The Year in Food 2007

The Latin Liquor Frenzy

Over the last decade, the rum-based Mojito became the gateway drug to Latin liquors, and now America has moved on to the serious stuff. Last year, superpremium rums grew by about 24 percent according to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. This year, a new mezcal plant was built in Mexico to meet the demand of a recent 79 percent growth in superpremium tequila. And easy-drinking crema tequilas, the Chilean/Peruvian grape brandy known as pisco, and all manner of sugarcane-based cachaças have been flowering on the shelves of bars such as Chicago’s Nacional 27, San Francisco’s Cantina, and Philadelphia’s newly opened Xochitl. The latter features plenty of artisanal tequilas, which can be ordered in flights or jarrito-style: served in carved cucumber cups with gazpacho-esque sangrita. We’ve come a long way from the body shot. —James Norton