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New Spirits for 2008

Here are 10 new (or newly available to most of the U.S.) spirits to watch out for this year. Some are great in cocktails; others are so unique and rarefied that they’re best served unadorned.

Absinthe

Kübler Absinthe

The intense herbal and clean anise flavors of this popular Swiss brand make it one of the best of the old-world absinthes now legally imported into the U.S. ($50).
Drink it: In a Le Demon Vert.

Bourbon

Wild Turkey American Spirit Bourbon

This limited-release, 100-proof whiskey is oak-aged for 15 years, which lends it candied orange and mint flavors ($88; wildturkeybourbon.com).
Drink it: In a Mint Julep.

Coffee Liqueur

Café Bohême

This coffee-flavored liqueur tastes less cloying and syrupy than its peers, which makes it a better match for cocktails ($22; cafeboheme.com).
Drink it: In a White Russian.

Gin

Bluecoat American Dry Gin

Flavored with organic juniper berries and American lemon and orange peels, this small-batch gin from a Philadelphia microdistillery is smooth, with fresh citrus flavors and a peppery finish ($30; bluecoatgin.com).
Drink it: In an Aviator.

Mezcal

Sombra Mezcal

Richard Betts, the sommelier at The Little Nell in Aspen, Colorado, created this citrusy, small-batch mezcal (distilled from organic agave nectar), which he says is less smoky than its other agave-based cousins. Look for it in early 2008 ($49; bettsandscholl.com).
Drink it: In a Melon Mezcalito.

Rum

Clément Cuvée Homère

A blend of the distillery’s best barrels of the past 15 vintages, this high-end Martinique rum (one of the only rums granted AOC status) is a highly nuanced blend of fruit, pepper and oak flavors ($90; rhumclement.net).
Drink it: Neat or on the rocks.

Sloe Gin

Plymouth Sloe Gin

Coming to the U.S. next spring, this gin is infused with just-picked sloe berries (a cousin of the plum), giving it a vibrant red color and bittersweet flavor with a hint of almond (plymouthgin.com).
Drink it: In The Millionaire.

Tequila

Jose Cuervo Platino Tequila

This premium silver tequila is slightly sweet, with plenty of agave characteristics ($98; josecuervoplatino.com).
Drink it: In a Blood Orange Margarita.

Partida Elegante Tequila

This “extra-añejo” (read: superpremium and superexpensive) tequila is aged in American oak for three years, which imparts smoky aromas and a rich, sweet mouthfeel ($350; partidatequila.com).
Drink it: In a Cutting Edge Margarita.

Vodka

U’Luvka Vodka

Distilled from Polish rye, wheat and barley, this delicately nuanced vodka has a creamy mouthfeel and balanced spice and vanilla flavors ($60; uluvka.com).
Drink it: In a Vodka-Thyme Lemonade.

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