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Vieux Mot

As much as we enjoy tracking down unusual ingredients and experimenting with new flavors, sometimes simple is best. Basic recipes with common ingredients that are worthwhile are often found in old cocktail books, but easy drinks are still being invented in the modern era. The Vieux Mot is a newer cocktail whose name translates directly to “old word” and means an old, witty saying.

Back in 2007, Cooper Spirits launched St-Germain, the much-loved elderflower liqueur that would quickly make its way onto every craft cocktail menu in the world. If you haven’t had the pleasure, grab a bottle and you will quickly understand why. Yet, with all of the experimenting that went on, many of the resulting cocktails were similar in flavor since the wonderful elixir can easily dominate. Because of this, we tend pass over our bottle more often than we should. Today, we are going to

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Jaguar

The first time we came across Amer Picon it was when we read the recipe for the Brooklyn Cocktail in Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh's excellent book, Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. At the time, we were more interested in exploring the Brooklyn variations, adored by many and no doubt our favorite class of modern cocktails (drinks like the Red Hook, Greenpoint, Bensonhurst and others). Yet, we never bothered with the Brooklyn, which seems almost absurd at this point. We will get there soon, however.

The problem with the original Brooklyn is the Amer Picon, a bitter orange ingredient from France that is simply unavailable in the US. There are alternatives. Ted Haigh recommends using Torani Amer which may or may not be difficult to find, while David Wondrich recommends subbing Amaro CiaoCiarro and orange bitters. Seattle's Jamie Boudreau even tried whipping up a house-made

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Randomizer

It is that time of the year again when we reveal secrets and innovative techniques of the cocktail world. While it has been a little quiet around here lately, Summit Sips has not been idle. This year, we believe we have unlocked the mystery of bartender creativity!

For years, we have enjoyed drinks at local establishments, reviewed recipes from afar, sampled ingredients new and old, and tested techniques for making great cocktails. Yet, through it all, we have struggled to comprehend how new drinks keep coming. How is it that every decent establishment is able to churn out one masterpiece recipe after another? How do bartenders do it, season after season, one incredible menu item after another? It is as if they are tapped into some stream of creativity that the rest of us poor fools can only dream about! After years of research, we finally found the answer,

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Sidewinder's Fang

In the circle of life, rattlesnakes will eat foolish little chicks. But as scary as that sounds, this is a relatively tame cocktail that is not as strong as you might expect given its name. The Sidewinder's Fang is tiki—through and through. Yet, unlike more challenging (and powerful) recipes such as the Zombie, this one is relatively easy to make once you have the right ingredients. It's also one of those drinks that can be fun with guests when you whip up a whimsical garnish.

This recipe comes to us from the menus of history, featured at the Lanai restaurant in San Mateo, California, circa 1960, but published more recently in Jeff Berry's Beachbum Berry Remixed. On paper, it seems simple enough, although like many tiki recipes, it features two kinds of rum. That may be a challenge worth accepting, as it never hurts to beef up

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Peep Shot

We heard a rumor that our old home team, the Minnesota Twins might not be serving beer this year at Target Field (if they lose the opener, ha ha). But all silliness aside, it's that time of the year again when the seasons change, the boys of summer start swinging their bats, and we unveil new and amazing ideas that you can use at home to create incredible cocktails. This is also the season when we notice strange and adorable items on retail shelves showing off their pastel colors, their whimsical packaging, and their unrelenting sameness. No, not vodka—we're talking about Peeps.

Peeps might be just marshmallows with a sugar coating, but for us, they mean so much more. Peeps evoke a memory—like a dream from a carefree childhood when our toughest challenge was finding hidden baskets of candy. Yet, as adults, aren't we more responsible than that? Instead

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Blinker

We have been interested in making the Blinker cocktail ever since we first made our fermented raspberry syrup. It is a classic drink often associated with raspberry, but the real star here is the grapefruit.

We used grapefruit juice from a Honeygold. This seasonal variety is only available from a few locations for about three weeks. It has white flesh, a thick rind, and is known for its delicious flavor without as much tart bitterness as other white varieties. While some cocktail recipes call for Ruby which is more popular year-round, we tend to like white grapefruit better for its intense flavor. The Honeygold falls somewhere in the middle, and for a recipe that calls for the white variety, we would like to try again with a more traditional white to achieve better balance with the raspberry syrup.

Blinker 2 oz rye whiskey .5 oz white grapefruit juice 1

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Fogerty

Some time back, we had the unusual pleasure of tasting a drink that combined the flavors of chocolate with Campari. We know, it sounds really strange, but if you think about it, people who love chocolate often reach for dark, bittersweet varieties. If you look at it that way, maybe it isn't so strange after all. Besides, it would not be the first time the flavor of an Italian Amaro was reminiscent of cacao's complexity, only here, we actually have cacao to thank for it. A few years ago, Imbibe Magazine published a cocktail called the Fogerty by Ryan Fitzgerald of ABV in San Francisco. We think it is a great drink for winter.

It is sometimes helpful to understand the backdrop of historical recipes that might have guided the creator of a cocktail toward a wining combination. Whether intentional or not, it is hard not to draw comparisons

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