james debate
james debate

Tuesday 28 December 2021

debbie debbies end of year awards 2021 covid coronavirus best films music
In the blogosphere, the goss is dished by two separate yet equally important groups: The guy who writes the blog, and the people who read it. These are their stories: The Debbie Awards.

In 2021, the world opened up just that little bit more. We may not yet be totally free from the yoke of this petty little germ, but 2021 was nevertheless a year that allowed us to reconnect with family and old friends, to relearn how to socialise and wear hard pants again. It was a year in which arts and culture returned to the world and the entrepreneurial spirit began to rebuild and forge progress once again. To be sure, it was also a year of further loss and setbacks, but I head into 2022 with far greater optimism than I have felt in a while, and I hope you will too.

So without further ado, let the curtain fall at long last upon 2021 as we begin our definitive review of the past 12 months:

2021 Debbie Awards

Cinema & TV

1. The Debbie for TV Show of the Year 
Winner: Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
Runner Up: Sex Education (Netflix)

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It was last year's most surprising hit. In 2021, it smashed the awards season records and became the first major success of Apple's nascent TV division. Ted Lasso is simply the best thing on TV right now. Funny, easy to watch, and blessed with some of the finest character writing in recent comedy history. From very rough source material, Bill Lawrence has crafted a very special series, a treasure of a show the likes of which does not come along very often.

One of Netflix's most underrated series. Sex Education is wickedly funny, brilliantly performed, and one of the most uniquely stylish series in recent memory. A surreal yet inherently relatable Anglo-American teen fantasy, the third season finds the series in fine form with deeper character development and plenty of heartfelt humour.

2. The Debbie for New TV Show of the Year 
Winner: It's a Sin (Channel 4)
Runner Up: Wandavision (Disney+)

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If there is one thing that 2021 has not lacked, it is good new TV series. This has once again been among the hardest categories to decide. But ultimately there was one series that stood out, Russell T. Davies' latest miniseries, It's a Sin. Davies is on an astonishing run of form lately, having put out Years and Years and A Very English Scandal in recent years, but his latest might just be the best of the bunch. This brutally honest depiction of the AIDS crisis may be difficult watching at times, but it is exquisitely performed, with a stylish portrayal that is as gripping as it is devastating.

Winner of this hard fought runner up prize will be WandaVision. At a time when Marvel projects are a dime a dozen, it's remarkable just how much this series, based on one of the relatively lesser known characters in the franchise, distinguishes itself from the pack. WandaVision is bold, inspired television, equal parts mystery and nostalgia, and simply impeccable in its production, writing and performances. While there were other very worthy shows that could have taken this prize, WandaVision just about edges it.

3. The Debbie for Film of the Year 
Winner: Belfast
Runner Up: Free Guy

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Belfast is an absolutely extraordinary film. Writer/director Kenneth Branagh's love letter to his hometown, set in Belfast during the turbulent 1960s period that gave rise to the Troubles. Great filmmakers manage to find the beauty even in tragic settings, and Branagh has done that here. A remarkably uplifting story featuring peerless performances, especially from its young star, and some of the finest direction and camera work that I have seen in years. Branagh's best film by some margin in a distinguished career.

A very surprising runner up this year. Like many, when I heard the concept of Free Guy, a videogame NPC becomes self-aware, I expected some good, geeky fun. What I was not expecting was a film that is really quite clever, disarmingly heartfelt, and just an all-around very effectively told story. Add to this impressive visuals and some great comedic performances, particularly the endlessly charismatic Ryan Reynolds, and you have a winning film. Other films may aspire to more ambitious subject matter, but there is no denying the expertise with which this film has been crafted in just about every department, nor can it be beat for pure enjoyment.

4. The Debbie for Variety Show Host of the Year 
Winner: Stephen Colbert, Late Show

colbert late show talk show host of the year 2021

Every talk show host has their own strengths and identity, but in terms of pure stage talent there are few more impressive than Stephen Colbert. The return of live audiences this year has clearly allowed Stephen to operate in his comfort zone once more, after a somewhat awkward 2020, and his riffing with the (now award-winning superstar) Jon Batiste has tightened up considerably. These politically charged times, in particular, seem to suit Colbert - to be expected given his history on Comedy Central - and it is with these recurring segments and monologues where his Late Show shines brightest.

