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The Ferrari: a Bartender's Handshake

Often regarded as the "bartender's handshake", a shot of Fernet-Branca has become a modern fixture for bartenders visiting one another at their respective craft cocktail establishments. It is as much a nod from one professional to another as it is confirmation that, as a fellow enthusiast of the craft, your tastes have evolved to the point that an intensely herbal, bitter Italian aperitivo is a perfectly acceptable refreshment that doesn't require extra time mixing up a signature recipe.

Regular patrons can also sometimes upgrade their "bar table image" and gain immediate street credit by ordering Fernet, (or if it's not too busy, requesting a bartender's choice cocktail made with the stuff). Calling out Fernet-Branca is still unusual enough—even in better bars—that it might earn you a smile or a double-take from the bartender and occasionally leads to conversations about ingredients or recipe construction. But, sipping Fernet neat is just

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Barrel Aged Cocktails Without the Barrel

Let's jump right in with the details: We are using toasted oak chips and a charred oak stick in a mason jar to age scaled-up portions of our favorite drink recipes. The results are—in a word—amazing. We could also say surprising, or even easy. Given the fact that we have done true barrel-aging in the past, we were pleased to discover this time-saving alternative that produces results that are similar, if not better than the traditional method. It's so simple, in fact, that we plan to keep it going so that we always have aged, pre-mixed cocktails in the house. This is also so much more satisfying given the limited investment. It's hard to justify not doing this. If you have been thinking about making barrel-aged cocktails but haven't had a chance to track down a barrel—or perhaps you don't want to spend the money on

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Curfew

What spirit driven cocktail is as dark as the night is long, bittersweet, features a favorite (and often controversial) Italian Amaro as the base, and is surprisingly delicious if you are daring enough to try it? The Curfew cocktail.

Last night, while waiting for our table at Toro Bravo in Portland, Oregon, we had the pleasure of Jesse's service behind the bar at The Secret Society cocktail lounge. We love the old vibe of the place almost as much as the solid menu of perfectly executed classics—most of which have appeared here on Summit Sips at one time or another over the years. In addition to the comprehensive menu of choices by spirit category, some of the most interesting options are on the chalk boards above the bar. These seasonal selections are

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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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Red Hood

A few weeks ago we posted a cocktail called the Briar Patch that is flavored and sweetened with jam. Of course, we turned to our favorite local shop, Republic of Jam for the featured ingredient. It turns out that they host a quarterly Cocktail Club event to share drink recipes that highlight their products, and this weekend we are invited as guest cocktail creator!

If you have been to the shop in Carlton, Oregon or visited the online store you know that they carry unique culinary syrups in addition to jam. It's easy to get overwhelmed with choices when every shelf has something you want to try. The Cocktail Club events help narrow the search by providing some inspiration in the form of samples. This quarter the theme is fables and fairy tales, and one of the recipes we submitted for the event on Saturday is

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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: Eeyore's Requiem

When we first saw the ingredients for this cocktail at The Violet Hour in Chicago, we couldn't bring ourselves to order it. It seemed just too over-the-top with bitter ingredients. That was our first mistake. When the recipe appeared in Beta Cocktails, a book we recently mentioned in conjunction with the Art of Choke, we thought it might be time to check it out, but we never had the right combination of ingredients—most notably, we didn't have a Blanc vermouth. That was our second mistake. Today, we finally corrected both situations by picking up a bottle of Dolin Blanc and using it to construct one of the most interesting and surprising results we have tasted in a very long time.

Eeyore's Requiem is another recipe we have collected by Toby "Alchemist" Maloney, one of the

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