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Bicycles & Baskets

Bicycles & BasketsThis 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 to mixed drinks. Its spicy character allows it to stand up amongst other ingredients. If you don't have rye in your cabinet because you like to sip bourbon or Scotch neat, we understand, but you are missing one the great benefits of mixability for which rye is famous. Kask uses the smokier Bulleit rye, so if you have some, use it here. If not, this cocktail is delicious with any brand.

Bicycles & Baskets from Kask, Portland, OR
1.5 oz rye whiskey
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz Aperol
.25 oz St-Germain Elderflower
1 bar spoon rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
grapefruit peel for garnish

Shake and double-strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with grapefruit twist.

Fresh lemon juice provides the acid that balances the sweet ingredients. At only a quarter ounce, St-Germain isn't going to overpower the cocktail with sugar, so you need to add a bar spoonful of rich simple syrup to help keep everything in aligned. Aperol provides a bitter edge to the drink and also helps keep the lemon in check. The final touch is a grapefruit peel garnish. Be sure to express the oils of the peel onto the cocktail before adding it to the glass. This sets up a very interesting effect:

The lemon, elderflower and Aperol combine in ways we can't explain to create the flavor of grapefruit juice. So compelling is this effect that serving it to guests often has them asking if there is grapefruit in the drink. The garnish helps complete the illusion which will start with the scent, confirmed by the sip. We have seen this before in Paul Clarke's Dunniette cocktail which follows a similar formula based on gin. This is just one example of why we love to make cocktails and it will keep going back to Bicycles & Baskets all year long.

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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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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