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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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Republic of Jam Cocktail Club: Irish Scallywags

It's that time again when the masters of fruit preserves and culinary syrups gather their "citizens" for another quarterly Cocktail Club. When Republic of Jam puts on an event, it's sure to include an assortment of flavors to delight your tastebuds. This was no exception, and once again, we were invited to lend some creative cocktail ideas to the evening. One of the challenges we learned from last time was the fact that cocktails mixed in batches are served en masse and have to be prepared differently. Because all of the drinks get served as small samples on the rocks, none of them go through the typical construction process of shaking with ice. Proper dilution is normally a helpful byproduct, so we needed to take that extra water into account. By making these individually, you also have the flexibility of glassware choices and creative flourishes with the garnish.

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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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Secrets of the Past: Old Cocktail Books

Anyone with a sustained interest in cocktails inevitably collects a few books. Some of us find pleasure in the obscure, letting a beat-up vintage tome transport us to another place and time. Such was the case last holiday season when we were presented a gift of several old cocktail volumes. One of them entitled Prelude to Pleasure by Ogden Nash was published in 1934 as a 1000 copy limited edition for the Continental Distilling Corporation of Philadelphia. What made this book so intriguing wasn't the poetry or the dated photos and kitschy line art—it was the handwritten recipe on the last page.

The rest of the book confirms some delightful classics that appear in other publications, but we wanted to know more about this personal notation. The book was purchased in a used bookstore in St. Paul, Minnestota, and a little research reveals that a Charles Nybeck did indeed live

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Golden Dawn

As the cooler months of autumn begin to replace the summer's heat, we often think of cocktails made with apples and darker spirits. So often, the drinks we post here at Summit Sips are either spirit-driven, bitter, or they end up balanced slightly toward the sour side of the spectrum. Here's a drink that will appeal to those of you who like something a little sweeter looking for a pleasant sipper as the leaves change. There are several versions of the Golden Dawn which originated around 1930, but this one seems to be the most interesting because it retains a depth of flavor while keeping the sugar under control. It comes to us by way of Ted Saucier's Bottoms Up, a risqué cocktail book first published in 1951. It's also one of those drinks that gets away with exactly equal proportions.

Golden Dawn .75 oz Calvados .75 oz

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Drink of the Week: Commodore

We have been enjoying the second season of Boardwalk Empire, the HBO television show set in Atlantic City during Prohibition. On the show there is a character played by Dabney Coleman who is called the Commodore. This reminded us of a cocktail we mentioned a few years ago. We suggested it as a classic recipe you could try that makes use of homemade grenadine, but we never actually reviewed the drink itself.

Whether you like the TV series or not, this is a delicious drink worth trying. It's based on a whiskey sour formula, but instead of using simple syrup to balance the lemon juice, the Commodore uses creme de cacao, a chocolate flavored liqueur that has appeared a few times before in the 20th Century, the Floridita and the Chimp in Orbit. It may not be the first time we have used creme de cacao,

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Drink of the Week: El Presidente

It may be long overdue, but we are finally getting around to posting about the El Presidente cocktail. We mentioned this drink way back in November 2009 but never provided a recipe. That's because it was one in a list of several classics you could make with grenadine and we placed our focus on a homemade recipe for this wonderful syrup. It's been a while since we've touched on this ingredient, and even though the El Presidente contains just a tiny portion of the stuff, there are plenty of other great classics that employ pomegranate syrup to sublime effect. Of course, you have to use the real deal, not an artificially flavored bottle of corn syrup. It seems appropriate to briefly revisit the details.

The sad truth is that the most common store-bought brand of grenadine is excruciatingly bad for cocktails. It’s supposed to be a syrup based on real

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