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Drink of the Week: Stinger

It's not too early to start thinking about the winter holidays. It occurs to us that some readers might already be in the planning stages of cocktail parties and family gatherings. If you like to decorate with festive colors, it's easy to carry the effect into your drink selection. It's easy find red cocktails: look no further than the Boulevardier, Red Hook, or just about anything with Campari or sweet vermouth. However, you don't find many green cocktails. There's the Chartreuse Swizzle, but that one has more of a yellow tint. But, what about a true classic? The Stinger cocktail has a variation called the Green Hornet that would look right at home at a holiday party.

But, when was the last time you heard someone order a Stinger? For us it was probably a couple

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Drink Of The Week: Between The Sheets

Here's a cocktail that combines two base spirits, brandy and rum. It's a prohibition era recipe that takes inspiration from the Sidecar, a delicious and flavorful drink that was itself the predecessor to drinks like the Margarita. That puts us squarely in the sour family, though there are differing opinions about how sour you should make it.

Whenever we make a sour style cocktail we are combining something sweet with something acidic. Like the Sidecar, the Between The Sheets cocktail plays lemon juice against Cointreau, though the lemon plays a less prominent role in this drink. And that's where documented recipes and opinions differ. Most references position the orange liqueur at a ratio equal to half that of the combined base spirits, but the amount of lemon juice tends to vary. There are recipes that call for a

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Drink of the Week: Champs Élysées

Here is an excellent tipple to add to your weekend repertoire. You might have seen this one appear on the menus at some of your favorite craft cocktail bars recently even though it's more than 80 years old. It dates at least as far back as Harry Craddock's Savoy Cocktail Book. This is one of those rediscovered recipes that seems to have legs—bars that were once excited about the Aviation and later, the Last Word are putting this drink into rotation. And they should, because this is a wonderful cocktail.

Of course, the Champs Élysées name is a reference to the fashionable tree-lined avenue in Paris, possibly because of the French ingredients. Certainly, a good French Cognac is going to help the flavor of this drink to a point, but spending too much on the base

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Drink of the Week: Eastern Sour

This Drink of the Week week is actually three drinks in one. The Eastern Sour is the first of a small family of sour cocktails invented by none other than Trader Vic, one of the founding fathers of the mid-century Tiki movement. Although it isn't as complex or as difficult as many Tiki drinks, for some people that's not necessarily a bad thing. The more ingredients—or often, the more obscure the ingredients—the less likely most folks will be able to execute the recipe. At least that was my theory as I looked for a tropical style drink to post this week. I thought we needed a change from all of the Manhattan variations I have been posting.

My source of reference is a groovy little iPhone/iPad app called Beachbum Berry's Tiki+. This app was developed with the full endorsement of Jeff "Beachbum" Berry and it's filled with recipes

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Drink of the Week: Brandy Crusta

The original definition of cocktail first published in 1806 was a simple combination of spirits, sugar, water and bitters. Drinks like the Old Fashioned and the Sazerac are good examples that have stood the test of time. Yet, recipes evolve, and it didn't take long for substitutions to occur. For example, instead of sugar and water, why not use simple syrup? And if you wanted a little exotic flair, perhaps you could even use a liqueur to sweeten your cocktail. At some point, citrus was introduced and by the time "Professor" Jerry Thomas wrote The Bar-Tenders Guide in 1862, the updated combination had a name. The Crusta was a fancy creation, all decked-out with a sugared rim and a huge lemon peel for a garnish. The good Professor predicted that the Crusta would eventually outshine the Cocktail.

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Drink of the Week: Sangria

Some of you may know that I have a sister who lives in Spain. Over the years, she has shared some wonderful stories about life in Europe, but when it comes to cocktails, she usually talks about Sangria. Essentially a wine-based punch, Sangria is a great party beverage. It’s normally made in batches and tastes better if the ingredients are allowed “get to know each other” while chilling in the refrigerator. That means you can and should make it ahead of time. With the Fourth of July holiday just around the corner, it seemed like the perfect time to mix up some of this delicious potion. I also thought it might be interesting to see how my own basic Sangria recipe stacks up against my sister’s experiences in Barcelona and to share some of her insights about what works and what doesn’t. In the end, this highly customizable drink should

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Drink of the Week: Sleepy Head

Here's another fantastic ginger cocktail, but not a new one. It's the Sleepy Head, and it dates back at least as far as 1930 when it appears in Harry Craddock's The Savoy Cocktail Book. If you are a fan of the Moscow Mule, or if you tried the Mamie Taylor, I think this cocktail has them both beat. However, the early version is a bit simpler than what we have here. The adjustments are subtle, but I think the cocktail is better for it

The first change results in a stronger boost of orange flavor. The basis for this updated comes from Jeff Hollinger of the Absinthe Brasserie in San Francisco. While Craddock's book calls for just an orange peel, Hollinger keeps the garnish but takes the flavor a step further by

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