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Bourbon Bijou

Park Kitchen in Portland, Oregon makes a lovely drink they call the Bourbon Bijou. You may recall the Bijou cocktail we posted several years ago which is the inspiration for this whiskey-based variation. The original is a gin drink with over a century of history, whereas this one is a modern riff. We like them both because they are tasty and easy to make. That translates to "no fresh anything required" which means you can throw one together for yourself or a guest while you consider more involved alternatives. It's also a spirit-driven recipe for bolder palates (which is perfect for us) and another excuse to use Chartreuse.

Bourbon Bijou at Park Kitchen, Portland, OR
1 oz bourbon
1 oz green Chartreuse
1 oz Cocchi Di Torino Italian vermouth
1 dash 50/50 orange bitters

Add all to a mixing glass and stir with ice until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Bourbon BijouIf we aren't mistaken, Park Kitchen pre-batches this drink and serves it on-tap. That's not to say they carbonate the drink, just that they serve enough of them to justify setting it up this way. In addition to making a popular favorite that much faster to serve, pre-mixing a drink allows the flavors to combine over time in way that is similar to barrel aging. Vermouth starts to oxidize a bit, and the complex herbal flavors of the liqueur and vermouth get a chance to mellow and combine with the base spirit. You obviously don't need to age this drink at all to enjoy it.

When we visited last spring, we didn't get the bourbon brand, but the friendly staff at Park Kitchen shared that they are using Cocchi Di Torino sweet vermouth which is delicious. You could sub Cinzano and come pretty close—or simply use what you have and call it good (because it will be). The Chartreuse is the real gem here, so your other ingredients don't have to break the bank. We used our last ounce of Jim Beam and it was fantastic. PK also uses a 50/50 mix of orange bitters. For those who like to baffle your buddies with ridiculous mixology lingo, 50/50 refers to "New York style" orange bitters which is an even mixture of Fee Brothers' and Regan's. Mixing a batch of 50/50 is a perfect way skip the hassle of making orange bitters from scratch and still have a "house" bitters that doesn't limit the favor to one particular brand.

Garnish if you please. The original is often served with a lemon twist and a cherry. We went with a sliver of lemon peel and served it in a vintage, gilded-rim cocktail glass. Give the Bourbon Bijou a try, or mix one each of the Bourbon and the regular Bijou cocktails for a side-by-side taste test. Be sure to tell us which one you like best!

Green Glacier

Green Glacier

Here's a drink we jotted down several years ago while reading about Chartreuse. It's no secret that this complex herbal elixir is a favorite at Summit Sips—as it is among most cocktail fanatics. One of the more interesting ways to use it is to add a little green Chartreuse to a mug of hot cocoa and top with lightly whipped cream. The Verte Chaud, as Jamie Boudreau calls it, is a combination so wonderfully delicious that it once inspired us to spend an entire afternoon making Chartreuse-flavored chocolate truffles. However, making gourmet candy or even good hot chocolate isn't always practical (forget powder—think melted high-quality bittersweet chocolate, warmed milk or cream, etc.). So, when we read a post by Mr. Boudreau some years back describing a seemingly ridiculous and indulgent cold cocktail that used brandy and creme de cacao in lieu of hot chocolate, we

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Naked and Famous

Naked and Famous Detail

There's a great passage in the new Death & Co cocktail book that describes the process they use for vetting new additions to the menu. It's basically an interactive taste test with one bartender whipping up a new drink and all of the others making suggestions about proportions or ingredients. It helped us realize that perfecting a new recipe is often an iterative process, and settling on a final list of ingredients can be collaborative, but requires that one has access to (if not knowledge of) a vast array of possibilities. Sure, it's possible to hit incredible combinations right off the bat, but craft cocktail bars can even explore alternative brands allowing a recipe to be perfected to an extreme that most customers probably never realize—and it doesn't always lead to choices that are the most expensive or obscure.

Here's an agave recipe that caught our eye from the

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First Word

First Word

Several years ago we wrote about the Last Word cocktail. If you haven't had the pleasure, you really should give it a try, especially if you are already a fan of the Aviation. Besides having a name befitting any New Year's Eve celebration, the Last Word contains some of our favorite ingredients—Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and green Chartreuse. As we transition from the end of one calendar year to the beginning of another, we decided to post a similar cocktail that we recently tried at one of our favorite restaurants in Portland, Oregon.

The First Word cocktail was featured on the fall menu at Toro Bravo. A little research will reveal that it's not an original name. There are several First Word recipes out there and none of them resembles this one.

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Travel Cocktail Kit

Travel Cocktail Kit with Recipe Card

Not long ago, someone sent us the link to a clever gift item called the Carry On Cocktail Kit. We checked the link, read the descriptions, viewed the pictures and decided to make our own. To be fair, we haven't actually had our hands on one of these commercial kits, as they are still listed as a pre-order item on the website, but we did consider placing an order. It's basically a tin box that you toss into your carry-on baggage when traveling that enables you to construct two Old Fashioned cocktails while in-flight. For only $24 it seems like a reasonable price to pay for such a fun item. The idea alone is fantastic, but we immediately started thinking about ways we could improve upon it. We decided it would be a fun project and that we could share our results and hopefully stir up a bit of

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Palmetto

Palmetto Detail

Despite the improved quality and availability of citrus in winter, colder months always seem better suited for spirit-driven cocktails. Whiskey usually comes to mind, but other spirits also fill the need. Many classics also include vermouth, and the most typical recipes seem to start with the letter M, such as the Martini, the Manhattan, and the Martinez. Setting gin and whiskey aside for the moment, there is another classic cocktail in this family that contains rum.

Most folks have never even heard of the Palmetto cocktail, not because it isn't any good, but because it contains vermouth. You see, vermouth has been mistreated over the years, often banished to the back of the cabinet only to collect dust. People claim they dislike the taste of it. We find this hard to believe—if such claims are made honestly, they

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Arctic Chill

Every couple of years we run through a list of holiday gift ideas for the mixologist in your life. We have tried more tools and cocktail related products than anyone we know, so we think we have a good grasp of what works and what doesn't. It's safe to say that over the years we have collected some things that we really like—often "trading up" to better tools than we had before—and a we own a bunch of stuff we never touch. Here is a nice list of our favorite gift ideas. Some of them are special, some work better than anything we have tried, and others represent good values. We have also linked to these items for adding to your shopping cart.

Tools: Shaker Tins, Stirring Glasses, Spoons and Strainers Anyone wanting to make cocktails at home will eventually need a few essential tools. Depending on their interest, they

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