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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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Republic of Jam Cocktail Club

This past weekend we were invited to participate in the quarterly Cocktail Club at Republic of Jam. Being asked to contribute recipe ideas was an honor, and it was even more exciting to be there to answer questions and provide details about each drink. Citizens in attendance were genuinely enthusiastic about the whole process. Many had questions about everything from ice options to spirit suggestions. It was a joy to see so many people excited to participate.

Each of the recipes were made in large batches and poured over ice to make service fast and smooth. This was a smart choice given the sample size of each drink, but if you make some of these yourself, follow the directions. Some of these drinks are designed to be served up, in a stemmed cocktail glass (chill glasses in the freezer ahead of time and serve without ice). Good shaking

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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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Lion's Tail and Allspice Liqueur

During the cooler months of winter it seems like everyone is interested in baking spices. Cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and allspice are seasonal favorites. Micro breweries start to churn out winterfest beer selections and cocktail bars start infusing spirits. Winter drinks are great—who doesn't love a warm toddy or a Hot Buttered Rum to help block that chill in the air? It's easy to get into the spirit of such flavors by selecting certain ingredients and recipes that use them. Liqueurs like Becherovka and Drambuie are good options because they bring a spiced element to cocktails, but today, we will take a look at Pimento Dram, also known as allspice liqueur.

One of the forgotten recipes that appears in Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails is a drink called the Lion's Tail. It's a wonderful classic that features this resurrected

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Briar Patch

There are so many creative ways to sweeten a cocktail beyond using simple syrup. We have posted recipes over the years that make use of agave nectar, honey, liqueurs, and even jam. We love the idea of using fruit preserves as a way to add flavor, color and sugar. Jamie Boudreau's Breakfast Collins is a great example, and today we'd like to share another. This is called the Briar Patch cocktail and it was created by Portland's Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common. It appears in the book, The American Cocktail which features 50 recipes from craft bartenders across the country.

The basic concept is similar to Boudreau's recipe, taking a sour formula and using jam as a sweetener. Where Jamie's Breakfast Collins subs rum for the base spirit in a classic Tom Collins, the Briar Patch sticks with

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Poor Liza

We love drinks with Chartreuse so we are always on the lookout for when this ingredient pops up on a menu. There are a few bars around the country that have featured this drink because it's another masterpiece from the Violet Hour's Toby Maloney. We've been hanging on to the recipe for the Poor Liza for years but haven't been able to make it because we lacked the base spirit. It requires Poire William, or Bartlett pear brandy. Not to be confused with pear liqueur, this is a dry eau de vie—a true brandy made from whole fruit, fermented and distilled.

If you aren't familiar with pear brandy, you've probably seen the bottles—you know, the ones typically made in France with the whole pear remarkably contained within the bottle. We've always admired the novelty of growing fruit inside a bottle hanging from a tree branch,

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Honeymoon

For no particular reason, we decided to feature the Honeymoon cocktail. It's a drink we have eyed for quite some time that appears on the pages of Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it's both a fun read and an excellent resource. As "Dr. Cocktail" explains, the Honeymoon exists in print at least as far back as 1917 with some variations along the way. We are never shy about featuring another classic, but the truth is, we like this one because it tastes good!

You don't see a lot of recipes that use Calvados—too few in fact. French apple brandy aged in oak is a fine product worthy of your admiration and attention, and it always surprises us with how nicely it plays with other ingredients. When we are in an experimental mood, we often forget we have a bottle of

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