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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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For no particular reason, we decided to feature the Honeymoon cocktail. It's a drink we have eyed for quite some time that appears on the pages of Ted Haigh's Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. If you are unfamiliar with the book, it's both a fun read and an excellent resource. As "Dr. Cocktail" explains, the Honeymoon exists in print at least as far back as 1917 with some variations along the way. We are never shy about featuring another classic, but the truth is, we like this one because it tastes good!

You don't see a lot of recipes that use Calvados—too few in fact. French apple brandy aged in oak is a fine product worthy of your admiration and attention, and it always surprises us with how nicely it plays with other ingredients. When we are in an experimental mood, we often forget we have a bottle of

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Oahu Gin Sling

In our opinion—no, scratch that—this is just an indisputable fact: There's no better compendium of Tiki cocktails than Jeff "Beachbum" Berry's Remixed. So, when we feel like exploring drinks that remind us of the tropics, we look no further. Facing so many choices and a variety of unusual ingredients, we decided to search for a recipe that was fast and easy and didn't require us to buy something new. We settled on the Oahu Gin Sling for it's simplicity.

Historically, a sling predates the classic cocktail and stems from a period before drinks contained bitters. At that time, they also would not have had citrus, except as a garnish, amounting to little more than sweetened spirits. While modern versions with their added fruit juices and seltzer may not adhere to historic definitions, the fact remains that naming conventions are far less important than the flavors in the glass,

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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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Drink of the Week: Monte Carlo

To change it up a bit this week, let's try an "inverted" post for our Drink of the Week. We'll give you the recipe and a photo. Then, it's your turn. You make the cocktail and tell us what you think in the comments! How about it?

We will say just a few things to get the conversation started. First, the Monte Carlo is a classic cocktail in the truest sense: spirits, sugar, water and bitters. In this case, a little license is given in that water/sugar takes the form of DOM Benedictine which will definitely add some interest to the whiskey. Think of a Manhattan, only instead of sweet vermouth, you have Benedictine. Now, go forth and try one, then let us know what you think in the comments below:

Monte Carlo 2 oz rye whiskey .5 oz Benedictine 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice. Strain into a

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Drink of the Week: Bobby Burns

There aren't a lot of cocktails that feature Scotch as the base spirit, and because of that, you don't find very many here at Summit Sips. Over time, we'll slowly add to the list, but it's not the easiest spirit to pair with other ingredients. Besides, most folks that have Scotch like it the way they like it—on the rocks, neat, with water, etc.—and may not be interested in messing with their own personal traditions. Of course, that never stopped us. Let's see, we have the recent Saw Tooth, which is a wonderful way to use watermelon (who would have thought!), the Blood and Sand, an excellent classic, and there's the London Sour for a little Tiki action. But the most common cocktail is probably the Rob Roy, something we have never featured. That's

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Drink of the Week: Widow's Kiss

There's still a bit of chill in the air even though we have probably seen the last of winter. Even with warmer days, it can cool down overnight, so this cocktail seems appropriate. We could have put more focus on eggs or family gatherings this week, but we like the rich and complex herbal flavors in this drink so much we decided not to wait any longer to post it, especially as we begin our journey into the warmer months.

So, while it's still a bit cool outside, here's a wonderful spirit-driven recipe that pulls together a couple of our favorite components and uses a base spirit we don't see very often. Calvados is French apple brandy. In most respects it's similar to Applejack, but it has a softer, more refined flavor. That's probably a good thing in this drink because there is already plenty going on with the other

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