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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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Holiday Gift Ideas 2015

It's that time of the year when folks like to give gifts, and we know it's sometimes difficult to find the perfect item for the mixologist in your life. Regular readers know that when we aren't scrutinizing over menus at local establishments, we like to spend our time trying new and old recipes, testing commercial ingredients, creating homemade ones, and testing various tools and techniques. At the end of the year we usually put together a list of things we recommend. Be sure to check out similar posts from years past to get ideas about tools and other items we have found useful.

Travel Cocktail Kit The past few months have allowed us to thoroughly field-test our version of a handy kit for mixing cocktails during commercial air travel. We think we have the best travel cocktail kit in terms of size and function. You can read all about

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Spotlight: Summit Sips Travel Cocktail Kit

Here's a great gift idea for anyone that travels, especially during the upcoming holiday season. We call it the Summit Sips Travel Cocktail Kit. It has undergone some improvements after being thoroughly field tested, and although you can make one yourself, we decided to save you the trouble. The Summit Sips Store has these in stock while supplies last.

The Summit Sips Travel Cocktail Kit is a compact, TSA-passable cocktail making kit designed to be included in your carry-on baggage for use aboard airplanes. It is the size of an Altoids tin and it allows you to make four (4) Old Fashioned cocktails with ease.

Complete instructions are always handy inside the lid of the kit.

How to use the kit: Two clear vials are 2/3 filled with sugar. A day or two before you travel, add water to the sugar to fill completely. Give the sugar and

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Holiday Gift Ideas

Every couple of years we run through a list of holiday gift ideas for the mixologist in your life. We have tried more tools and cocktail related products than anyone we know, so we think we have a good grasp of what works and what doesn't. It's safe to say that over the years we have collected some things that we really like—often "trading up" to better tools than we had before—and a we own a bunch of stuff we never touch. Here is a nice list of our favorite gift ideas. Some of them are special, some work better than anything we have tried, and others represent good values. We have also linked to these items for adding to your shopping cart.

Tools: Shaker Tins, Stirring Glasses, Spoons and Strainers Anyone wanting to make cocktails at home will eventually need a few essential tools. Depending on their interest, they

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Creative Holiday Gift Ideas

Assorted Syrups

One of the best gifts you can give someone interested in cocktails is booze. You don't even have to break the bank (although you might reconsider picking from the bottom shelf) because it doesn't have to be the rarest or the most expensive item in the shop. Pick a decent base spirit and you really can't go wrong. For example, there's no such thing as having too much gin for classic cocktails, and who would turn away a nice bottle of whiskey or rum? Certainly not me, so if you want a no-brainer gift idea that will be used and appreciated, look no further. The problem with this approach is that a bottle of alcohol may not be the most personal or creative gift idea. It will work as a last resort, but you can do better!

If a bottle of booze is the baseline, or the

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Holiday Gifts for the Mixologist

Last year, I put together a comprehensive list of important gift items for the Mixologist. It's still a good list, but this year, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Rather than list the basic necessities and repeat myself, I decided to write more detail about items I wish I had found sooner as well describe some of the coolest stuff on my wish list. Some of these items do fill the basic needs, but most of them are my favorites. With so many similar tools out there, it can be hard to decide what to buy without first having a chance to use them. Let my experience guide you.

Shaker Tins The most important item for making cocktails besides the ingredients is the shaker. I normally recommend a Boston shaker which is a glass and tin combo, but I upgraded to an all-metal shaker a while ago.

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Mixologist

For some people it's a burden and for others it's a joy—that time of the year when everyone is expected to exchange gifts. Whether or not you enjoy the holiday season there is one thing most of us agree upon: how frustrating it can be to try to come up with good gift ideas. Sure, there's amazing and expensive technology out there with plenty of fun gadgets that will be obsolete by this time next year, but how about a more traditional approach? Why not give a gift that will inspire or will teach, or will assist? I'm talking about useful gifts for the mixologist in your family.

A Shopping List I've written before about using good tools and technique with an emphasis on making the most of what you already own. That's fine for the rest of the year, but this is the perfect time to consider items

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