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Cold Brew & Tonic

Normally, we don't reach for tonic when we want a cocktail. The old G&T may be a popular choice, but we think it's because people don't know what else to make with gin. It's a shame because many of the best classic cocktails call for gin—not vodka—not only because vodka was unknown in the pre-prohibition era, but because gin brings something extra to a cocktail that simply isn't there otherwise—and we don't mean juniper. It may be a requirement in gin, but not all brands choose to emphasize juniper flavor, allowing other botanicals, citrus and even spice to play the center role. Yet, even with strong, piney examples, gin is transformed by other ingredients in a way that can be hard to explain to people who think they are gin-averse. But tasting is believing.

On a recent trip to Minnesota to visit some of our former haunts, we happened

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Coffee Cocktails

Coffee flavor in cocktails is nothing new. Classic recipes like Mexican and Irish Coffee are legendary. You also have coffee liqueur which shows up occasionally in recipes (one of our favorites is the Curfew cocktail), not to mention how easy it is to make an infusion. Drop a dozen beans into a bottle of vodka and in just a few days you have coffee vodka for a very interesting "martini". We happily admit to hosting more than one party with a creamy and sweet espresso cocktail on the menu! All playfulness aside, some readers know that we are actually pretty serious about coffee. We roast our own beans, pull shots of espresso at home, and we don't mind sharing our experience and knowledge with others. Ok, we are coffee snobs (this is the Pacific Northwest, after all) but we still get excited when new products come around that

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Curfew

What spirit driven cocktail is as dark as the night is long, bittersweet, features a favorite (and often controversial) Italian Amaro as the base, and is surprisingly delicious if you are daring enough to try it? The Curfew cocktail.

Last night, while waiting for our table at Toro Bravo in Portland, Oregon, we had the pleasure of Jesse's service behind the bar at The Secret Society cocktail lounge. We love the old vibe of the place almost as much as the solid menu of perfectly executed classics—most of which have appeared here on Summit Sips at one time or another over the years. In addition to the comprehensive menu of choices by spirit category, some of the most interesting options are on the chalk boards above the bar. These seasonal selections are

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Drink Of The Week: Irish Coffee

There's more than one way to make Irish Coffee, and everyone who enjoys this winter warmer may have their own particular preference. However, it shouldn't contain Irish Cream, nor any nutty liqueurs. It's not a flavored coffee pre-mix either. It's just a simple, warm drink that might be the perfect choice this weekend on a cold holiday evening. I'd like to walk you through the basic preparation so if you are new to this cocktail you can get the most out of it. If you already enjoy ordering Irish Coffee, here's how you can make this soothing sipper at home.

First, you will need some Irish whiskey. I'm no expert, but Jameson and Bushmills are both reasonably priced and easy to find. If you want to try a more expensive spirit, go ahead. Can you make a good drink with bourbon or rye? Probably—it's just not what we are making

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Infusion confusion? Not at all!

One of the easiest and most rewarding techniques to personalize your liquor cabinet is to do an infusion. Unless you have been living in a dry county for the past 15 years or you just don't get out much, you have probably seen the multitude of flavored spirits grow to a bewildering selection. Specifically, many vodka distillers have used flavors to diversify their product offerings and to dominate shelf space. However, some of the best infusions are those you make yourself.

Vodka as a starting point Vodka, by definition, is a neutral spirit. That means it is supposed to be flavorless. Some folks argue that all vodka taste the same while others maintain that differences—sometimes dramatic—can contribute flavor characteristics and affect smoothness. In any case, vodka makes a great starting point for customization because it will remain neutral, allowing your fruit, spices or whatever you are using to be the

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