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Drink of the Week: Hanky-Panky

After our first sip of Fernet-Branca we doubted there would ever come a time that we would actually enjoy the stuff. It's a common reaction. Since then, we have proven over and over that the rumors of its miraculous medicinal effects as a remedy for an upset stomach are all true, and through the years of occasional doses to help us ease digestion, it happened. Fernet was no longer the vile and bitter solution to mystery meal after-effects. Instead, we found ourselves actually enjoying the herbal complexity. We began to seek it out on bar menus looking forward to sampling cocktails whose creators attempted to incorporate its not-so-subtle signature. It's fair to say that today, we're big fans!

One of the first recipes you might run across when armed with a bottle of Fernet-Branca is the Hanky-Panky cocktail. Its creator, Ada "Coley" Coleman ran the American Bar at the Savoy

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Drink of the Week: Champagne Cocktails

ChamPino Cocktail

We have said it before and it still holds true: It’s never a bad time to open a bottle of champagne. Although we like to keep a bottle of bubbly in the refrigerator ready for any event, sometimes all it takes is dinner at home. There’s no reason it should only come out on special occasions. Whether you open a bottle of cava, prosecco, or real champagne from France, sparkling wine is great all by itself or as an ingredient for cocktails. Flavors vary, and so does quality and price, but you can make decent drinks with just about anything. We aren’t saying you should drink the cheapest stuff you can find, but you don’t have to break the bank either.

Over the years we have featured some popular uses for sparkling wine—the Mimosa, the French 75,

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Drink of the Week: Cin Cyn

In some respects, our Drink of the Week was an inevitable recipe. It’s analogous to the primordial soup of amino acids that first coalesced to create life—given the right conditions, it was only a matter of time before tiny miracles started to happen. Now, imagine you are a bartender (or a famous Italian chef) mixing a classic cocktail, the Negroni, time and time again. One day, as you reach for your ingredients, instead of grabbing Campari, you pull out a bottle of Cynar. It’s an easy mistake—they were sitting right next to each other. Suddenly, you are experimenting with reckless abandon, swapping this for that and thinking, “Hey, this just might work!” Put a few good ingredients next to each other along with a basic formula for success and you are bound to create some tiny miracles of your own.

The Cin Cyn isn’t

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Barrel Aged Cocktails Part 2

Click here for Part 1 to find out how this started.

Several weeks ago we featured a technique involving oak barrels and batched cocktails. In that post we described some of the details to help anyone get started aging their own cocktails in barrels. After many weeks of anxious anticipation (and a few sips along the way) we are finally able to share our results. Was it worth the wait? Are the cocktails really that good after sitting in charred oak barrels for over a month? Should you try this yourself? In a word, absolutely positively beyond-a-doubt YES.

You can see from the images that we reused empty bottles from the original base spirits and decorated them with the taped-on paper labels we made for the barrels while they were aging. We probably should grab a marker and write the dates that the barrels were opened

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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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Barrel Aged Cocktails

All the cool kids are doing it, so Summit Sips couldn't wait any longer. We just had to try our hand at barrel-aged cocktails. It sounds like a lot more work than it is, but of all the things we've tried, plenty of homemade ingredients and ice experiments have been a lot harder than putting cocktails into barrels. There's absolutely no reason you can't do this yourself, and that's part of the appeal. Using simple techniques that anyone can master to create amazing, original results is exactly why we write this blog.

You may remember a post from way back when we first visited Portland, Oregon. A couple of drinks at Clyde Common were aged in oak barrels, a technique being pioneered at that time by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. A few months prior to our visit, he posted a short

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Drink Of The Week: Fangs Out

Last year during the month of October I shared a series of Halloween-themed cocktails that are all great classics. The Corpse Reviver No. 2, Satan's Whiskers, Trader Vic's El Diablo and Don the Beachcomber's Zombie. I couldn't let the month go by without adding another ghoulish recipe to the list. This year I am sharing my interpretation of something I had at the Bradstreet Crafthouse back in January.

Although it's no longer on the menu at Bradstreet, every time I look at the ingredients I am bitten. This is not for the faint of heart. First of all, it's an all-spirits drink, and while that has the benefit of avoiding fresh juices making it easier in some respects, it also

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