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Palmetto

Despite the improved quality and availability of citrus in winter, colder months always seem better suited for spirit-driven cocktails. Whiskey usually comes to mind, but other spirits also fill the need. Many classics also include vermouth, and the most typical recipes seem to start with the letter M, such as the Martini, the Manhattan, and the Martinez. Setting gin and whiskey aside for the moment, there is another classic cocktail in this family that contains rum.

Most folks have never even heard of the Palmetto cocktail, not because it isn't any good, but because it contains vermouth. You see, vermouth has been mistreated over the years, often banished to the back of the cabinet only to collect dust. People claim they dislike the taste of it. We find this hard to believe—if such claims are made honestly, they

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Egg Nog

For several years running we have resisted making egg nog after we read about a process that includes aging. This possibly ill-conceived idea starts with a basic egg, dairy and brandy recipe that accompanies an understanding that the alcohol will fortify the mixture and protect it from going bad during the weeks or months it is allowed to age. Although we have seen other references to aged egg nog, we never completely understood why aging is even necessary. Do eggs and dairy improve with time? Certainly, flavors can develop as ingredients are allowed to combine, but aging a homemade recipe with raw eggs and milk doesn't sound very appealing. Such a notion seems borrowed from the 1988 sci-fi film Alien Nation in which Newcomer Sam Francisco (a humanoid extra-terrestrial played by Mandy Patinkin) guzzles past-due cartons of sour milk as though it were fine wine, checking the sell-by-date and proclaiming

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Ground Cherry Daiquiri

If you've never heard of them, ground cherries are odd little yellow-orange berries that look like miniature tomatillos. About the size and shape of a cranberry, they are firm and smooth, but like the tomatillo, they have a papery shroud over the fruit. The plant on which they grow apparently looks like a short tomato shrub, but here's the thing: they don't really taste like tomatoes at all. How does strawberry, pineapple, or maybe kiwi sound? We first discovered them three weeks ago at Bar Avignon in SE Portland. The ground cherries were served as part of an appetizer that we ordered and were meant to be paired with the cheese on the plate. Peeling open each light husk revealed the fruit inside, and after just one bite we knew we had to make a drink out of them. Fortunately, we found Naked

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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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Raspberry Cocktails

Columbia Cocktail

There are so many ways to use fruit in cocktails. Muddling fresh produce may be the easiest, but you can also freeze it for use off-season. More traditional options include preserving fruit as jams, syrups, shrubs or even liqueurs. We've been busy this summer with all of nature's bounty, and we'll be sharing some of our exploits in the coming months. Today, let's talk about raspberry syrup.

Making a syrup from raspberries is easy enough. The simplest recipe follows a basic formula of one part fruit juice with one part sugar. However, we wanted to take an approach that may seem a little unorthodox. According to the Jerry Thomas Bartenders Guide first published in 1862, it's better to add another step to the process. Fermenting the fruit juice for several days through natural processes (including the

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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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Scottie Ferguson

Stocking a liquor cabinet is serious business. Space can limit decisions as much as budget, so we have always aligned with the idea that you should buy cocktails, not random bottles of booze. In other words, start with a drink recipe that you love and build your cabinet that way—recipe by recipe. This is great, in theory, but the allure of Italian bitters often trumps restraint. If you're as big of a fan as we are, you may have amassed quite a collection—cocktail recipes or not—grabbing almost every amaro you can find. But if you are just starting out, it can be difficult to decide what to buy first. Many of us are familiar with Campari, if even just for the Negroni and the Americano, but as we explore others, how do

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