Back in early December, when I first started thinking about writing this year-end wrap-up, I thought that 2011 was a pretty blah year for new spirits, especially compared to 2010, when a month didn't go by without at least one or two spectacular brands debuting in bars and on liquor store shelves. But my attitude quickly changed once I discovered how hard it was to narrow down all the newly-released booze I've tried this year to a mere ten brands. And that doesn't even count all the newbies that I somehow missed out on (Angel's Envy bourbon, you WILL be mine in 2012!)
In the end, I simply couldn't decide among the dozens of worthy spirits that first met taste buds in 2011, so I included another five "honorable mentions." Every one of them is worth trying, and I'll bet dollars to daiquiris that at least a couple of them will nudge aside your favorite brands in your liquor cabinet. And as always, feel free to weigh in with your own favorite new releases from the last calendar year.