It is an era of abundance for the liquor lover. And this year, in particular, exemplifies that excess.

Whether you prefer your spirits neat, on the rocks, or in cocktail form; brown, burgundy, or clear; costing less than a decent hamburger or more than the latest iPhone, 2019 brought with it plenty of products to suit your home bar. IWSR Drinks Market Analysis forecasts that the volume of high-end spirits ($30 or more per bottle) in the U.S. will grow to more than 30 million cases by 2023, an almost 30% increase from 2018, with an expected value of $16.3 billion.

While whiskies and cognacs continue to crowd the top shelf, underdog categories such as genever, brandy, and shochu are slowly percolating into the premium space. I tasted exactly 317 spirits this year across a dozen categories. And I’ve spent the past 30 days poring over notes to cull the cream from the crop. Here are the ones that are truly worth it.

New Cocktail Standards 

From an assertive base to stylish modifier, these are liquids that will help you build a bold, complex cocktail.

Harnessing a recipe developed by a trio of world-renowned bartenders (Leo Robitschek, Jeffrey Morgenthaler, and the late Gary Regan), the debut label out of Vale Fox is purpose-built for mixing in cocktails. In addition to the standard botanicals—juniper, coriander, angelica—the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., distillery macerates makrut lime and rooibos red tea into a wheat distillate. The result is a soft spirit with a soothing, citrus aroma and a punchy Far East spiciness that sets it apart from your standard drys. $40

Bobby’s Schiedam jenever

Genever, commonly regarded as the Dutch precursor to gin (and spelled with a “j” there), is actually a complex category that more accurately straddles the divide between gin and whiskey—with the botanical familiarity of the former and the rich and rounded mouthfeel of the latter. And in 2019 it’s finally gaining a global foothold, with offerings such as Bobby’s as a big reason why. Here a velvety malt base is studded with juniper, lemongrass, and cardamom. Mix it equally with vermouth and Campari, and you have a drink that splits the difference between a Negroni and a Manhattan. $35

Dorda coconut liqueur 

Don’t judge a booze by its bottle (or the Malibu memories of your youth). This decadent liqueur doesn’t look lavish from its exterior, but inside is a core of Chopin rye vodka layered with natural coconut flakes and cream. A boozy milkshake pours golden white into the glass, radiating pleasing pineapple notes atop ice cubes. Nothing else is needed to make it shine. But if you want to enliven your after-dinner coffee with tropical flourishes, look no further. $25

Campari Cask Tales

The classic Italian aperitif has joined the cask-aging trend with this bourbon-barrel-finished variation, rested six months on average. Color and aroma remain indistinguishable from the original, but once it hits your palate—woah! A compelling oak-addled finish comes out of nowhere and startles your senses with robust vanilla tonalities. Sub it in for the standard Campari in your next boulevardier, and you’ll enjoy the darkened complexities familiar to a cask-aged cocktail. $70

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