Best of CH 2012: Booze + Snacks

Futuristic food cells, yerba matte beer and a 50-year-old whiskey in our look back at the year in food and drink

We ate and drank the best of 2012 and plan to do the same in 2013. This is the heyday of the gourmand, with everyone everywhere experimenting with ingredients and looking to explore the final reaches of the food-obsessed revolution. Below you’ll find pairings of our favorite food and drink from the past 12 months. Here’s to a fat and happy New Year.

Reyka + Wikicells

A glass of Reyka Vodka and a teardrop-shaped Wikicell is how we picture the standard tapas order of 2060. Reyka achieves its signature clear flavor from a filtration process that involves volcanic icelandic rocks. Wikicells was developed it the intent of creating a self-packaged foodstuff, and the curious looking treats are available at the Lab Store in Paris. Together, they’re a match made in futuristic heaven.

The Balvenie 50-Year-Old + Rau Om

If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a dram of The Balvenie 50 Year Old, you’ll want something to bring out the pristine orchestra of flavors. Made from miso-cured tofu, think of Rau Om as a fine vegan cheese to accompany your drink of choice.

Cervejaria Dado Bier + Gordy’s Pickles

Brazilian beer Ilex from Cervejaria Dado Bier incorporates yerba matte in the brewing process—an odd addition, but one that makes for an unparalleled taste experience. While drinking, keep yourself grounded with a classic pickle spear from Gordy’s.

Root Liquor + Lakrids

The earthiness of anise is ripe for sweetness, which explains why we’re such fans of Root Liquor. The booze may be 80 proof, but it drinks like a low-proof liqueur with notes of anise, birch bark, cloves, spearmint and cardamom. Flavor-wise, it’s a grown up version of licorice, of which our favorite comes from the Danish brand Lakrids.

Monkey Shoulder Whisky + Dandelion Chocolate

The ultra-smooth, honest taste of Monkey Shoulder Whisky benefits from a bite of chocolate now and then—in this case, from San Francisco’s bean-to-bar outfit Dandelion Chocolate.

Innis & Gunn + Mustard Soft Pretzels

Beer and pretzels is a classic combination that isn’t going anywhere, at least not if we have anything to do with it. Innis & Gunn is a Scottish stout that is aged in Irish whiskey barrels, giving it a distinctive smokiness that is hard to find in the beer world. Pair it with this recipe for homemade pretzels from “Salty Snacks” and ring in the New Year with a salty, smoky bang.