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Raspberry Cocktails

Columbia Cocktail

Columbia Cocktail

There are so many ways to use fruit in cocktails. Muddling fresh produce may be the easiest, but you can also freeze it for use off-season. More traditional options include preserving fruit as jams, syrups, shrubs or even liqueurs. We've been busy this summer with all of nature's bounty, and we'll be sharing some of our exploits in the coming months. Today, let's talk about raspberry syrup.

Making a syrup from raspberries is easy enough. The simplest recipe follows a basic formula of one part fruit juice with one part sugar. However, we wanted to take an approach that may seem a little unorthodox. According to the Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide first published in 1862, it's better to add another step to the process. Fermenting the fruit juice for several days through natural processes (including the unrestricted growth of microbes such as yeast and bacteria) allows the fruit to break down as the juice separates from the flesh. A byproduct of letting nature to do some of the work for you is an increase in acidity as some of the sugar present in the berries is consumed. This intensifies the flavor and supposedly helps to prevent the juice from gelling.

Raspberries FermentingMake Fermented Raspberry Syrup
We washed our raspberries and mashed them in the jars leaving plenty of head space, then capped the jars with paper towels to allow gasses to escape and prevent critters from going in. After 24 hours the ruby-red juice began to separate to the bottom and it was obvious we had some bubbling activity at the top. Here's the thing: There's really no telling what other creepy crawlies were living on (or in) our berries, so we only let this continue for a couple of days.

After the brief fermentation, you need to pour off the juice and strain it through a paper towel to filter out any solids. Then, measure the volume and combined the juice with an equal amount of sugar in a sauce pan and turn on the heat. Stir to dissolve the sugar and simmer the syrup for 10 minutes. This will kill any leftover microbes and allow your clean syrup to be safely bottled. The flavor is absolutely amazing, and although you can get away with simply mashing your raspberries and straining the juice immediately, we always wanted to try using this old-school method, and we are glad we did. There's definitely a welcomed potency to the flavor.

Make Cocktails
It turns out that several delicious classics call for raspberry syrup. The Clover Club (which can also be made using homemade grenadine) is a notable example as is the Blinker cocktail which we will be making soon. Here are a couple more recipes to make it worth your while:

Columbia Cocktail by Trader Vic
2 oz light rum
.75 oz raspberry syrup
.75 oz lemon juice

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

With the mighty Columbia River just a short trip down the Willamette from us, we couldn't pass the opportunity to try the Columbia Cocktail by Victor "Trader Vic" Bergeron. in 1947, Trader Vic also wrote a Bartender's Guide, and this cocktail is featured among hundreds of others. It's not the complicated Tiki cocktail you might expect from Trader Vic, but what the Columbia lacks in complexity it makes up for in flexibility with plenty of room for additions and experimentation. This drink is very similar to the September Morn which uses grenadine instead of raspberry syrup and adds an egg white for a nice frothy experience. You could certainly take that route here with a foamy emulsion for what is essentially a raspberry rum sour.

On the other end of the spectrum is the Blushing Monk cocktail, a modern recipe from the Burrit Room at the Mystic Hotel in San Francisco, CA. A quick glance at the ingredients told us we were going to love this drink. It may not be the easiest recipe to pull together, but if you have all of the ingredients it's worth the effort.

Blushing MonkBlushing Monk
2 oz bourbon
.5 oz Green Chartreuse
.25 oz Cynar
.75 oz lemon juice
.5 oz raspberry syrup
1 sprig mint

Gently muddle the mint in a mixing glass. Add the other ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

This one has flavors that just keep going and going. We were afraid the raspberry would get lost among the herbal intensity of the Cynar and Chartreuse, but that's not the case at all. It works on so many levels.

Give these a try and experiment with raspberry syrup. Consider subbing it in something you already love that calls for simple syrup for a unique twist. You can also just add sparkling water to the syrup for a refreshing nonalcoholic raspberry soda. The options are simply wide open.

Do you have a favorite use for your raspberry syrup? Leave a comment and let us know about it!

St. Stephen's Sour

St Stephens Sour

We're all about refreshing summer drinks these days—the easier to make them the better. Most of the time that means tall, simple cocktails without many ingredients. Warmer weather usually pushes us toward refreshing citrus and carbonation as opposed to spirit-driven sippers, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't admit that exceptions do exist. For instance, we can't stop enjoying a strong Mint Julep, nor resist the temptation of more complicated drinks like the Mai Tai. These never fall out of rotation for us, but this month's Imbibe Magazine (July/August 2014 issue) has a great selection of recipes that we probably need to add to our repertoire. One of them stood out as both refreshing and easy to make while still retaining a some complexity and interest. It was

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South Side Rickey

South Side Rickey Detail

Strictly speaking, a rickey is a highball cocktail that is not supposed to contain sugar—or at least it shouldn't if we are sticking to historical traditions. The style dates back before Prohibition when drinks were simpler and it was easier to categorize such details. When you mention the Rickey, most folks think of the Gin Rickey, a drink built in a Collins glass over ice. First, you squeeze a half ounce of fresh lime juice. Then, add two ounces of gin and top up with club soda. It's a decent drink that is both refreshing and easy to make—a nice combination for a hot summer day. It also works with other base spirits and gets renamed appropriately.