5. The Debbie for Hollywood Rising Star of the Year 
Winner: Simu Liu

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One year ago, probably very few people outside of Canada had heard of Simu Liu. Now he's one of the most recognisable movie stars of 2021 following his breakthrough Hollywood role in Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. It's been a good year for Liu, who has also seen his long-running sitcom Kim's Convenience achieve new prominence in its final season. The man has charisma, a comedic timing, and leading man presence. It will be interesting to see what he does next, but he has the potential to become a very big deal indeed..

6. The Debbie for YouTube Channel of the Year 
Winner: LEMMiNO

debbies youtube channel of the year lemmino 2021

Swedish YouTube personality David Wångstedt, better known by his handle LEMMiNO, has long been one of my favourite content producers on the site. Focused on short-form educational content, typically on the subject of well known mysteries and historical miscellanea (previous videos have covered everything from MH370, to Cicada 3301, and the origins of "the cool S"), LEMMiNO's videos stand out for their slick presentation and their impressive amount of depth and research. In 2021, the channel achieved a new highpoint with its first piece of long-form content, an hour long documentary on Jack the Ripper. It is an extraordinary piece of content and provides one of the best analyses of the cold case that you can find anywhere.

Music, Art & Theatre

7. The Debbie for Theatrical Production of the Year 
Winner: Leopoldstadt (Wyndham's Theatre)

leopoldstadt wyndham best theatre 2021

With the world reopening in 2021, top of my "welcome back" list was to get back out to the theatre, and fortunately I managed to do so a few times this year. The highlight has been Tom Stoppard's excellent new, and allegedly final, play Leopoldstadt. An emotional and loosely autobiographical tale, Leopoldstadt follows a Jewish family in Austria along the turbulent arc of the first half of the 20th Century, from the declining Austro-Hungarian Empire to the genocides at the hands of far-right extremists during World War II. Impeccably produced and performed. A particular focus on the domestic lives of these people only imbues the story with greater resonance and leaves the audience with a haunting, lasting impression.

8. The Debbie for Album of the Year 
Winner: Pressure Machine - The Killers
Runners Up: Lost in the Cedar Wood - Johnny Flynn, Screen Violence - Chvrches

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It is extremely unusual in this day and age for an artist to release two albums in such short order. Pressure Machine came less than a year after The Killers' previous album, Imploding the Mirage, courtesy of an apparent lockdown-induced creativity surge. But any concerns that this would be a rush job or album of B-sides has proven to be premature. On the contrary, Pressure Machine represents arguably the band's most complex and ambitious release to date, particularly from a musical perspective. From the lush strings of West Hills, to the greatest instrumental solo the band has yet produced at the end of In the Car Outside, to the titular Pressure Machine, an instant classic. While Brandon Flowers' broad brush isn't always the best suited for telling so reflective a tale, the end result is nevertheless an album of impressive depth and surprising longevity, even if the individual tracks rarely prove as viscerally exciting as some of his bigger hits.

Someone who is blessed with a nuanced songwriting ability is folk singer and sometimes actor Johnny Flynn. His latest album, Lost in the Cedar Wood sees a collaboration with nature writer Robert Macfarlane and the result is a memorable slice of bucolic majesty. An upbeat and bluesey folk album written at a time of global isolation, Flynn gazes longingly and nostalgically at the world around him, but manages to find the optimism in these sentiments. The result is nothing short of uplifting, whether it's in the form of Gilgameshian journey Gods and Monsters to the glorious hobo's rockabilly of Ten Degrees of Strange, and the gorgeous The World to Come. This is a great album.

For our second runner up we have Screen Violence, the latest from Chvrches and perhaps their most cogent work to date. This is an album that feels very current, an unflinching look at modern anxieties that I suspect many people will find all too relatable, from feminist anthem Good Girls to the distinctly #MeToo He Said, She Said. It also helps that the music is pretty damn good, embracing the synth-pop stylings that have helped the band stand out over the years, only this time with a darker, more acerbic tinge. Screen Violence is a bold, defiant piece of work that deserves to rank among the finest of 2021.

9. The Debbie for Debut Album of the Year 
Winner: Come Over - Kowloon
Runner Up: Collapsed in Sunbeams - Arlo Parks

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Kowloon is one of those artists that has been kicking around a couple of years, slowly building up hype through word of mouth and Internet EPs. In 2021, he finally released his debut LP, Come Over, and it is as delightful a slice of chilled out indie pop as you will find. An intimate, low-fi work that demonstrates an impressive level of finesse for a newcomer. It's a solid album throughout, but with standout tracks in Paradise, Walk With Me, and Wake Up.

