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The Getaway

The GetawayFive years ago, back when we were knocking bottles around in Minnesota, Derek Brown was mixing his way toward multiple accolades in Washington DC. A two time James Beard Foundation Award semi-finalist and craft bar entrepreneur, Mr. Brown has been recognized numerous times for his professional achievements and was recently named Bartender of the Year by Imbibe Magazine. This drink has been around for several years, but we hadn't tried it until now.

We've always been a fan of cocktails that put an unusual twist on classics, so when we read about The Getaway we knew we had to try it. It has been described as a Cynar Daiquiri which is probably as good of a reference as any. Some of you following along will immediately know what that means, but for everyone else, a few links can help you understand that description. First of all, Cynar is an Italian bitter digestivo that combines flavors from 13 botanicals—the most notable being artichoke. It sounds odd by that definition, but don't knock it until you try it. Cynar is probably our favorite amaro among all of the fantastic Italian modifiers out there and if you read Summit Sips often, you find lots of references to the stuff. Cynar's deeply complex flavor is not as bitter as the more popular Campari which is lighter and fruity, but it packs a sweet herbal punch that seems to blend nicely with just about everything.

The second part of the reference is the Daiquiri cocktail. If you recall, this is a classic made using rum, lime juice and simple syrup. The difference here is that the acid is substituted with lemon which probably works better with Cynar. We also use a little less simple syrup in The Getaway in order to let some of the Cynar balance the lemon juice.

The Getaway by Derek Brown
1 oz Cruzan blackstrap rum
1 oz lemon juice
.5 oz Cynar
.5 oz simple syrup

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

The Getaway DetailThe rum selection is important if you want to stay faithful to Derek Brown's recipe. He calls for Cruzan Blackstrap rum which is dark, delicious and inexpensive. There are other drinks you can make that use it such as the Corn & Oil, the Jungle Bird, or even the Dark & Stormy, but we also like having the bottle around to splash a float on our Mai Tai. In other words, this bottle probably belongs in your cabinet anyway.

In anticipation of loving this drink, we increased the proportions by 50% and double-strained it into an exquisite thin-walled cocktail coupe we recently added to the glassware store. The resulting drink is brown, as expected (no pun to Derek intended). Absent of any ice shards due to filtering through fine mesh, there is just a wisp of fine bubbles swirling on the surface. The nose definitely reveals the blackstrap molasses bolstered by the herbal aromas of the Cynar. The sip hits with an initial sweetness before the sour and bitter take over. A long, complex finish leaves you wondering about the base spirit and trying to confirm whether this drink is sweet, sour, bitter or strong.

Perfectionists out there will have fun experimenting with the balance of this cocktail. Depending on how much you like sour or bitter flavors there's certainly opportunity to make adjustments to suit your taste. There's also room to riff on this theme. One could easily swap the rum or choose a different amaro, but something about the recipe as-is seems delicate when you taste it, and a subtle approach to experimentation may be the better route to take. For instance, food pairing may be enough to create evocative surprises. We were munching on marcona almonds while sipping—either the nuts or the salt had a marvelous effect on the drink. Let us know what you think of The Getaway in the comments below.

Transform Bottom Shelf Booze into Premium Liquor

Bread Filtration

Many of our readers come to expect great things at this time of the year from Summit Sips. Year after year we share innovative recipes and unusual techniques, saving at least one special idea to kickoff the spring. This year, it's all about incredible spirits at bargain prices. We are going to describe an oddly innovative technique to transform cheap vodka into premium liquor for only fifty cents!

It's All About Filtration High-quality filtration is a technique that is often employed by spirit manufacturers to change an otherwise unremarkable product into something worth marketing. It is possible to improve flavor (and even remove color) by simply running the spirit through a filter. Good products can be made even better, and some of the most popular brands use filtration to set their product apart. For example, Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey is a filtered product. They choose not to call the

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Bicycles & Baskets

Bicycles & Baskets

This could be the perfect, simplest blend of your best-tasting ingredients. The floral/citrus Bicycles & Baskets is a whiskey-based original from Kask located here in Portland, Oregon. The menu describes this signature recipe as the perfect drink for a picnic. We won't disagree, but it's actually a drink that can be enjoyed any time. The name evokes images of pedaling leisurely toward a favorite location to enjoy the spring air or summer sun, but it's also a reference to the liqueur made from elderflowers that are supposedly picked by hand in the French hills and transported by bicycle to the distillery. Whichever visual applies for you, this might be a recipe worth scaling up to a batch that can fill a bottle for portability.

Rye whiskey has always held a leading position when it comes

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Turn Signal

Turn Signal Detail

Here's a fun cocktail that is easy to make and tastes great. It's an easy-drinking whiskey concoction that is reminiscent of a sour, but instead of the acidic tang, you get a lightly bittersweet raspberry effect. Grapefruit juice isn't a tart citrus—if anything, it's a little sweet and bitter—and what better time to explore it than at the end of winter. Sure, you could wait for warmer months to make this as a refreshing thirst quencher, but we would rather grab the fruit now and enjoy it. In addition to grapefruit which is enhanced by the Campari, the Turn Signal also contains raspberry syrup. You can make this easily enough by following our fermented raspberry syrup recipe, but you don't have to take that much time if you don't want to. You could just puree some fresh or frozen berries, strain the juice and add sugar.

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Barrel Aged Cocktails Without the Barrel

Oak Infusion

Let's jump right in with the details: We are using toasted oak chips and a charred oak stick in a mason jar to age scaled-up portions of our favorite drink recipes. The results are—in a word—amazing. We could also say surprising, or even easy. Given the fact that we have done true barrel-aging in the past, we were pleased to discover this time-saving alternative that produces results that are similar, if not better than the traditional method. It's so simple, in fact, that we plan to keep it going so that we always have aged, pre-mixed cocktails in the house. This is also so much more satisfying given the limited investment. It's hard to justify not doing this. If you have been thinking about making barrel-aged cocktails but haven't had a chance to track down a barrel—or perhaps you don't want to spend the money on

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Batches and Bowls

Oleo Saccharum

Whether you are prepping for a weekend party or a spring picnic (we are probably several months early for that), you may be looking for ways to enjoy the event and the company of your guests without spending time mixing individual cocktails on request. Beer and wine are easy options, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice good flavors and quality ingredients just because you'd rather join the party instead of busily shaking craft cocktails. As log as you are willing to do some preparation a day or so ahead of time, you don't need to play bartender. We are talking about batched cocktails—a common request we get from friends who are either searching for the perfect recipe or are interested in techniques they can leverage to make the process easier once guests arrive.

For us, the Super Bowl refers to any vessel large enough to hold a batch of Philadelphia

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Bourbon Bijou

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

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