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Drink Of The Week: Art Of Choke

Pursuing a casual interest in cocktails will lead you through some delicious modern recipes and most of the classics. In fact, many cocktail books, either by way of documenting recipe categories and development, or out of respectful obligation, take their readers through the same forty classic cocktails adding just a handful of embellishments and additions. While that may satisfy some, the more adventurous among us are constantly seeking new flavors and exciting combinations. It's not always necessary to go out of your way to track down hard-to-find ingredients—there are still plenty of daring and innovative drinks that any well-stocked bar can create. Such recipes may break a few rules and challenge conventional thinking, but together they serve, at the very least, as a reference and a source of inspiration for trade professionals. That was the idea, anyway, behind Kirk Estopinal and Maksym Pazuniak's Rogue Cocktails book.

The collectible

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Drink of the Week: Bitter Branch

Here's a nice cocktail to drink while curled up next to the fireplace. It's big and bold, salty and sweet, and a little bitter too. You could say it's everything but sour. It comes by way of Marvel Bar's Pip Hanson and appears in both The American Cocktail book and Northstar Cocktails. During the colder, darker months, it's hard not to get excited about cocktails like this one. It's also pretty easy to make for how complex it tastes, and it uses an ingredient we've never featured on Summit Sips until now.

The unusual ingredient is Nocino (no-CHEE-no), a dark Italian walnut flavored liqueur made from unripe green walnuts. The flavor is sweet, luscious and deeply nutty, but often still high in alcohol. We were first introduced to it a couple years back at the Bradstreet Crafthouse where it plays prominently in their Black Walnut Old

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Drink of the Week: Bensonhurst

Some of you may recognize the name of this cocktail as another Brooklyn neighborhood. That's because it's one of the variations of the Brooklyn cocktail, one of several modern recipes following the tradition of the Red Hook. We have already covered that and the Greenpoint and there are still many more to enjoy. All of them are essentially Manhattan variations using rye as the base, but they each have their own twist, swapping one liqueur for another or exploring something creative with the vermouth.

This one takes the somewhat unusual approach of using dry vermouth instead of sweet. It was created by Chad Solomon, once a bartender at New York's Milk & Honey. The result is a lovely golden gem of a cocktail that remains true to the style.

So, here's the thing with this drink. It's

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Drink of the Week: Jungle Bird

Last week we visited Hale Pele to kickoff a nice Tiki weekend. While the summer sun continues to shine, we thought we'd post the recipe for another cocktail we had there called the Jungle Bird. As tropical drinks go, this one's a bit unusual because it contains Campari. Because of that ingredient, it tends to lean toward the bitter end of the spectrum which is just perfect for us!

Even if you are not a fan of the bitter aperitivo or other bitter flavored cocktails, it's worth tasting the Jungle Bird. It's not as bitter as you would expect from three-quarters of an ounce of Campari. A healthy dose of pineapple and a little simple syrup and lime distracts attention away from the amaro. However, all of that pineapple doesn't overwhelm the drink either. It stays somewhat under the surface of an

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Drink of the Week: Cin Cyn

In some respects, our Drink of the Week was an inevitable recipe. It’s analogous to the primordial soup of amino acids that first coalesced to create life—given the right conditions, it was only a matter of time before tiny miracles started to happen. Now, imagine you are a bartender (or a famous Italian chef) mixing a classic cocktail, the Negroni, time and time again. One day, as you reach for your ingredients, instead of grabbing Campari, you pull out a bottle of Cynar. It’s an easy mistake—they were sitting right next to each other. Suddenly, you are experimenting with reckless abandon, swapping this for that and thinking, “Hey, this just might work!” Put a few good ingredients next to each other along with a basic formula for success and you are bound to create some tiny miracles of your own.

The Cin Cyn isn’t

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Drink Of The Week: Fangs Out

Last year during the month of October I shared a series of Halloween-themed cocktails that are all great classics. The Corpse Reviver No. 2, Satan's Whiskers, Trader Vic's El Diablo and Don the Beachcomber's Zombie. I couldn't let the month go by without adding another ghoulish recipe to the list. This year I am sharing my interpretation of something I had at the Bradstreet Crafthouse back in January.

Although it's no longer on the menu at Bradstreet, every time I look at the ingredients I am bitten. This is not for the faint of heart. First of all, it's an all-spirits drink, and while that has the benefit of avoiding fresh juices making it easier in some respects, it also

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Drink of the Week: Rurita

Not long ago we made some great rhubarb-infused vodka. What I never shared was that in addition to the vodka, I also infused some gin. I figured that while the rhubarb was still available I might as well try it. Then the May/June 2001 issue of Imbibe Magazine came out and there was a nice recipe for Rhubarb Bitters. Yep, I made that too, and as recipes go, this was not much more than chopping up some stuff and throwing it into a jar for a couple of weeks.

The "stuff" includes lots of rhubarb, some grapefruit peel, orange peel, and cinnamon all macerated in a jar of high-proof neutral spirits, then diluted some with water and sweetened with agave. It's not exactly bitter, but it has a great concentrated flavor that can be used to add complexity to cocktails or to season them to bring other ingredients

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