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St. Stephen's Sour

St. Stephen's SourWe'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 part of a gorgeous eleven-page feature about Jeffrey Morgenthaler and his expert cocktail techniques.

It's not an exaggeration to call Mr. Morgenthaler a cocktail celebrity—not because of the magazine article or for running successful bar programs at Clyde Common and Pepe le Moko. The simple fact is that he's been an online inspiration for years, so when we found out he was finally releasing a book about technique, we jumped at the opportunity to support the event at Powell's a few weeks ago here in Portland, Oregon. The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique is an excellent reference and a fun read that dispels myths and sets you on an efficient path toward getting the most out of great cocktail ingredients.

Morgenthaler's St. Stephen's Sour uses crushed ice—one of the many technical variables available to any cocktail enthusiast. If you don't have a crusher built into the door of your refrigerator's ice dispenser (many of us don't) one good method to get a lot of great crushed ice is to pulse a few cubes in a blender or a food processor. We like the low-tech method of putting whole cubes into a canvas bag and whacking them with a mallet. Whatever you decide to do, crush your ice and use it to fill a tall glass. Then, start mixing up your drink in a shaker. Shake it with whole cubes before straining over the crushed ice.

St. Stephen's Sour
1 oz aged rum
1 oz cognac
.75 oz lemon juice
.75 oz orgeat syrup

Shake with ice, then strain into into a tall glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a lemon twist.

From a flavor perspective, this drink is rich, yet approachable and refreshing. The complexity no doubt depends upon the choice of ingredients. Dual base spirits is common among Tiki cocktails and that's probably how we would categorize this drink. For the aged rum we used the Venezuelan Pampero Aniversario which pairs nicely with other ingredients. It has rich cocoa overtones with a simple but delicious character that deepens when mixed with cognac. If you aren't making your own orgeat syrup, pickup a decent bottle. We've heard Small Hand Foods makes a wonderful orgeat.

 

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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Republic of Jam Cocktail Club: Irish Scallywags

Colonel Blood Cocktail

It's that time again when the masters of fruit preserves and culinary syrups gather their "citizens" for another quarterly Cocktail Club. When Republic of Jam puts on an event, it's sure to include an assortment of flavors to delight your tastebuds. This was no exception, and once again, we were invited to lend some creative cocktail ideas to the evening. One of the challenges we learned from last time was the fact that cocktails mixed in batches are served en masse and have to be prepared differently. Because all of the drinks get served as small samples on the rocks, none of them go through the typical construction process of shaking with ice. Proper dilution is normally a helpful byproduct, so we needed to take that extra water into account. By making these individually, you also have the flexibility of glassware choices and creative flourishes with the garnish.

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