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Drink of the Week: Boston Bog

I have always wanted to make fresh cranberry juice, and you can find plenty of good recipes online that seem simple enough. Most of them describe putting cranberries through a blender or food processor, adding water, sometimes cooking them, sometimes letting the purée rest for some period, then straining the result. Then, it’s just a matter of adding sugar which helps bring that astringent flavor under control and counteracts the bitterness. The benefit is that you can add as little or as much sweetener as you like. The steps are straightforward enough, and I might try it some day, but for a single cocktail there had to be a shortcut.

The obvious solution is to simply muddle a handful of cranberries in your mixing glass and build the balance of flavor using other cocktail ingredients. That's what Misty Kalfoken of Drink, Boston does in her Boston Bog. This cocktail

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Drink Of The Week: Rural Juror

If you've ever had the pleasure to enjoy the culinary mastery of Chef Lenny Russo at the Heartland Restaurant in St. Paul, you might have also enjoyed an inspired beverage from their cocktail menu. It's great to see that a kitchen capable of churning out an ever-changing array of local, seasonal masterpieces doesn't completely overshadow its small but interesting list of mixed drinks. With names like the Jerry Thomas, Cardinal Kiss, and the Violet Beauregarde, there's plenty to keep your interest. I also appreciate the fact that they feature a classic Negroni, an Amaro Manhattan and a collection of ingredients that combine unusual liqueurs, bitters, and distilled spirits from the local region.

But, the cocktail that seems to evoke the most curiosity may also be the simplest. The Rural Juror isn't exactly a tongue-twister, but it's impossible

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Destination Portland: Clyde Common

Kimberly and I have a new favorite location for great food and even better cocktails, but it requires a little planning to get there from St. Paul. That's because this destination is all the way over the Rocky Mountains in Portland, Oregon. The object of our affection is Clyde Common, a Downtown/Pearl District hot spot that is helping to define the cocktail revolution.

Before I jump right into the cocktails, it's important to mention that first and foremost, Clyde Common is a restaurant. The decor has a basic, modern look that reminds me of a warehouse. The stenciled labels on the wall identify the "KITCHEN" or the "BAR" with a somewhat industrial look that is softened by wooden tables and candles glowing from every corner.

We were seated in front of the open kitchen at a huge table that seats perhaps 20 guests. This "common" seating arrangement was interesting,

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