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Halloween Party Cocktails

It's a question we get asked every year: What cocktail should I feature at my Halloween party? There are a lot different answers depending on what is important for your situation. We usually answer with a series of questions. How much work do you want to do ahead of time? How much work do you want to do during the party? Do you want to make something spirit-driven or citrus-based? How important is it for your theme to be represented (either in name or ingredients)? Your answers to these questions can be determining factors, so here's a list of possibilities with summaries and links to the specific details.

Batches and Bowls We usually always refer folks to large-volume solutions like Punch, Sangria, and Morganthaler's Gallon of Margaritas. We covered all of these in this post back in January. Even if none of them are for you, it's a good

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Grab your grapefruit for this one—but all you will need is the peel. If you don't have a grapefruit for cutting the garnish—shame on you, you will have to use lemon—but you should know that the grapefruit peel in this cocktail does add an aromatic nuance that is definitely worth the effort. We are referring to the Kojo, a contemporary drink that we recently enjoyed at Hamlet, a fun little restaurant in the Pearl District of Portland, Oregon. It's a sherry cocktail selected to pair with the Spanish jamón they serve, but the drink itself was created by Washington DC's Derek Brown. We recently featured Brown's Getaway cocktail, so it was a happy coincidence to find another one of his creations at a local hot spot.

The recipe splits the base evenly between Oloroso sherry and gin, then balances lemon juice with falernum and a bit of

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La Yapa

Sometimes we have to make tough decisions. For example, Derby Day or Cinco de Mayo? As a friend of ours recently said, you don't really have to make that choice—you can have a Mint Julep in the morning and Margaritas all day long! It's good advice, but instead of focusing on Kentucky or Mexico, we decided to break from tradition and feature a cocktail invented in Portland, Oregon with influences all the way from Argentina.

La Yapa is a wonderful whiskey cocktail based on a sour formula with a complex flavor profile. It was created by Jamal Hassan during his tenure at Whey Bar, boozy companion to Portland's Ox restaurant. Ox cuisine is Argentinian inspired, so it stands to reason that the cocktail program would have similar influences. More than one cocktail on the menu

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Drink Of The Week: Albert Park Swizzle

Every few years the first weekend in May brings a conjunction of two events—the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo. On some occasions the two events coincide on the same day. There are spans of time when that doesn't happen for over a decade, but every six years or so, May 5th lands on a Saturday. Each celebration is known for its respective cocktail. Derby Day's official drink is the Mint Julep, and what could be better for celebrating Mexican heritage than a Margarita? Even if thoroughbreds aren't your thing, it's hard to deny the luxury of sipping a Julep on a hot day in May, but you can say the same thing about the Margarita. So what's the solution? Make them both, right? In past years we have posted references and recipes commemorating one event or

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Drink Of The Week: Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

Mount Gay 1703 Old Cask Selection, Barbados

I am no rum expert, but I am learning, and although I have managed to collect a few bottles, there seems to be no end in sight. Rum (and related sugar cane spirits) are distilled all over the world. Some are made from molasses while others are distilled from fermented cane juice. Distilleries use column stills, pot stills and sometimes both. They can match the alcohol content of other spirits or create overproof varieties. There are light rums, gold rums, spiced rums and dark rums (enough to make an adult Dr. Seuss story). Some are bottled immediately and others get better with time. With qualities that used to be merely a result of storage and shipping, the finest rums in the world today are aged in oak barrels and carefully blended to produce flavors that could drive a whiskey lover to

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Drink of the Week: Zombie

It's the last of the Halloween cocktails, and we are finishing with a good one, the Zombie. This is another Tiki classic, but like many others in its class, this drink is rarely made properly. There's a good reason for that: the drink's creator, Don the Beachcomber, kept his recipes a secret from the world believing his unique, tasty creations were vital to sustaining his business. Over the years, plenty of knock-off recipes have appeared, but the original remained a mystery until recently.

If there is an expert alive today that knows more about tiki mixology than anyone else, it's Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. His research, along with that of several others, has produced a growing compendium of tropical masterpieces along with a few surprises. One of these is the original Don the Beachcomber recipe for the Zombie which appeared in a New York Times article. The Beachbum

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Drink Of The Week: Chartreuse Swizzle

A good friend of mine has been reading a collection of short stories by PG Wodehouse about a character named Bertie Wooster and his valet, Jeeves. He came across a passage in the 1924 classic “The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy” in which Bertie recounts his experience at an exhibition at Wembley in North London. There, he is drawn to a Planter’s bar where a man is mixing an unusual West Indian cocktail. Without going into specific detail, he simply states that the drink contains seven ingredients: “A planter, apparently, does not consider he has had a drink unless it contains at least seven ingredients, and I’m not saying, mind you, that he isn’t right. The man behind the bar told us the things were called Green Swizzles; and, if ever I marry and have a son, Green Swizzle Wooster is the name that will

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