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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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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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Palmetto

Despite the improved quality and availability of citrus in winter, colder months always seem better suited for spirit-driven cocktails. Whiskey usually comes to mind, but other spirits also fill the need. Many classics also include vermouth, and the most typical recipes seem to start with the letter M, such as the Martini, the Manhattan, and the Martinez. Setting gin and whiskey aside for the moment, there is another classic cocktail in this family that contains rum.

Most folks have never even heard of the Palmetto cocktail, not because it isn't any good, but because it contains vermouth. You see, vermouth has been mistreated over the years, often banished to the back of the cabinet only to collect dust. People claim they dislike the taste of it. We find this hard to believe—if such claims are made honestly, they

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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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Grilled Pineapple Southside

We have long been fans of the Southside cocktail, not that we always think to make it. It's one of those great summer drinks we like to make for guests (and taste what's leftover in the shaker) to help us remember how delicious it is. So, when Kelly Sanders over at House Spirits posted a grilled pineapple version on the Aviation Gin Blog—well, what could we do but fire up the grill!

First, let us say that if you are new to the Southside, or you simply haven't had one in a while, do yourself a huge favor and follow the link above and make that drink right now. It's simple and delicious, and although it does require some mint, you'll be happy you went through the minor trouble of getting some. Actually, why aren't you growing your own mint? Did we

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Drink of the Week: Painkiller

We don't post enough tropical Tiki rum drinks on Summit Sips. It's not intentional—it just works out that way. With winter behind us now and the magnolias in bloom, we thought it might be nice to catch up on a classic that we mentioned back in April of last year. We may not be quite ready to kick off our sandals and relax in the luxurious sunshine, but this string of 70-degree days and thundershowers has us thinking maybe we should get few summer recipes prepared. The Painkiller is a perfect drink to put on the summer menu, and unlike a lot of Tiki tranquilizers, this one is easy to make.

In order to make the Painkiller, you need to gather a few ingredients, but it's not nearly as difficult as you might think. First and foremost, you need coconut cream. Don't worry, we

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Drink of the Week: Toronto

The Toronto combines two things we love: rye whiskey and Fernet-Branca. Some accounts suggest that this drink was originally made with Canadian whisky which makes sense, especially considering that it’s called the Toronto cocktail. But there’s more to love when you make it with rye. We haven’t written too much about Canadian whisky. It’s a popular spirit, to be sure, represented by a multitude of brands in most liquor shops. We have nothing against the smooth flavor of Canadian whisky, but there’s a reason it doesn’t appear very often in recipes.

Canadian whisky (spelled without the “e”) is a blended product. Blended in this context refers to a spirit made by combining a pure distillate with neutral alcohol. For example, Laird’s Applejack comes in two varieties, a pure, bonded apple brandy and a blended version. The bonded Applejack is made entirely from distilled cider wine, whereas the blended version contains

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