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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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Drink of the Week: Navy Grog

For many people, September 19th is just an ordinary day. But for others, it is an anniversary or maybe even a birthday. Somehow, this day also became International Talk Like a Pirate Day. We've mentioned this in the past, and even wrote an entire post in pirate-speak. Today we are simply going to feature Navy Grog as our drink of the week.

There are as many Grog recipes as there are pirates with patched eyes. It seems that for every combination of rums there is some version of grog. One popular and historic Navy Grog calls for three types of rum: light Puerto Rican rum, dark Jamaican, and Demerara. It employs citrus in the form of lime and grapefruit juice and uses honey syrup to balance the sour.

Navy Grog 1 oz light Puerto Rican rum 1 oz dark Jamaican rum 1 oz Demerara rum

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Drink Of The Week: Bee's Knees

As any regular reader will attest, I am a fan of classic cocktails. It would be hard to write these posts if that were not the case, since even contemporary combinations usually find their roots if not their inspiration from the classics. I especially love it when fantastic flavors result from simple recipes. When such a recipe also happens to be versatile enough to yield multiple delicious variations—the cocktail is, well, the Bee's Knees.

Tracing this drink's origin puts it somewhere in the middle of Prohibition. It first appears in print in Bill Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix Them published in 1934. Sometimes called the Honey Bee, or the Honeysuckle, the basic format is a gin sour that balances the lemon with honey instead of sugar or simple syrup. Boothby's version also had a spoonful of orange juice, but that disappeared from other references. The extra kick of

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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

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Drink Of The Week: The Riff

With The Fourth of July weekend coming, I suppose I could have found some cockail to evoke US patriotism, or perhaps one that includes the colors of the flag. Instead, I decided to feature a mixology technique. The Riff is actually a name I am using here to represent many cocktails—both classic and contemporary—that began life as a varition of an existing recipe. To riff on a cocktail is to make some addition, substitution or adjustment, taking the drink in a new (and hopefully delicious) direction. The way I see it, the cocktail itself is an American invention, so what better way to honor that heritage than to focus on the true spirit of innovation.

It's one of the best tricks anyone who has ever created a tasty beverage can use, and although there are many concoctions that are truly original, some of the best are the result of adding

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Buying Spirits on a Budget. Rum?

These days, not many people can justify spending $100 on a bottle of wine, and for most of us, even $20 is enough to feel pretty uncomfortable. The same goes for cocktails. While retail establishments might offer drink specials to keep customer's "happy" to spend an "hour" or more after work, it's no surprise that the rest of us are spending more time drinking at home. So, how can the mixologist save even more when trying to build up a home stock? The short answer: Rum.

Retail Comparison First, you need to consider the fact that bars and restaurants provide a lot more than just a markup on cocktails—they offer a service that includes mixing the drink (sometimes with expert precision), serving it in appropriate glassware, fancy garnishes, and an unbeatable selection of spirtits, modifiers and mixers that can be hard to match when you stay at home. Of course,

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