a lot of time on the road each year, in preparation for our annual Imbibe 75 issue. This year’s Imbibe 75 is the culmination of a year’s worth of travel, and we’ve got plenty of new people, places and flavors joining our old favorites, in cities large and small. Some of our picks are from unexpected places—our Beer Bar of the Year, Tulsa’s Prairie Brewpub, and our Coffee Bar of the Year, Methodical Coffee in Greenville, South Carolina, are putting these smaller cities on the map for traveling imbibers. But places like Brooklyn and New Orleans are on our long list of second homes, with our Cocktail Bar of the Year, Grand Army, and Wine Bar of the Year, N7, reminding us why we keep coming back to these cities so often.
We’ve also got plenty of fresh faces on our People to Watch list, who we’ve been thrilled to discover during our travels— from juicemaker Dana Sicko to winemaker (and filmmaker) Bertony Faustin, as well as our Tea Person of the Year, Erica Swanson. And we’ll always book a plane ticket to see what some long-established professionals are up to, including brewer Mitch Steele, our Beer Person of the Year, who’s making the cross-country migration from San Diego to Atlanta; Jill Bernheimer, our Wine Person of the Year, at her venerated shop Domaine LA in Los Angeles; and Stephen Liles, our Bartender of the Year, beloved by his regulars (and regular visitors) at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco.
We’ve also flagged a few destinations that should be on your itinerary in 2017, such as the emerging drinks scenes in Northwest Arkansas and Omaha, as well as overseas stops including Edinburgh, Scotland and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. And since we’re feeling the travel itch, keep an eye out as we increasingly go global over the course of the year, visiting cities around the world in pursuit of outstanding drinks culture.
Pick up a print issue to see the complete lists in each category and in the meantime, here are some extra treats to keep your thirst momentarily sated.