A couple months ago a batch of similar spring cocktails were published in the Oregonian. Some were more complicated, but one we recognized (in name at least). It was the South Side Rickey

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Negroni Week 2014

Norwegian Negroni

It's Negroni Week all over the world! It started on June 2nd and extends throughout the week to June 8th. At current count, 1271 participating bars are donating a portion of the sales of this featured cocktail to their chosen charities. At Summit Sips, we encourage everyone to support local businesses and charities everywhere by ordering a Negroni at participating establishments. For details as well as links to find locations near you, check out NegroniWeek.com. The event is presented by Imbibe Magazine in conjunction with Campari and was inspired by the Negroni Social event at Nostrana in Portland, Oregon. Of course, not everyone is familiar with the Negroni, so we thought we'd help get the word out and remind readers of some of our favorite posts featuring the Negroni or variants based on it.

Just over four years ago, we posted about the Negroni cocktail in detail.

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Le Coco

Le Coco

We love the "hunt" for ingredients to reproduce something delicious at home. Even after amassing an embarrassingly complete inventory of possibilities, this drink forced us to collect a few things we were missing. We recognize that not everyone will have the ingredients to make this cocktail—in fact, most of you probably won't—but for those of you adventurous enough chase down a few items—even if it means making some creative substitutions—please join us and share what you think of this unique creation.

First, we need to credit the drink's inventor, Tom Lindstedt, bar manager at Little Bird Bistro in Portland, OR. There are so many fantastic places to eat in Portland that it's almost impossible to justify returning to the same place twice, but we keep going back to Little Bird. So far, we have never had a single bite that wasn't totally satisfying and delicious (the cassoulet is wonderful!).

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Scottie Ferguson

Scottie Ferguson

Stocking a liquor cabinet is serious business. Space can limit decisions as much as budget, so we have always aligned with the idea that you should buy cocktails, not random bottles of booze. In other words, start with a drink recipe that you love and build your cabinet that way—recipe by recipe. This is great, in theory, but the allure of Italian bitters often trumps restraint. If you're as big of a fan as we are, you may have amassed quite a collection—cocktail recipes or not—grabbing almost every amaro you can find. But if you are just starting out, it can be difficult to decide what to buy first. Many of us are familiar with Campari, if even just for the Negroni and the Americano, but as we explore others, how do

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Grilled Pineapple Southside

Grilled Pineapple Southside

We have long been fans of the Southside cocktail, not that we always think to make it. It's one of those great summer drinks we like to make for guests (and taste what's leftover in the shaker) to help us remember how delicious it is. So, when Kelly Sanders over at House Spirits posted a grilled pineapple version on the Aviation Gin Blog—well, what could we do but fire up the grill!

First, let us say that if you are new to the Southside, or you simply haven't had one in a while, do yourself a huge favor and follow the link above and make that drink right now. It's simple and delicious, and although it does require some mint, you'll be happy you went through the minor trouble of getting some. Actually, why aren't you growing your own mint? Did we

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Aprile

Aprile Detail

Yes, we waited until spring to try this recipe, but outside of the name, there wasn't a good reason to delay. If you are already a fan of grapefruit cocktails, you'll appreciate that this one is both delicious and refreshing. It's also quite low in alcohol so you won't feel bad after slurping down a couple. For the unacquainted, hit up your local supermarket and get familiar with what you have been missing.

We've become a big fan of grapefruit juice in cocktails. It's something of an unsung hero in recipes that feature it. As citrus goes, it lags behind lemon and lime in terms of popularity as an ingredient, but we are constantly impressed with how successful it can be in a mixed drink. It certainly outshines orange juice which tends to fall flat, and it's usually doing more than

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Shipwreck

Shipwreck

Thanks to everyone who played along with our last post. April fun has become somewhat of a tradition at Summit Sips, and we look forward to doing it again next year. Shifting back to serious cocktails, we are finally featuring the Shipwreck. This one comes from Portland, Oregon's Jamal Hassan. From Ox Restaurant's Whey Bar, to Tasty 'n Alder or Kenny and Zukes Deli—this guy really gets around! You may recall a cocktail we made a while back called La Yapa which continues to receive high marks at our house. That drink alone is reason enough to follow Mr. Hassan wherever he happens to be tending bar in town. He has another winner with the Shipwreck, a simple drink that is something akin to a julep with dual base spirits. It's a perfect spring cocktail and one we plan to feature on our house menu throughout

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Carbonated Air Cocktails

Double-Strained Carbonated Air Cocktails

Maybe it's a rite of spring or the enthusiastic turn of another calendar page toward summer that brings out such creativity. Explanations fail us, but once again we believe we may have struck mixology gold. We are about to share another technique for home enthusiasts following a long line of fascinating ideas. On previous occasions, we took inspiration from all over. Once, it came quite literally from left field. A year later, we let the local farmer's market guide us to unusual cocktail flavors (and all too familiar aromas). Last year, we solved the hangover with an incredible morning after cocktail. Today, we have another great idea that is so unusual, so versatile—so amazing—we'd be foolish not to share it.

Our title is a dead giveaway. Carbonated Air Cocktails are exactly what they sound like—cocktails made of air

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