Close behind is Arlo Parks, a name we are likely to be hearing much in the coming years. Her debut LP Collapsed in Sunbeams delivers the kind of intimate and broadly relatable bedroom pop that was always likely to strike a chord with the wider public. Parks has had a sensationally successful year, winding up on many music critics' lists of the most exciting new performers in the country.

10. The Debbie for Song of the Year 
Winner: Coloratura - Coldplay
Runners Up: Ritchie Sacramento - Mogwai, Be and Bring Me Home - Neko Case

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On what was otherwise a fairly underwhelming new album from Coldplay, Coloratura stands out as a memorable track. A spellbinding orchestral odyssey that hearkens back to some of the band's finest moments of years gone by. On an album that promised an ambitious metaphysical journey through the cosmos, Coloratura is one song that actually managed to deliver. In my view the best song of 2021.

Mogwai are a band that have been around for what seems like an eternity, but in 2021 they had one of their finest moments with the hit album As the Love Continues. The pick of the tracks from this album was lead single Ritchie Sacramento, a fuzzy, deeply satisfying piece of rock and roll that drips with nostalgia.

And lastly we have Neko Case's sublime cover of Roky Erickson's Be and Bring Me Home. The best covers manage to take a good piece of music and imbue them with fresh beauty, and Neko has done exactly that here. Wonderful.

11. The Debbie for Art Exhibition of the Year 
Winner: Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser - Victoria & Albert Museum

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The Victoria & Albert museum is on something of a roll in recent years, finding increasingly creative ways to marry its somewhat niche specialty with the kind of pop culture icons that shift tickets to the masses. In 2021, all the talk was about Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, a delightful adventure through the history of Lewis Carroll's work. The V&A's exhibition achieves something special here by managing tell the history and genesis of the work itself, also managing to explore the wider historical and social context. The curators have made excellent use of the space, bringing to life the surreal imagery of wonderland in impressive ways, making use of projector and VR technology.

12. The Debbie for Book of the Year 
Winner: Project Hail Mary - Andy Weir

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Andy Weir is still something of a new quantity in mainstream literature, having struck big with his debut The Martian, but failing to hit the same heights will his follow up Artemis. He is best known for a writing style that contrasts a high level of scientifically and technically accurate detail with humour and easily accessible wit. With his third novel, Project Hail Mary, I was expecting to find more of the same. What I was not expecting was the best "buddy" story I have read in years. 

Without wanting to give too much away, in PHM the sun is dying and, through an improbable series of events, high school teacher Ryland Grace finds himself stranded on a one-way mission to save the planet, using his seemingly inexhaustible scientific aptitude to puzzle his way out. If it all sounds a bit familiar to The Martian, don't worry. The similarities soon end and Weir takes the narrative in a very different and delightful direction. An exciting piece of work that I was sad to have finished.

Business & Technology

13. The Debbie for Scientific/Technological Breakthrough of the Year 
Winner: mRNA vaccines
Runner Up: The Mars helicopter

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Virology is, understandably, a hot area right now, and the biggest thing in this field currently is mRNA vaccines. The idea here is simple, instead of isolating attenuated viral components to stimulate an immune response, what if we had a vaccine that could simply tell the cells directly to produce the desired protein. This is accomplished by modification of mRNA, the messenger system of the cell. It might seem like a minor distinction, but it's an idea that could massively increase the efficiency and efficacy of our current viral treatments, and has also been suggested to have utility in cancer care. One of the reasons why our Coronavirus vaccination efforts have been so speedy and effective is because of the use of such technology, and there could be much more to come in the future.

Close in second, how can I not recognise the awesomeness of the Mars 2020 mission, particularly the success of Ingenuity, NASA's very own Mars helicopter. Far from just a cool gizmo, this mission will allow the coverage of greater distances and proof of concept for future aerial missions. More than anything, Ingenuity deserves to be celebrated for the marvel of engineering that it is, another example of how brilliantly creative humans can be in solving a problem.

