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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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Poi Dog

We expected great flavors from cocktails in Maui during a recent trip to the island. Given the fact that they have such ideal growing conditions for fresh ingredients, we were hoping for wondrous citrus, pineapple and coconuts, or muddled passion fruit and mangoes. At the very least, we thought we would find a decent tiki concoction. But like many tourist destinations, the resorts (at least in West Maui) are setup for high-volume service for vacationing beach bums and sun bunnies not discerning cocktail enthusiasts. Sure, you can order a Mai Tai, but you don't really know what you are going to get. Most of the time it's sugary mixers and rum. Nobody seems interested in geeking-out with bartenders crafting world-class drinks. Some restaurants still loosely throw around the word "Martini" to describe their ridiculous list of vodka-based sugar-blasts. Visitors seeking spirit-driven classics can forget it. Italian bitters are

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Turn Signal

Here's a fun cocktail that is easy to make and tastes great. It's an easy-drinking whiskey concoction that is reminiscent of a sour, but instead of the acidic tang, you get a lightly bittersweet raspberry effect. Grapefruit juice isn't a tart citrus—if anything, it's a little sweet and bitter—and what better time to explore it than at the end of winter. Sure, you could wait for warmer months to make this as a refreshing thirst quencher, but we would rather grab the fruit now and enjoy it. In addition to grapefruit which is enhanced by the Campari, the Turn Signal also contains raspberry syrup. You can make this easily enough by following our fermented raspberry syrup recipe, but you don't have to take that much time if you don't want to. You could just puree some fresh or frozen berries, strain the juice and add sugar.

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Gilded Cage

One of the challenges often faced by cocktail enthusiasts is reconciling the fact that vodka—the most popular spirit in North America—isn't fairly represented in classic cocktail books. In fact, you just don't find mention of vodka in many of the old texts. It's as if no one had even heard of it until the Cold War when James Bond's martini and the Moscow Mule came along. Even here at Summit Sips we are guilty of tipping the scales out of balance. It's not intentional—we just don't cover as many vodka recipes as we probably should, given the likelihood that our readers probably want us to.

It might make sense from a historical perspective that—in order to cover more than a century of modern drinking culture with dozens of important classics—vodka could be considered a

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Montego Bay

During a recent visit to the Red Star Tavern in Portland, Oregon, Brandon Lockman—the creative genius behind the bar—shared his recipe for a delicious cocktail on the menu right now called the Montego Bay. On the page, the recipe itself is basically a Daiquiri variant at its heart. But as we will explain, this one is complex enough for it to land somewhere in Tiki territory alongside frightful favorites like the Zombie—although it's not described that way on the menu. The fact that it uses Banks 5 Island Rum was enough to captivate our interest, and now that we can finally make a proper Paddington with it, we were eager for another great recipe to share.

We aren't entirely certain why Lockman calls this the Montego Bay—perhaps geography plays

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Aprile

Yes, we waited until spring to try this recipe, but outside of the name, there wasn't a good reason to delay. If you are already a fan of grapefruit cocktails, you'll appreciate that this one is both delicious and refreshing. It's also quite low in alcohol so you won't feel bad after slurping down a couple. For the unacquainted, hit up your local supermarket and get familiar with what you have been missing.

We've become a big fan of grapefruit juice in cocktails. It's something of an unsung hero in recipes that feature it. As citrus goes, it lags behind lemon and lime in terms of popularity as an ingredient, but we are constantly impressed with how successful it can be in a mixed drink. It certainly outshines orange juice which tends to fall flat, and it's usually doing more than

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Kirkwood

Here's another cocktail in a long line of modern Manhattan variants. Well, technically, they are modeled after a classic called the Brooklyn cocktail which is itself based on the Manhattan. We've seen many of these wonderful Brooklyn concoctions such as the Red Hook, the Greenpoint, and the Bensonhurst, to name a few. In fact, we could probably go on for weeks writing about drinks named after neighborhoods all over Brooklyn, but today, we are finally featuring the Kirkwood which appeared in the November 2010 issue of Imbibe Magazine.

Named after an Atlanta, Georgia neighborhood (most of Brooklyn is spoken for), it is Leon's Full Service bartender Miles Macquarrie's contribution to this family of drinks. Not to be mistaken for the Edgewood, another cocktail named after

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