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Drink of the Week: Take 3

About a month ago, the New York Times published an article about summer cocktails. One of these was a highball that included the unlikely combination of St-Germain and Cynar. Leave it to Zachary Gelnaw-Rubin of Dutch Kills, Queens to take an artichoke-flavored amaro and mix it with elderflower liqueur and lemon juice. The simplicity of these three ingredients has a certain elegance to be sure, but it's an unexpected combination that for me, earns this cocktail more than just a catchy name.

What really drew me in was the fact that there is no base spirit—at least not in the traditional sense. There's no gin, vodka, whiskey—just the amaro kept company by some liqueur. A seductive and complex category of spirits dominated by dark and brooding herbal characteristics, an amaro is normally used to augment the flavor

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Drink of the Week: Norwegian Negroni

It's easy to find inspiration in cocktail books or to look at other websites for ideas, but nothing quite compares to the sights, sounds and flavors of a working bar or restaurant. It affords you the opportunity to try something new and to sample ingredients you might not own. Since I happen to be traveling this week, I sought assistance from professionals for the Drink of the Week and I am pleased to share my experience from here in Portland, Oregon.

You may recall last year during a visit to the City of Roses (Bridges, Mountains, Cocktails, etc.) I had the chance to try a barrel-aged libation. This year, I set my sights on the Southeast side and made my way to Beaker & Flask. We sat at the end of the bar and ordered our first round from the menu. My wife selected the Fortunate Son, a

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Oscar Cocktails

“And the nominees for Best Supporting Cocktails are. . .” Wait, “Best what?” Ok, that’s crazy, but if the Academy asked me who should be nominated for this category, I’d steer them toward this recent article in the New York Times. Have a look at some of the Oscar-contender-inspired cocktails and you tell me who should win! In the past, my wife and I have often hosted Oscar parties, but this year, like the last several, we have chosen to keep it simple so we can enjoy the event on our own. That doesn’t mean we aren’t shouting at the television or cheering our own selections from this year’s ballot. Still, party or not, it’s a lot more fun with a good cocktail, so imagine my delight when I spotted the Jeremy Renner cocktail in the Times this morning. I just had to try it.

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Be A Better Bitter Imbiber

It's probably long overdue, but I finally decided to write a few words about the bitter side of the cocktail spectrum—this time to outline some specific ingredients that impose this unusual nuance of flavor. The subject has surfaced before in drinks like the Negroni, and in homemade ingredients such as Tonic Water. Yet, Americans are are only just starting to understand the appeal of bitter beverages, so if this all sounds unusual or makes you feel uneasy, you're not alone.

Expanding Palate For a cocktail enthusiast, the process of experimentation, and in many cases, the discovery of favorite drink recipes, can be likened to a chef, working through the pantry toward delicious dinner combinations. Each ingredient opens doors to new flavors that bring challenges and opportunities. Early favorites are often sweet concoctions that find refuge with the sours, where the quest for balance and variety can sustain

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Destination Portland: Clyde Common

Kimberly and I have a new favorite location for great food and even better cocktails, but it requires a little planning to get there from St. Paul. That's because this destination is all the way over the Rocky Mountains in Portland, Oregon. The object of our affection is Clyde Common, a Downtown/Pearl District hot spot that is helping to define the cocktail revolution.

Before I jump right into the cocktails, it's important to mention that first and foremost, Clyde Common is a restaurant. The decor has a basic, modern look that reminds me of a warehouse. The stenciled labels on the wall identify the "KITCHEN" or the "BAR" with a somewhat industrial look that is softened by wooden tables and candles glowing from every corner.

We were seated in front of the open kitchen at a huge table that seats perhaps 20 guests. This "common" seating arrangement was interesting,

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Bitters, Bitters and More Bitters

Yesterday, I attended the "Mixology 3: Make Your Own Bitters" event organized by Studio Bricolage and hosted by the Bradstreet Crafthouse at the Graves 601 Hotel. I was one of about 40 individuals in attendance at what was the third event in a mixology educational series. Although I missed the first two installments, I was happy to finally attend. I found this event to be hands-on and informative and I thought I would post a quick review.

Everyone was pre-registered, so we were greeted at the entrance with printed name tags and a chilled cocktail—a fantastic way to start. Rocky Mountain Punch which is a heavenly mixture of rum, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice, champagne or pineapple juice with Angostura bitters made a pleasant and refreshing introduction to the topic of the afternoon: Bitters.

The group was divided into two sections. Some were led into the back

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