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Batches and Bowls

Whether you are prepping for a weekend party or a spring picnic (we are probably several months early for that), you may be looking for ways to enjoy the event and the company of your guests without spending time mixing individual cocktails on request. Beer and wine are easy options, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice good flavors and quality ingredients just because you'd rather join the party instead of busily shaking craft cocktails. As log as you are willing to do some preparation a day or so ahead of time, you don't need to play bartender. We are talking about batched cocktails—a common request we get from friends who are either searching for the perfect recipe or are interested in techniques they can leverage to make the process easier once guests arrive.

For us, the Super Bowl refers to any vessel large enough to hold a batch of Philadelphia

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Egg Nog

For several years running we have resisted making egg nog after we read about a process that includes aging. This possibly ill-conceived idea starts with a basic egg, dairy and brandy recipe that accompanies an understanding that the alcohol will fortify the mixture and protect it from going bad during the weeks or months it is allowed to age. Although we have seen other references to aged egg nog, we never completely understood why aging is even necessary. Do eggs and dairy improve with time? Certainly, flavors can develop as ingredients are allowed to combine, but aging a homemade recipe with raw eggs and milk doesn't sound very appealing. Such a notion seems borrowed from the 1988 sci-fi film Alien Nation in which Newcomer Sam Francisco (a humanoid extra-terrestrial played by Mandy Patinkin) guzzles past-due cartons of sour milk as though it were fine wine, checking the sell-by-date and proclaiming

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St. Stephen's Sour

We're all about refreshing summer drinks these days—the easier to make them the better. Most of the time that means tall, simple cocktails without many ingredients. Warmer weather usually pushes us toward refreshing citrus and carbonation as opposed to spirit-driven sippers, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't admit that exceptions do exist. For instance, we can't stop enjoying a strong Mint Julep, nor resist the temptation of more complicated drinks like the Mai Tai. These never fall out of rotation for us, but this month's Imbibe Magazine (July/August 2014 issue) has a great selection of recipes that we probably need to add to our repertoire. One of them stood out as both refreshing and easy to make while still retaining a some complexity and interest. It was

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Le Coco

We love the "hunt" for ingredients to reproduce something delicious at home. Even after amassing an embarrassingly complete inventory of possibilities, this drink forced us to collect a few things we were missing. We recognize that not everyone will have the ingredients to make this cocktail—in fact, most of you probably won't—but for those of you adventurous enough chase down a few items—even if it means making some creative substitutions—please join us and share what you think of this unique creation.

First, we need to credit the drink's inventor, Tom Lindstedt, bar manager at Little Bird Bistro in Portland, OR. There are so many fantastic places to eat in Portland that it's almost impossible to justify returning to the same place twice, but we keep going back to Little Bird. So far, we have never had a single bite that wasn't totally satisfying and delicious (the cassoulet is wonderful!).

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Republic of Jam Cocktail Club

This past weekend we were invited to participate in the quarterly Cocktail Club at Republic of Jam. Being asked to contribute recipe ideas was an honor, and it was even more exciting to be there to answer questions and provide details about each drink. Citizens in attendance were genuinely enthusiastic about the whole process. Many had questions about everything from ice options to spirit suggestions. It was a joy to see so many people excited to participate.

Each of the recipes were made in large batches and poured over ice to make service fast and smooth. This was a smart choice given the sample size of each drink, but if you make some of these yourself, follow the directions. Some of these drinks are designed to be served up, in a stemmed cocktail glass (chill glasses in the freezer ahead of time and serve without ice). Good shaking

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Raspberry Shrub

The concept of balancing sweet with sour in cocktails has been around for a very long time. Most of us associate lemons and limes with the acid side of that formula, but there are more ways than citrus to add sour to beverages. One solution common in the culinary world is vinegar. Coupled with fruit and sugar, this is known as a gastrique, but in liquid culture we call it a shrub.

Shrubs or drinking vinegars may not sound like a good idea to many people. We think this negativity probably comes from the idea that when a wine turns bad, it transforms into vinegar, and you don't want to be sipping bad wine! And yet, nobody has a problem using it to make salad dressing. The truth is, shrubs have been an important part of drinking history since the 15th century. And although the origins may be traced back

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Drink of the Week: Metropole

There's a certain level of comfort when it comes to the classics. There was no Tiki movement, no vodka, and folks knew what to expect from a cocktail. By today's standards, times were simpler then, although it's all relative. Still, we think there is virtue in exploring basic, spirit-driven recipes that have stood the test of time—and some that have become lost in it. The Metropole is one such drink.

Originally the house cocktail for the Metropole Hotel in New York City, this brandy based drink has survived since the late 1800s while the hotel where it was created is long gone. It's a common story shared by many classic cocktails, although in our opinion, too few of them contain brandy. It's a simple enough formula, but it has changed somewhat over the years.

Metropole 2 oz cognac 1 oz dry vermouth .5 teaspoon simple syrup 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

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