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White Whiskey

White whiskey has many names. It can be marketed as white dog or white lightning, or even the yokel moonshine, although that usually refers to illicit varieties. A few things are clear, however, besides this unusual spirit. First, it is an unaged product, meaning it does not typically spend time in oak barrels. Second, because it is whiskey, it is a distillate made from fermented grain. This is where products differ. Depending on the grain used, where it is farmed, the water added, and of course, the distillation process itself, one white whiskey can taste dramatically different from another.

Traditionally, whiskey is thought of as a "brown" spirit, but all of that color and much of the flavor comes form the aging process. Time spent in charred oak barrels allows the high concentration of alcohol to extract flavors from the wood. Caramel, vanilla, smoke, fruit, spices—these are all derived from

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Coffee Cocktails

Coffee flavor in cocktails is nothing new. Classic recipes like Mexican and Irish Coffee are legendary. You also have coffee liqueur which shows up occasionally in recipes (one of our favorites is the Curfew cocktail), not to mention how easy it is to make an infusion. Drop a dozen beans into a bottle of vodka and in just a few days you have coffee vodka for a very interesting "martini". We happily admit to hosting more than one party with a creamy and sweet espresso cocktail on the menu! All playfulness aside, some readers know that we are actually pretty serious about coffee. We roast our own beans, pull shots of espresso at home, and we don't mind sharing our experience and knowledge with others. Ok, we are coffee snobs (this is the Pacific Northwest, after all) but we still get excited when new products come around that

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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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Travel Cocktail Kit: Tested and Improved

Last December, we wrote about a fun DIY concept: The Summit Sips Travel Cocktail Kit. If you recall, this was based on a commercial product idea whereby the traveling cocktail enthusiast packs a small tin in their carry-on baggage. Once in flight, you open the tin to reveal sugar (rich simple syrup in our case), bitters, and a spoon. Upon ordering some whiskey and and a glass of ice from the attendant, the kit allows you to construct several Old Fashioned cocktails for in-flight enjoyment. Not all of us can afford to fly first-class, so this is a great way to elevate your air travel experience—especially while sitting in the cheap seats. Over the summer, we had an opportunity to finally test our kit. We also heard from several readers about their own experiences and ideas, so we decided to post a follow up.

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A New Reviews Menu

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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Drink of the Week: Absinthe Frappe

Chances are, if your local liquor store even has absinthe for sale they probably have a limited selection. And by limited, we mean one or maybe two different brands. Absinthe isn't cheap, so when you finally do take the plunge and add a bottle to your cabinet, it's nice to have several options given the wide range of international possibilities these days. Even if you do have several choices, it's not like shops are breaking out their selection to hold absinthe tasting for their customers. So, how to you choose? We were excited to find out that at least one online retailer is doing something about that.

If you start doing a little research you quickly realize that unless you know exactly what you want, buying spirits online isn't any easier than browsing a storefront full of sealed bottles. But the folks at Click here and take a bigger gulp of this article. . .

Review: NewAir AI-215SS Portable Ice Maker

Every so often, we have an opportunity to review new products to see how well they might work for the home mixologist. Recently, we had the pleasure of trying the NewAir AI-215SS Portable Ice Maker. For several years now, we have seen similar devices in catalogs and gadget advertisements and and we always wondered how these miraculous machines actually work. It's never obvious just looking at a picture, and even in a store you may not know what to expect. We thought Summit Sips readers would appreciate an honest assessment after some hands-on experience with one of these.

The Shipment It only took a few days once confirmed by NewAir for the shipment to arrive. The unit came nicely packed and very well protected for the journey to our door. Ours is a top-of-the-line stainless steel model, although the top lid is black. The exterior surfaces came with

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