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Chestnut Cup

Whether you enjoyed a Margarita on Cinco de Mayo or a Mint Julep for Derby Day, the first weekend in May has plenty of reasons to celebrate craft cocktails. Classics are always a good choice—they represent formulas that are often simple, but solid. Whenever a new recipe appears that rewards us with flavors and surprises us with simplicity, we take note. Such is the stuff that classics are made of. It's not always easy to produce something tasty that reads like it has been around forever. We cocktail nerds have the tendency to overthink recipes—we like to tinker—and with so many options at our disposal, it's just too tempting to add a dash of this or a spoonful of that. So, when we spotted Raul Yrastorza's Chestnut Cup in the March/April 2015 issue of Imbibe Magazine, we knew we had a winner.

The signature cocktail from Santa

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St. Stephen's Sour

We're all about refreshing summer drinks these days—the easier to make them the better. Most of the time that means tall, simple cocktails without many ingredients. Warmer weather usually pushes us toward refreshing citrus and carbonation as opposed to spirit-driven sippers, but we'd be kidding ourselves if we didn't admit that exceptions do exist. For instance, we can't stop enjoying a strong Mint Julep, nor resist the temptation of more complicated drinks like the Mai Tai. These never fall out of rotation for us, but this month's Imbibe Magazine (July/August 2014 issue) has a great selection of recipes that we probably need to add to our repertoire. One of them stood out as both refreshing and easy to make while still retaining a some complexity and interest. It was

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Figgy Pudding

Over four years ago we had the pleasure enjoying a few drinks at the Strip Club, a wonderful little steak joint in St. Paul, Minnesota. In addition to serving its delicious namesake New York Strip done several different ways, the place also has a wonderful cocktail program. In fact, the Strip Club blossomed in this regard relatively early in the Twin Cities cocktail scene. At that time, the number of places serving great cocktails in both Minneapolis and St. Paul could arguably be counted on one hand. Still, these guys were already veterans of house made tonic, bacon-infused bourbon, bitters and so on. One such masterpiece was a drink that is no longer on the menu called Figgy Pudding.

The original concept is based on whiskey that has been infused with butternut squash. This was combined with a muddled black mission fig

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Beachbum

We've been enjoying Mai Tai cocktails with homemade orgeat syrup all summer long. As good as they are, sometimes you need a change of pace. Not wanting to stray too far, we settled on the Beachbum Cocktail. This tiki temptation has everything you might expect—multiple rums, multiple juices, delicious liqueur and homemade syrup—and yet it's so simple that anyone can make it. Despite the fact that it has six ingredients, none of them are hard to find, and you should already have your own orgeat, right? This drink was created by New York speakeasy PDT's John Deragon. It appears in Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail Book with a note describing it as a tribute to Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, the modern mixology hero perhaps more responsible than anyone for bringing the Tiki genre back to life.

With so many countries of origin multiplied by all of the different styles available,

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Drink of the Week: Peruvian Summer Smash

When it comes to refreshing drinks for summer, it's hard to beat the smash cocktail. If you haven't had the opportunity to try one, or you have yet to stumble across the right post here at Summit Sips, now is your chance to enjoy some of the best cocktails we've ever shared. We've introduced countless friends and family to one or more of these recipes over the years and have only witnessed reactions of smiles and praise. Imagine our delight when Imbibe Magazine featured Smash cocktails in their latest issue.

For those of you interested in the retrospective approach to this idea (and that should include all of you), don't let another weekend go by without trying the Gin Red Basil Smash, the Whiskey Smash, or even the Tequila Sage Smash. All are solid examples of what you can achieve with a muddler and some citrus.

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Drink of the Week: Pink Panther

Sometimes, it's all about the lady in your life. That statement means different things to different people, of course, but let's face it: not everyone wants to drink the latest Manhattan variation. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, not because it leaves more rye whiskey for the rest of us, but because plenty of people either don't like whiskey or don't yet have an affinity for spirit-forward cocktails.

We're not saying that ladies don't like Manhattans. We're not saying that at all. We simply recognize that every so often, it's fun to put what we've learned into a drink that is accessible to everyone. That's not to say we think this is a "girl drink"—or that there is such a thing—but you could do a lot worse than the Pink Panther. We'll even go a step further and say that if you (or your lady friend) doesn't like our

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Drink of the Week: Eastern Sour

This Drink of the Week week is actually three drinks in one. The Eastern Sour is the first of a small family of sour cocktails invented by none other than Trader Vic, one of the founding fathers of the mid-century Tiki movement. Although it isn't as complex or as difficult as many Tiki drinks, for some people that's not necessarily a bad thing. The more ingredients—or often, the more obscure the ingredients—the less likely most folks will be able to execute the recipe. At least that was my theory as I looked for a tropical style drink to post this week. I thought we needed a change from all of the Manhattan variations I have been posting.

My source of reference is a groovy little iPhone/iPad app called Beachbum Berry's Tiki+. This app was developed with the full endorsement of Jeff "Beachbum" Berry and it's filled with recipes

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