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Drink of the Week: Oliveto

Over the past couple of years we have listed some of the best places in the Twin Cities to get a great cocktail. Although we firmly believe that the top of that list should be your very own home, it’s not always convenient to invite friends over or to make drinks for large groups. Knowing how to make a few great recipes is one thing, but having all of the ingredients to make anything or to try something new is something else. Even the best home bartender can learn a lot by watching the experts. It’s also nice to have someone else take care of everything for you from start to finish. Although such places don’t always last forever, a professional commitment to skillfully crafted drinks seems to be a growing trend, not just in

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Drink of the Week: Pink Lady

The name may not inspire you, but this drink actually surprised me. If you dig around in old cocktail books for this recipe you find that they are all different. Flipping through the pages of the Savoy, for example, you find a recipe that lacks the Applejack and has no citrus. It doesn't sound like something I want to try. You can find versions that add brandy to the mix and even some with cream. One might specify lemon while another will call for lime. It seems that darn near anything that had a light pink hue was once called a Pink Lady—a name you could just pass by thinking it's a girlie drink before you started comparing vintage recipes. Even Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh goes to great lengths in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails to avoid revealing the name of this drink until you turn the

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Drink Of The Week: Angostura

The Great Minnesota Get-together It's that time of the year again when Minnesotans make their annual trip to the State Fair. It sounds so old fashioned, but if you live in the Twin Cities, you already know that folks around here take it very seriously. It's not all pigs and agriculture, although they have that too. I tend to keep my distance from anything that smells like a barn, but it's either that or the deep fat fryers. Everyone seems to enjoy something different at the Fair, and some of us just look forward to all of the food. Old habits die hard. For instance, every year, I make my way to Sweet Martha's Cookies where I buy a bucket and walk it over to the "all the milk you can drink" stand. And every year, someone in the crowd says, "Whoa, what a great idea—chocolate chip cookies and

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Drink Of The Week: Sloe Gin Fizz

A Fizz—that sounds interesting, but sloe gin? Isn't that the sickeningly sweet red stuff from from when you were young and didn't know any better? Well, yes and no. And, that's a problem we need to overcome if we are to restore this drink to its rightful place as a refreshing classic. To get there, we need to understand a few things about our base spirit. Sloe gin isn't actually gin at all, or rather, it isn't gin anymore.

It's supposed to start as gin, but during an infusion of sloe berries (from the blackthorn bush, related to the plum), sugar is added and it slowly transforms into a liqueur. That seems straightforward enough. The problem is that American manufacturers have cheapened the process over the years to the point that most of what you find on shelves today isn't even made with gin. Untold artificial flavors and too much

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Drink Of The Week: Riviera, two ways

Sometimes I feature classics, sometimes a riff, and once in a while it's an exotic Tiki. There's not really a pattern to the Drinks Of The Week here at Summit Sips, but I do think it's important to understand classic recipes and techniques. Over the past year or so, some of the recipes (including a few that don't fall upon a Thursday) required a little more preparation to pull them together. Such cases usually involved preparing some homemade ingredient. That can mean making a better version of something you can find on shop shelves, or sometimes it's an opportunity to create your own version of an ingredient that's impossible to find anywhere. This week, I want to feature a recipe that relies upon a basic infusion for the base spirit. It's the Riviera cocktail by Toby Maloney, a popular favorite from The Violet Hour.


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Drink Of The Week: Campari Sour

Campari Sour scented with orange bitters

If any drink exemplifies the flavors that Campari has to offer, it's probably straight Campari, but besides that, our Drink Of The Week really shows off this wonderful bitter liqueur. It may be based on just a simple sour formula, but I am surprised how much I enjoy this drink. It's not very strong either which makes it a nice option before dinner.

I hope to feature other bitter cocktails as the year goes on, but I figure this one makes a nice conclusion to the previous post about potable bitters. The fact that this drink is also sweet and sour makes it a bit more accessible for someone starting to explore bitter flavors. If you aren't already a fan of Campari, this is a great way to discover what all the fuss is about.

Campari Sour 1.5 oz Campari .5

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STEP to the Dot to the HEN

STEP.HEN, keepin' it real, Yo.

Imagine my delight to find out that my brother-in-law enjoys the exact same vodka martini that I do: Ketel One with a twist. It's so simple that when I thought about posting something about it today for his birthday, I decided to take a more inspired approach—one with a few more "steps".

Eleven months ago my wife and I visited the man of honor in San Francisco where there's no shortage of great cocktails. During our visit, the better part of one evening was spent hanging out in the loft we rented, dancing and drinking Whiskey Sours. We also laughed about what our names might be if we were rap musicians.

Ok, so none of us is about to make it big in the music industry, but there's no reason we can't enjoy another cocktail dreaming about it, right? I decided to dedicate

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