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Cheers to a year of imbibing well. These are the VanMag editors' favourite sips from 2022.
It’s the time of year for eating, drinking and being merry—so there’s no better time to raise a glass to, well, raising a glass. From catch-you-in-your-tracks bottles of Okanagan wine to the cocktails we can’t stop thinking about, these are the drinks that have our editors dreaming of another round.
I am not normally a “remember what kind of wine I drank” kind of gal. That’s not to say I overdo it (well, not usually), but rather that I live in the moment and am typically just as enthusiastic about the environment and the company or the meal on the table as I am about the particulars of what’s in my glass. But I had a B.C. wine at Agrius in Victoria that so blew me away that, for the first time in my life, I actually trekked to a specific liquor store stockist to track it down. It was the Celery Diversion from Okanagan Falls-winery Rigour and Whismy, and to just smell this wine fills me with joy: the amber-hued Sav Blanc has a slight funk, a slight briney-ness, somehow bright and earthy and complex in a way that knocked my socks off. Could it ultimately be that the name of the winery (the two qualities I strive to embody in my own life) just delighted me so that I couldn’t help but remember the experience? Whether I’m a sucker for marketing or not, I think this remains a worthwhile diversion indeed. —Stacey McLachlan, editor at large
This was 100 percent my drink of Summer 2022—when they weren’t sold out at my local liquor store, that is. I find the RTD category very hit and miss, but if you’re beach-bound and gluten-intolerant like I am (oh, how I miss you beer), a canned cocktail is ideal. The problem? Most of them are either overly sweet or, as I heard someone describe them, like television static while a fruit shouts at you from another room. Olé Cocktails has mastered the not-too-sweet, super refreshing, excellently balanced summer drink in a can with their margarita (and if I could find their Mango Chili variety, I’m guessing that would nail it too). And while it was technically my drink of the summer, it’s happily found its way into my winter rotation too (thanks Fountainhead, for keeping it on the menu!). —Anicka Quin, editorial director
I feel like everyone has an assigned role in this post: Stacey’s the quirky one, Anicka the practical adventurer, Alyssa’s is level-headed and I’m the bourgeoisie revelling in waves of excess. To combat these harmful stereotypes, I’m choosing an $11,000 bottle of whisky. And to be clear, I didn’t know it was $11,000 at the time. All I knew is that I was in Scotland with my extended family to celebrate my eldest daughter’s graduation and we spent a day in Speyside with some of the legends. They were all great, but it was at Glenfarclas, defiantly still family-owned in a sea of corporate behemoths, that I had a dram of this truly special spirit. We had opted for the luxe tour, which came with a special tasting at the end and when our guide inquired as to my birth year I assumed I was getting ID’ed as it happens all the time. But it was even better than that—it was a single dram of nearly 5 decade old single malt, as rare as it comes. I’ve had the great fortune to have tried a few samples of ultra-old whisky (40 years+) and to be honest, they always left me cold. All wood and not much else. But not this sweetheart—this was a supremely mellow journey of grain and honey and baking spices with a finish so long that I’m sure some remnant of it is still somewhere on the back of my palate if I can focus enough to locate it. Legendary.—Neal McLennan, Wine & Spirits editor
If you’re still reading this after Neal’s, thanks—and rest assured, you can get over 600 of my “best thing I drank” for one of his. Brag alert. I already waxed poetic about Old Bird’s Night Market Popcorn Chicken, but the restaurant’s cocktails are also worth highlighting in a big way—especially the White Rabbit cocktail ($18), which I think is every Asian person’s dream come alive (dream-granters, my second wish is to not get that adorably humiliating glow when I drink). It’s made with spiced rum, black tea, lemon oleo, orange blossom and vodka that’s infused with White Rabbit candy. And of course, there’s a real candy served as a garnish. —Alyssa Hirose, associate editor
If you know me, you’d be surprised by this choice. At the risk of sounding like an annoying female trope (I’m not like other girls), I do tend to mostly gravitate towards beers (and the occasional house red when I don’t feel like drinking an entire loaf of bread). Lately, though, my tastes have changed and I’m into a more sparkling beverage that doesn’t feel so heavy. Sure, she’s basic, but we love her for it. She’s light, bubbly and pretty in pink and goes down smooth (like, almost too smooth, you’ve been warned). The marketing for Saintly is also really insta-worthy and as much as I don’t want to judge my drinks by the cover, this was a factor. But beyond the pretty packaging, this sparkling fruity wine is a welcomed effervescent respite from the dark ales and heavy brews I’m accustomed to… and change isn’t necessarily a bad thing. New year and new me, I’ll drink to that! – Kerri Donaldson, assistant editor