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Halloween Party Cocktails

It's a question we get asked every year: What cocktail should I feature at my Halloween party? There are a lot different answers depending on what is important for your situation. We usually answer with a series of questions. How much work do you want to do ahead of time? How much work do you want to do during the party? Do you want to make something spirit-driven or citrus-based? How important is it for your theme to be represented (either in name or ingredients)? Your answers to these questions can be determining factors, so here's a list of possibilities with summaries and links to the specific details.

Batches and Bowls We usually always refer folks to large-volume solutions like Punch, Sangria, and Morganthaler's Gallon of Margaritas. We covered all of these in this post back in January. Even if none of them are for you, it's a good

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Montego Bay

During a recent visit to the Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon, Brandon Lockman—the creative genius behind the bar—shared his recipe for a delicious cocktail on the menu right now called the Montego Bay. On the page, the recipe itself is basically a Daiquiri variant at its heart. But as we will explain, this one is complex enough for it to land somewhere in Tiki territory alongside frightful favorites like the Zombie—although it's not described that way on the menu. The fact that it uses Banks 5 Island Rum was enough to captivate our interest, and now that we can finally make a proper Paddington with it, we were eager for another great recipe to share.

We aren't entirely certain why Lockman calls this the Montego Bay—perhaps geography plays

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Le Coco

We love the "hunt" for ingredients to reproduce something delicious at home. Even after amassing an embarrassingly complete inventory of possibilities, this drink forced us to collect a few things we were missing. We recognize that not everyone will have the ingredients to make this cocktail—in fact, most of you probably won't—but for those of you adventurous enough chase down a few items—even if it means making some creative substitutions—please join us and share what you think of this unique creation.

First, we need to credit the drink's inventor, Tom Lindstedt, bar manager at Little Bird Bistro in Portland, OR. There are so many fantastic places to eat in Portland that it's almost impossible to justify returning to the same place twice, but we keep going back to Little Bird. So far, we have never had a single bite that wasn't totally satisfying and delicious (the cassoulet is wonderful!).

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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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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. . .

Chrysanthemum

Dry vermouth—it's hard to find another ingredient that is so important and yet so unloved by the masses. Vermouth is aromatized wine, and as any wine appreciator can tell you, once opened, it won't last forever. Oxidation begins immediately upon opening a bottle. For the first few hours oxygen might help elevate the flavors in a good wine, but what might have tasted great during the party is probably going down the drain the next morning—unless it was vacuum-pumped and sealed. Although vermouth is fortified with spirits, it still needs to be treated with respect. We doubt many readers treat theirs with the same care as a delicate wine. A warm cabinet and an opened bottle will quickly lead to horrible flavor. It's no wonder most people cringe at the mere mention of vermouth in their Martinis! If your vermouth has been collecting dust, unrefrigerated, it belongs in the trash,

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Paddington

If you are a frequent reader of Summit Sips (and we really hope that you are!) you may have noticed that activity here has slowed down a bit lately. You may have also noticed that we recently made a long migration to the Pacific Northwest. Moving takes its toll on free time with a never ending list of projects. It's an unfortunate coincidence because we often have a lot to share at this time of the year. But now that we are finally getting settled, it's time to resume where we left off.

The Paddington cocktail is one that we have been meaning to make for a while. It comes to us by way of Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail Book. This one was created by David Slape in the fall of 2008. It's another recipe that always makes the list of favorites from the book whenever you do a

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