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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 going!

Thanksgiving Cocktails
Today, we are bringing a half batch of Philadelphia Fish House Punch to the Thanksgiving festivities. The recipe for this and other group-format cocktails can be found on this post, but we wanted to take you through some of the service details to explain how we plan to share our creation.

The punch recipe starts with peeling a dozen lemons. We did this over a week ago, adding a pound of sugar to the peels and sealing them in a vacuum bag. This lazy approach saves the effort you might spend muddling, and once the oils begin to transform the sugar into a paste you can simply toss the whole thing into the freezer. We also squeezed the lemons, filtered out the pulp and froze the juice too. Then, last night, we thawed half of the lemon peel/sugar mixture and two-thirds of the lemon juice. Building the punch itself took about 15 minutes. With the batch ready to go, we stored it in the refrigerator overnight to chill and allow the flavors to combine.

Decorative Ice
Ok, so we need to rewind a couple of days for an important addition. Our punch will be served from a spigot decanter and it needs to be chilled. To pull that off, we like to make a festive ice chunk. This time, we simply took our shaker tin, lined the bottom and sides with slices of lemon, then added crushed ice and cubes to hold the slices in place before filling in the gaps with water. Freeze this and you have a wonderful chunk of ice. Yesterday, we took the tin out of the freezer and allowed it to warm up a bit so the lemon ice could slip out of the "mold".

To serve the punch, we have a big glass jar with a spigot that we sometimes use for making infusions or Nocino. We are also bringing a set of punch cups like these so our host isn't scrambling for glassware. To top it off, we are bring a nutmeg grater to add the fresh spice to the top. Nothing beats freshly ground nutmeg on this recipe. Later, we will add another photo of the final result.

Other Seasonal Recipe Ideas
This time of year, apples are often abundant, so we like to make the Apple Smash cocktail. It looks great and tastes even better. With cranberries in season too, give the Boston Bog a try.

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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Water

It's often a good sign when you sit down at a bar to be greeted by the bartender with a glass of water. We don't drink alcohol to quench our thirst—it's a full-sensory experience—so a glass of water not only satisfies the need for hydration, it also balances the social ritual allowing you to extend the enjoyment of your selected beverage. It sounds like an over-the-top description of simply drinking a glass of water—which it is—but we think every great drink deserves this "sidekick" and we can't over emphasize the importance of drinking water while you drink booze. Whether you ordered the expensive and obscure signature cocktail from the seasonal menu at your favorite bar or you are happily sipping beer at home, water should always be within reach. We don't often feature this unsung hero in photographs, but it is the most important beverage you can drink and serve,

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