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Ground Cherry Daiquiri

Ground CherriesIf you've never heard of them, ground cherries are odd little yellow-orange berries that look like miniature tomatillos. About the size and shape of a cranberry, they are firm and smooth, but like the tomatillo, they have a papery shroud over the fruit. The plant on which they grow apparently looks like a short tomato shrub, but here's the thing: they don't really taste like tomatoes at all. How does strawberry, pineapple, or maybe kiwi sound? We first discovered them three weeks ago at Bar Avignon in SE Portland. The ground cherries were served as part of an appetizer that we ordered and were meant to be paired with the cheese on the plate. Peeling open each light husk revealed the fruit inside, and after just one bite we knew we had to make a drink out of them. Fortunately, we found Naked Acres Farm selling them at a mid-week farmer's market in town.

With so many possibilities available to us we wanted to avoid taking this idea too far into obscurity. Instead of following an unusual fruit with more odd ingredients, we decided to go with the simplest option we could imagine. Since the flavor of the fruit is already a little sweet, and given its subtle similarities to strawberry, we opted to test the ground cherries in a daiquiri.

Ground Cherry DaiquiriGround Cherry Daiquiri
2 oz white rum
1 oz lime juice
.75 oz simple syrup
12 ground cherries

Peel the husks off of the ground cherries and muddle them with the simple syrup. Add the other ingredients and shake with ice. Double strain through fine mesh into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a pair of ground cherries on a pick.

Using only ten or twelve peeled and muddled ground cherries, we were able to impart a good amount of flavor into the cocktail. The lime juice definitely gave them a boost, and a little 1:1 simple syrup kept everything in balance. You really need to double strain this drink through a conical strainer or even cheesecloth to remove the tiny seeds and pulp. It's not something you have to worry about when you are eating them, but the seeds would look unsightly in a cocktail. We chose an inexpensive white rum for the base so as not to overpower the fruit with too much influence from the spirit.

From a flavor perspective, it worked so well that it left us wondering how far we could take the concept using other spirits. Certainly, gin would have brought additional botanicals to the glass that might have done wonders. We will have to do more experiments with darker spirits to see if the flavors clash. Using lemon instead of lime might work nicely with whiskey (or maybe even white whiskey). It might also be interesting to test grapefruit, or even move away from sours and bring in some vermouth or amaro. The possibilities seem pretty endless right now. Fortunately, unpeeled ground cherries have a great shelf life and we have a big bowl of them!

Rhubarb Blush

Rhubarb Blush

We have a lot of content to add to our compilation of bar reviews. There are so many great places to order cocktails Portland, Oregon and the list keeps on growing. One favorite restaurant is Pok Pok and what is often considered the Pok Pok waiting room—the Whiskey Soda Lounge. Here's one of their drink recipes that is easy to make and quenches the heat of a hot, spicy meal.

In the right season, rhubarb bitters are easy to make at home. Otherwise, you may be able to find Fee Brothers at your local shop. Once you do, pulling together this refreshing recipe is simple. Just combine equal portions of gin, lime and Aperol with a few dashes of bitters. Shake with crushed once and dump the whole works into a tall glass and garnish with

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Montego Bay

Montego Bay

During a recent visit to the Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon, Brandon Lockman—the creative genius behind the bar—shared his recipe for a delicious cocktail on the menu right now called the Montego Bay. On the page, the recipe itself is basically a Daiquiri variant at its heart. But as we will explain, this one is complex enough for it to land somewhere in Tiki territory alongside frightful favorites like the Zombie—although it's not described that way on the menu. The fact that it uses Banks 5 Island Rum was enough to captivate our interest, and now that we can finally make a proper Paddington with it, we were eager for another great recipe to share.

We aren't entirely certain why Lockman calls this the Montego Bay—perhaps geography plays

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Curfew

Curfew

What spirit driven cocktail is as dark as the night is long, bittersweet, features a favorite (and often controversial) Italian Amaro as the base, and is surprisingly delicious if you are daring enough to try it? The Curfew cocktail.

Last night, while waiting for our table at Toro Bravo in Portland, Oregon, we had the pleasure of Jesse's service behind the bar at The Secret Society cocktail lounge. We love the old vibe of the place almost as much as the solid menu of perfectly executed classics—most of which have appeared here on Summit Sips at one time or another over the years. In addition to the comprehensive menu of choices by spirit category, some of the most interesting options are on the chalk boards above the bar. These seasonal selections are

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A New Reviews Menu

Teardrop

Changes are afoot at Summit Sips. We moved the Archives menu item to the navigation sidebar and added a Reviews link to the main menu above.

We have always believed that the best cocktails are those you make yourself, but we are often asked to suggest a bar or restaurant that serves a good drink. Over the course of several years we have collected photos, recipes and experiences from locations around the country. We decided it was finally time to compile those details into a comprehensive list and make our notes available to our readers.

Obviously, we have not been to every good bar in the world so the list is short and has an emphasis on those locations where we have spent the most time. Our plan is to let it grow, day by day, place by place. It's also a work in progress and

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Cranston

Cranston

One of our favorite go-to cocktails to beat the heat of summer is the Mint Julep. Nothing quite compares to recipes that employ crushed ice for a frosty glass. And while you sip, the drink gets satisfyingly smoother and colder! Previous features like the Pontarlier Julep, the Port Light, or even swizzles like this one or that one are perfect examples. Using our freshly-made fermented raspberry syrup, we made this little gem to add to the growing list.

The Cranston was created by New York bartender Rafa García Febles. Rafa is a prolific cocktail creator and writer of the DrunkLab blog. In this simple recipe, he takes rye whiskey and

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Raspberry Cocktails

Columbia Cocktail

Columbia Cocktail

There are so many ways to use fruit in cocktails. Muddling fresh produce may be the easiest, but you can also freeze it for use off-season. More traditional options include preserving fruit as jams, syrups, shrubs or even liqueurs. We've been busy this summer with all of nature's bounty, and we'll be sharing some of our exploits in the coming months. Today, let's talk about raspberry syrup.

Making a syrup from raspberries is easy enough. The simplest recipe follows a basic formula of one part fruit juice with one part sugar. However, we wanted to take an approach that may seem a little unorthodox. According to the Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide first published in 1862, it's better to add another step to the process. Fermenting the fruit juice for several days through natural processes (including the unrestricted

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St. Stephen's Sour

St Stephens Sour

We'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

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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 was 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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