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Beretta's Rattlesnake

A sour cocktail is perhaps the most versatile framework when it comes to mixed drinks. It is both accessible and interesting, combining the flavors of any spirit with acid from fresh citrus while balancing that with some form of sugar. The sour formula is also flexible and forgiving, allowing different ingredients to successfully change the cocktail—sometimes subtly, but often with dramatic effect. For example, the Bee's Knees cocktail would be a plain gin sour (not really a popular choice) if not for the honey syrup. By just using honey instead of simple sugar syrup, it achieves an unexpected depth of character that mingles in unpredictable ways with the gin making it a memorable favorite.

Any base spirit works as a sour. Exploring the possibilities will lead you into categories like the Daiquiri, Sidecar, Margarita and the list goes on and on as you swap sweeteners or

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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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South Side Rickey

Strictly speaking, a rickey is a highball cocktail that is not supposed to contain sugar—or at least it shouldn't if we are sticking to historical traditions. The style dates back before Prohibition when drinks were simpler and it was easier to categorize such details. When you mention the Rickey, most folks think of the Gin Rickey, a drink built in a Collins glass over ice. First, you squeeze a half ounce of fresh lime juice. Then, add two ounces of gin and top up with club soda. It's a decent drink that is both refreshing and easy to make—a nice combination for a hot summer day. It also works with other base spirits and gets renamed appropriately.

A couple months ago a batch of similar spring cocktails was published in the Oregonian. Some were more complicated, but one we recognized (in name at least). It was the South Side Rickey

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Poor Liza

We love drinks with Chartreuse so we are always on the lookout for when this ingredient pops up on a menu. There are a few bars around the country that have featured this drink because it's another masterpiece from the Violet Hour's Toby Maloney. We've been hanging on to the recipe for the Poor Liza for years but haven't been able to make it because we lacked the base spirit. It requires Poire William, or Bartlett pear brandy. Not to be confused with pear liqueur, this is a dry eau de vie—a true brandy made from whole fruit, fermented and distilled.

If you aren't familiar with pear brandy, you've probably seen the bottles—you know, the ones typically made in France with the whole pear remarkably contained within the bottle. We've always admired the novelty of growing fruit inside a bottle hanging from a tree branch,

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Drink of the Week: Metropole

There's a certain level of comfort when it comes to the classics. There was no Tiki movement, no vodka, and folks knew what to expect from a cocktail. By today's standards, times were simpler then, although it's all relative. Still, we think there is virtue in exploring basic, spirit-driven recipes that have stood the test of time—and some that have become lost in it. The Metropole is one such drink.

Originally the house cocktail for the Metropole Hotel in New York City, this brandy based drink has survived since the late 1800s while the hotel where it was created is long gone. It's a common story shared by many classic cocktails, although in our opinion, too few of them contain brandy. It's a simple enough formula, but it has changed somewhat over the years.

Metropole 2 oz cognac 1 oz dry vermouth .5 teaspoon simple syrup 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

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Drink of the Week: Pendennis Club

Here’s a simple little cocktail that takes a bunch of ingredients we’ve described before and combines them into an unexpected party of flavors. Pooling dry gin with lime, liqueur and bitters isn’t new. We have seen this formula before with the Pegu Club cocktail, but the Pendennis is different. It’s—dare we say it—better? more interesting. To be fair, we can’t count how many times we’ve said that one recipe or another was our favorite. Ask us our favorite cocktail and we will probably ask you what base spirit you had in mind. So let’s give credit where credit is due and call this a Pegu Club variant, but one you really must try.

And like the Pegu Club which was named for the historic English gentleman’s club in Burma, this one references a similar establishment located in Louisville, Kentucky. The Pendennis was

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Drink of the Week: Iron Cross

Scan the liquor cabinet for base spirits and you might find a sad bottle of pisco that always seems to squeeze itself into the darkest corner. That's a shame because there's nothing actually wrong with pisco—it's just that there are only a handful of cocktails you can find that use it. Of course there is the Pisco Sour plus old references to Pisco Punch, but aside from a few recipes that pair this clear brandy with Galliano, you just don't see folks using it much. Just because recipes don't exist in abundance doesn't mean it's not popular. The Pisco Sour is a fantastic drink and depending on what part of the world you are in, it can even be the most important cocktail on the menu. Having already covered it some time ago, we decided there's no reason it can't be used as

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