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Fogerty

Some time back, we had the unusual pleasure of tasting a drink that combined the flavors of chocolate with Campari. We know, it sounds really strange, but if you think about it, people who love chocolate often reach for dark, bittersweet varieties. If you look at it that way, maybe it isn't so strange after all. Besides, it would not be the first time the flavor of an Italian Amaro was reminiscent of cacao's complexity, only here, we actually have cacao to thank for it. A few years ago, Imbibe Magazine published a cocktail called the Fogerty by Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV in San Francisco. We think it is a great drink for winter.

It is sometimes helpful to understand the backdrop of historical recipes that might have guided the creator of a cocktail toward a wining combination. Whether intentional or not, it is hard not to draw comparisons of the Fogerty to drinks like the Old Pal, the Boulevardier (a Summit Sips favorite), or by extension, something more foundational like the Negroni.

Fogerty
2 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz Campari
.25 oz crème de cacao
2 dashes orange bitters

Stir with ice, then strain to a chilled coupe. Garnish with a twist of orange peel.

If we take a moment to break it down, let's start with the Negroni. You could argue all day long about exact proportions, but the trinity of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth is an unmistakable winner for anyone who likes a spirit-driven sipper. Gin's botanicals offer a potent zing, offset by the Campari and vermouth. Though rich and bitter, there is some brightness that makes the Negroni a year-round favorite. Now, let's play musical chairs with the ingredients and see where we land.

By simply shifting the base spirit from gin to whiskey, we leapfrog into a delicious autumn sipper with the Boulevardier. It is richer and darker, replacing the Negroni's botanicals with caramel, vanilla, and other complexities that only a barrel-aged spirit can bring. If we now replaced the sweet vermouth with dry we would arrive at the Old Pal—Boulevardier's lighter-flavored cousin. Another option is to try something truly sweet instead of sweet vermouth. This is where we shift to cacao.

Rye provides a rich and spicy backdrop for the interplay of Campari and chocolate. Campari already works nicely with orange peel and the orange bitters helps to mediate a would-be competition of flavors making the bitter amaro dance with the cacao. They bring out the best in each other, but we must warn that although a mere quarter ounce of crème de cacao may not seem like much, trust us—this is plenty of chocolate flavor. It is very easy to over do it in this drink. We used the white variety to maintain a gorgeous pink hue, but looks are deceiving. You would be fine using the dark cacao. This cocktail also has plenty of room to play. We'd like to try other combinations of liqueurs to see where it takes us, but we might find ourselves wandering down an alley into a Brooklyn neighborhood. Nothing wrong with that!

Thanksgiving and Shopping

Happy Thanksgiving! Although it has been quieter lately around Summit Sips.com, we have big plans in the coming months to share more great cocktails, reviews and vintage items. But before we show you what we have been making this week we have an announcement to make about the Summit Sips store.

Summit Sips Vintage Barware on Etsy.com Summit Sips recently opened a vintage barware store on Etsy.com. The Etsy marketplace is a fantastic resource for art and vintage/antique items for sale, and we finally added some of our collection to the mix. Right now, just a handful of items are available in our shop but we plan to grow this inventory as we add more from our collection, eventually shifting our glassware inventory to this new venue. Please take a look and check back in the coming weeks for more. Your support is what helps keep Summit Sips

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Copita de Mezcal

A copita is just a little cup, and mezcal, as you might already know, is agave spirit—like tequila. It comes from the blue agave, a long-leafed desert succulent similar in appearance (though not related) to aloe. The plant is harvested, the leaves are hacked off, and the resulting core, called a piña, resembles a giant pineapple. These are roasted then crushed and fermented, and finally distilled. Categorically speaking tequila is also mezcal, but by definition tequila is more specific because it has to come from Jalisco. Anyway, we are talking about mezcal here which is similar in flavor, having all of the goodness you get from distilled agave, but often with additional smokiness reminiscent of the roasting process. Let's stop right here and mention that any bottle with a worm in it is just a marketing gimmick. Today, we have better choices than that, and there is some fantastic mezcal

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The Gimlet, and How to Make Lime Cordial

We have often cited the importance of using fresh juice in cocktails, and we stand behind the idea. One of the easiest ways to up your game when making amazing craft cocktails is to always use fresh juice. Of course, many rules have exceptions, and the fresh juice rule has but one: The Gimlet.

The Gimlet is a classic English cocktail that uses lime cordial, not fresh-squeezed lime juice. We are talking about Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice—a bottled product that is intensely sour and painfully sweet. It is effectively a preserved lime juice product that contains sugar, and as such, it cannot be a substitute for actual lime juice in other recipes. Yet, bartenders and ignorant enthusiasts have been using Rose's for years when they should have been squeezing actual limes. All recipes that call for lime juice get ruined when you use Rose's. Just don't do it. However, the

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Bloody Mario

It is no secret that we are not fans of tomato juice. Consequently, we have never written about that famous classic, the Bloody Mary. Of course, we recognize that many of our readers probably enjoy this morning pick-me-up and it has been somewhat irresponsible to ignore it for so long. We thought it might be time to set aside our foolish challenges and come to the table with a working recipe. And then it hit us: While we may not like tomato juice, we absolutely love pizza! It's a wonder we hadn't thought of this before.

Just in time for spring, and for all of our fellow pizza lovers, we give you the Bloody Mario. No, it has nothing to do with video games or mustachioed plumbers in colorful suspenders. This is an honest cocktail, modeled after the Bloody Mary, but one with more Italian flair. Think of it as

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Organize Your Bitters

If you are like us, you have collected quite a few bitters brands over the years. Cocktail bitters typically come in "woozy" bottles for dashing small quantities into drinks. However, not all of them are sized consistently. There are flat narrow bottles, short stocky sizes, and some that are huge compared to others. We buy Angostura, for example, in big 18-ounce bottles—not a very convenient size to keep at the ready wherever you mix drinks. Our solution is to use small eye-dropper bottles for everything. They store easily and can be labeled using simple envelope address stickers (for laser printing, we like self-adhesive 1" x 2-5/8" address label sheets). Some brands like Bittercube already market their products in 1-ounce dropper bottles. This not only saves space, but allows precision when you need it. For example, administering dashes is easy enough with just a squirt from the dropper, but you can

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White Whiskey

White whiskey has many names. It can be marketed as white dog or white lightning, or even the yokel moonshine, although that usually refers to illicit varieties. A few things are clear, however, besides this unusual spirit. First, it is an unaged product, meaning it does not typically spend time in oak barrels. Second, because it is whiskey, it is a distillate made from fermented grain. This is where products differ. Depending on the grain used, where it is farmed, the water added, and of course, the distillation process itself, one white whiskey can taste dramatically different from another.

Traditionally, whiskey is thought of as a "brown" spirit, but all of that color and much of the flavor comes form the aging process. Time spent in charred oak barrels allows the high concentration of alcohol to extract flavors from the wood. Caramel, vanilla, smoke, fruit, spices—these are all derived from

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