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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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Copita de Mezcal

A copita is just a little cup, and mezcal, as you might already know, is agave spirit—like tequila. It comes from the blue agave, a long-leafed desert succulent similar in appearance (though not related) to aloe. The plant is harvested, the leaves are hacked off, and the resulting core, called a piña, resembles a giant pineapple. These are roasted then crushed and fermented, and finally distilled. Categorically speaking tequila is also mezcal, but by definition tequila is more specific because it has to come from Jalisco. Anyway, we are talking about mezcal here which is similar in flavor, having all of the goodness you get from distilled agave, but often with additional smokiness reminiscent of the roasting process. Let's stop right here and mention that any bottle with a worm in it is just a marketing gimmick. Today, we have better choices than that, and there is some fantastic mezcal

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Bloody Mario

It is no secret that we are not fans of tomato juice. Consequently, we have never written about that famous classic, the Bloody Mary. Of course, we recognize that many of our readers probably enjoy this morning pick-me-up and it has been somewhat irresponsible to ignore it for so long. We thought it might be time to set aside our foolish challenges and come to the table with a working recipe. And then it hit us: While we may not like tomato juice, we absolutely love pizza! It's a wonder we hadn't thought of this before.

Just in time for spring, and for all of our fellow pizza lovers, we give you the Bloody Mario. No, it has nothing to do with video games or mustachioed plumbers in colorful suspenders. This is an honest cocktail, modeled after the Bloody Mary, but one with more Italian flair, like a slice of

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The Ferrari: a Bartender's Handshake

Often regarded as the "bartender's handshake", a shot of Fernet-Branca has become a modern fixture for bartenders visiting one another at their respective craft cocktail establishments. It is as much a nod from one professional to another as it is confirmation that, as a fellow enthusiast of the craft, your tastes have evolved to the point that an intensely herbal, bitter Italian aperitivo is a perfectly acceptable refreshment that doesn't require extra time mixing up a signature recipe.

Regular patrons can also sometimes upgrade their "bar table image" and gain immediate street credit by ordering Fernet, (or if it's not too busy, requesting a bartender's choice cocktail made with the stuff). Calling out Fernet-Branca is still unusual enough—even in better bars—that it might earn you a smile or a double-take from the bartender and occasionally leads to conversations about ingredients or recipe construction. But, sipping Fernet neat is just

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