For those of us who concern ourselves with the world of beverage alcohol, 2011 was nothing if not a most interesting year. After years of struggling sales, Cognac suddenly came roaring back. In the face of an economic crunch, craft beer grew more eclectic, more expensive and overwhelmingly more popular. Mixologists began raiding their pantries for all sorts of culinary cocktail ingredients. Vodka makers found a bevy of new flavorings, from smoked salmon to cupcake frosting. And Champagne, of ...

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