14. The Debbie for Videogame Console of the Year
Winner: PS5

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Playstation 5 has, rightly, been the butt of many jokes over the past year. Despite launching in 2020, few had been able to get their hands on one until well into 2021. It was worth the wait, however. PS5 may be an tad unwieldy, and the lack of expandable storage is still a big oversight, but Sony's software and services have come on leaps and bounds since PS4, and the raw power of the system can't be faulted. Most important, however, is the software and in this regard PS5 is off to a bit of a stormer with definitive editions of the likes of Ghost of Tsushima and Final Fantasy VII Remake, and some great original exclusives like Spider-Man: Miles Morales.

15. The Debbie for Videogame of the Year 
Winner: Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy (PC, Switch, Playstation, Xbox)
Runners Up: The Artful Escape (PC, Xbox), Sable (PC, Xbox)
Honourable Mentions: Ghost of Tsushima, Final Fantasy VII Remake Part I (PS5)

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This is definitely not a Debbie I expected to be giving, especially after the abysmal Avengers game Square gave us a couple of years back. But Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy truly earns this prize. Gone are the tedious grinding and forced MMO-style mechanics of Avengers, in favour of a slick, streamlined single-player focused campaign. But the real standout feature of GotG is the razor sharp writing that imbues the title with the type of humour that one identifies with the franchise. This game has the gags, the colours and the banging 1980s soundtrack that one would expect from GotG, what's not to like?

Sticking with a theme in second place is The Artful Escape, another light-hearted adventure through kaleidoscopic alien worlds with awesome music, albeit this time with a more indie flavour. This is Annapurna's long-gestating glam-rock platformer, in which players craft their own Bowie-esque stage persona and rock out across the galaxy. It's perhaps a tad simplistic as a game, but it is rollicking good fund and a dazzlingly satisfying sensory experience.

And a second runner up position goes to another indie, Shedworks' charming open-world adventure game Sable. Sable is that rare breed of a game that allows the player to go at their own speed and as far as they want. There's a world of opportunity out there, but ultimately the player decides when their journey has come to an end and there is something quite relaxing about that. Sable is also blessed with a gorgeously distinctive pen and ink visual style and lovely original soundtrack.

This year I am also taking the unprecedented step of naming some honourable mentions, specifically for the excellent PS5 games that would ordinarily have been in contention for top prizes in their year of release, were it not for the unfortunate console shortage that has prevented most people from experiencing them until now. Ghost of Tsushima and Final Fantasy VII Remake are both top titles worthy of recognition, and had Sony not bungled their console release they could well have won these prizes last year.

16. The Debbie for Company of the Year
Winner: Kind Jewellery

kind jewellery startup company of the year 2021

With this Debbie I like to award businesses that both deliver a good product and endeavour to enact positive change in their industry. Kind Jewellery creates jewellery of exceptional hand-crafted quality with some gorgeous designs. This quality is enough already to set them apart, but the brand's commitment to sustainability and ethical practices is especially worthy of praise. Fairmined and recycled metals, ocean diamonds, and a commitment to plant one tree for every item sold are just some of the initiatives taken to ensure that Kind Jewellery makes its mark on the industry without leaving a scar on the planet.


17. The Debbie for Footballer of the Year 
Winner: Mo Salah - Liverpool

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Let's be real here. Leo Messi is still a fantastic player, but to suggest that he's the footballer that has had the best year in 2021, a year divided into a first half of mediocrity with Barcelona and a second half of barely playing with PSG, is absurd. There are several players who could make a more credible claim for this prize than Messi: N'Golo Kanté, Robert Lewandowski among them. But in this football fan's view, for the current best player on the planet one can't look any further than Liverpool's Mo Salah

Already with 25 goals scored this season, having hit 30+ last season. Salah's Liverpool record of 110 goals in 167 league appearances is astonishing. There has only been one game this entire season where he has not either scored or created a goal. Salah is an absolutely terrifying player with speed, technique and a lethal end product. Messi may still have a great brand to his name, but if you want to win matches, there is no one you'd rather have on your team right now than Salah.

18. The Debbie for Under-21 Footballer of the Year 
Winner: Pedri - Barcelona

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Barcelona may be a club in shambles at the moment, but there is one bright light on the horizon for their fans. Midfielder Pedri has had a barnstorming 2021, a season that has seen him take his place as a central force in this new Barcelona side at the tender age of just 19. Despite his age, Pedri shows the maturity and poise of a more experienced playmaker. Finesse, vision and the uncanny ability to find space in any situation. Pedri is not just one for the future, he's already an excellent player.

