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Gilded Cage

One of the challenges often faced by cocktail enthusiasts is reconciling the fact that vodka—the most popular spirit in North America—isn't fairly represented in classic cocktail books. In fact, you just don't find mention of vodka in many of the old texts. It's as if no one had even heard of it until the Cold War when James Bond's martini and the Moscow Mule came along. Even here at Summit Sips we are guilty of tipping the scales out of balance. It's not intentional—we just don't cover as many vodka recipes as we probably should, given the likelihood that our readers probably want us to.

It might make sense from a historical perspective that—in order to cover more than a century of modern drinking culture with dozens of important classics—vodka could be considered a

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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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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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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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Kirkwood

Here's another cocktail in a long line of modern Manhattan variants. Well, technically, they are modeled after a classic called the Brooklyn cocktail which is itself based on the Manhattan. We've seen many of these wonderful Brooklyn concoctions such as the Red Hook, the Greenpoint, and the Bensonhurst, to name a few. In fact, we could probably go on for weeks writing about drinks named after neighborhoods all over Brooklyn, but today, we are finally featuring the Kirkwood which appeared in the November 2010 issue of Imbibe Magazine.

Named after an Atlanta, Georgia neighborhood (most of Brooklyn is spoken for), it is Leon's Full Service bartender Miles Macquarrie's contribution to this family of drinks. Not to be mistaken for the Edgewood, another cocktail named after

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Red Hood

A few weeks ago we posted a cocktail called the Briar Patch that is flavored and sweetened with jam. Of course, we turned to our favorite local shop, Republic of Jam for the featured ingredient. It turns out that they host a quarterly Cocktail Club event to share drink recipes that highlight their products, and this weekend we are invited as guest cocktail creator!

If you have been to the shop in Carlton, Oregon or visited the online store you know that they carry unique culinary syrups in addition to jam. It's easy to get overwhelmed with choices when every shelf has something you want to try. The Cocktail Club events help narrow the search by providing some inspiration in the form of samples. This quarter the theme is fables and fairy tales, and one of the recipes we submitted for the event on Saturday is

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Lucien Gaudin

The Lucien Gaudin is a Prohibition-era cocktail named for the extraordinary fencing champion who won olympic gold medals in the 1920's. We don't know exactly why this combination of ingredients was named for the famous fencer or whether he actually enjoyed this drink. Was it the French vermouth that brought to mind the most famous Frenchman of the day? Was it named after an elaborate bar fight? Cocktails have certainly been named for stranger things. There is probably a deeper story to this one, and although it's sometimes fun to learn such details, being in the dark doesn't change the fact that this is a good drink, even if its origin is somewhat obscure.

It falls into the aperitif category as a cocktail you might consume before a meal. Like the Negroni, this drink combines Campari with gin and

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