19. The Debbie for Football Manager of the Year 
Winner: Thomas Tuchel - Chelsea

best football manager in the world 2021 thomas tuchel chelsea

It is hard to overstate the influence that Thomas Tuchel has had on Chelsea since his arrival last season. That is not to understate the significance of his predecessor, Frank Lampard, one of the few men who would have had the vision and courage to integrate Chelsea's hitherto much vaunted yet never tested youngsters into the first XI. But Tuchel's arrival has been the glue that brought all of Chelsea's raw talents together and formed them into a top level side. Midtable and leaky at the back when he arrived, Tuchel managed to take this team of exciting prospects and imbue them with a grit and organisation that has allowed them to compete with the very best in the world. A top four finish and stunning Champions League victory says everything about how effective he has been.

20. The Debbie for Football Club of the Year 
Winner: Chelsea FC

football club of the year 2021 chelsea

Yes, I am a Chelsea fan. But despite that, I have never awarded the club this prestigious Debbie. With good reason, Chelsea are typically a shambles of induced chaos, even when they're winning. Yet in 2021, with football giants all over the world stumbling through crisis after crisis, Chelsea have shockingly managed to stand tall as a beacon of a well run club, rearing an impressive side blended from youth products and astute transfer activity. The role that Chelsea (and particularly its fans) played in leading the counter movement against the ill-fated and disgraceful proposed Super League this year is just the cherry on top. For once, Chelsea seems to be the model of a well run modern club.

Current Events

21. The Debbie for Politician of the Year 
Winner: Stacey Abrams

stacey abrams politician of the year 2021

She may not yet be a household name, except among the political aficionados, but among those who know, Stacey Abrams is quickly building a reputation as one of the most shrewd and talented political entities in the country. 

Founder of Fair Fight, an organisation that places her on the forefront of the critical struggle against the voter suppression and political corruption that is so tragically endemic in certain regions of America. Her crowning moment in politics has surely been January 2021 and the off-year elections of two pro-democracy Senators in Georgia, the culmination of a previously unthinkable clean sweep of a typically deep-red state, of which she was largely seen as the mastermind. Yet there is the sense that this is only the beginning for Abrams. In 2022 she will run for Governor of the state. If she wins that, it will surely go down as one of the greatest shocks in American political history, and set her up for a certain future Presidential run.

22. The Debbie for Scandal of the Year 
Winner: Boris Johnson, Various

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It's rare in British politics to see one individual so singularly engulfed in so much scandal. But then Boris Johnson has always been something of a controversial figure. This latest furore appears to have come about as a perfect storm of incompetent pandemic management and a recurring disregard for his Government's own rules. It takes a very special kind of sliminess to enforce rigid restrictions on the general public, restrictions that while necessary have had a real human cost for many, whilst flouting them with contempt when it comes to your own wellbeing. Combine this with the constant air of sleaze that has dogged the Conservative Party in recent times and there is a very real sense that Boris' days in Number 10 could be coming to an end sooner rather than later, perhaps even at the hands of his own party members. A flaming catastrophe of his own making.

23. The Debbie for Cause of the Year
Winner: Combatting vaccine misinformation

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There is no shortage of worthy causes in the world today, but the one I have chosen to highlight this year stands out, not only for its human cost and the loss of life that it causes, but also for its mind-numbing absurdity. 

Most infants can understand that when you are sick, you take medicine, and that medicine is a good thing. So the fact that an entire movement has come up taking a passionately anti-medicine position is... baffling to say the least. Not everything needs to be political and have multiple sides. We don't need to argue over whether they sky is blue or whether fire is hot. Likewise we shouldn't have to argue over basic things like whether medicine and treating sick people are good. Our obsession with forming into factions and competing over everything has already gone way too far. For us to be doing this at the expense of lives is unconscionable. It must stop, and we must cut out those that spread these pro-pandemic lies for the sake of clicks and votes. Enough is enough, let's end this pandemic by defeating it, not by living in denial.

24. The Debbie for Person of the Year 
Winner: José Andrés

jose andres world central kitchen person of the year 2021

This year we have a most deserving winner of the Debbie for Person of the Year. Spanish chef, José Andrés is a culinary icon and successful restauranteur, a TV personality and philanthropist. But on top of this, he is also a hero. Founder of World Central Kitchen, an organisation dedicated to providing meals in the wake of natural disasters. WCK additionally builds culinary schools and provides training to help those affected back out of poverty and promote human and environmental health. Chef José is the best of us, and a worthy winner of this prize.

Social & Lifestyle

25. The Debbie for Restaurant of the Year 
Winner: Tanja Grandits
Runner Up: Mãos

tanja grandits basel best restaurant 2021

Tanja Grandits is one of the hottest chefs in Europe, and it's easy to see why. The German chef's restaurant in Basel delivers food of extraordinary creativity and quality, using quality seasonal ingredients. Grandits' stunning plating makes every dish look like a work of art, but unlike many fine dining establishments, the taste live up to that presentation. Grandits is blessed with an incredible knack for flavours, including combinations that few others would think of. Ponzu butter, scallops with apple salsa, polenta with miso. Eat here and you are guaranteed an unforgettable meal.

I wondered how a restaurant like Mãos would cope with the new post-pandemic normal. After all, this was a restaurant built around an idea of communal experience, a polar opposite to the new standard of social distance. Reinvented now as a more traditional restaurants with individual tables and less free movement (guests are now invited into the kitchen in groups). Fortunately the creative minds in the kitchen have been busy during lockdown and the food is even better than before. Lobster mochi, an oozing honey cake, and one of the finest interpretations of surf and turf I have ever seen. The Mãos experience has always been a big draw, and still is, but above all this is food that can compete with the very best and seems to be getting better with each visit.

26. The Debbie for New Restaurant of the Year 
Winner: Arbostora

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It is a sign of a society in healing after the last two years that the entrepreneurial spirit continues to thrive, and new businesses open. Of the new restaurants that I have visited this year, one stands out that is perhaps not the most obvious, somewhat off the beaten track, but nevertheless a special experience worthy of mention. This year's Debbie goes to Arbostora, in Morcote, Switzerland. A romantic lakeside location, delicious local cuisine, and friendly service make this place a winner and a must visit for anyone visiting Ticino. A family place and a special occasion place.

27. The Debbie for Club/Bar of the Year 
Winner: The Cadogan Arms

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It has been a long time coming, but after some four years and one global pandemic, the classic Chelsea drinking establishment The Cadogan Arms has returned, and it has had a few upgrades. The Cadogan Arms was always a favourite among London pubs, but in the years since they closed for refurbishment the standard of both dining and drinking in this city has risen significantly. Fortunately, The Cadogan Arms has reinvented itself to keep up with the changing times. The beautifully redone interior feels like a modern twist on cosy 1980s nostalgia, while the recessed lighting and centrepiece lit-up bar add some contemporary flourish. Live jazz on Sundays, an excellent roast and updated weekday menu makes for one of the finest pubs around.

28. The Debbie for Destination of the Year
Winner: Zurich, Switzerland

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With the world more or less open for travel again in 2021, it has been a year of making up for lost travel time. This year's highlight has been Zurich, a city blessed with a unique balance of big city amenities and small town comforts. In Zurich you can shop on the high street in the morning and then go for a walk in the hills in the afternoon. Add to this a number of world class museums, some very fine restaurants and the unforgettable Zurich lakefront and you have a destination that everyone should visit at least once.

29. The Debbie for Wine of the Year 
Winner: Castello dei Rampolla 2008 d'Alceo
castello rampolla 2008 best wine 2021

Sometimes you just can't beat a nice toasty Italian red. A classic super-tuscan, the Castello dei Rampolla is a bold vintage with flavours of dark red fruits and licorice. For a full-bodied wine, d'Alceo has a pleasantly smooth and rounded finish which works well as an accompaniment to any dish with rich flavours, a good beef wellington or pasta with tomato would be ideal.

30. The Debbie for Tipple of the Year 
Winner: Cotswold Distillery: Founder's Choice

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And finally our award for best tipple, a non-wine alcoholic beverage in which you would be wise to partake, goes to Cotswold Distillery Founder's Choice single malt whisky. The south west of England is not typically known for its whisky, but this premium edition from the Cotswold Distillery makes a very strong case for regional product. A very pleasant drinking whisky with mocha notes and a finish of warm glowing embers on the tongue. A great drink for those winter evenings, to be taken with dark chocolate or spiced Christmas desserts.

Well there you have it, another year in the books. Let's hope that 2022 will continue our march towards normality and be an even better one. See you there!

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