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Poi Dog

We expected great flavors from cocktails in Maui during a recent trip to the island. Given the fact that they have such ideal growing conditions for fresh ingredients, we were hoping for wondrous citrus, pineapple and coconuts, or muddled passion fruit and mangoes. At the very least, we thought we would find a decent tiki concoction. But like many tourist destinations, the resorts (at least in West Maui) are setup for high-volume service for vacationing beach bums and sun bunnies not discerning cocktail enthusiasts. Sure, you can order a Mai Tai, but you don't really know what you are going to get. Most of the time it's sugary mixers and rum. Nobody seems interested in geeking-out with bartenders crafting world-class drinks. Some restaurants still loosely throw around the word "Martini" to describe their ridiculous list of vodka-based sugar-blasts. Visitors seeking spirit-driven classics can forget it. Italian bitters are

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Greyhound, Salty Dog and Other Canine Cocktails

It's easy to criticize drinks like the Greyhound or the Screwdriver since they really don't require much in the way of mixing—add a measure of vodka to some larger measure of juice and serve it over ice. For those unfamiliar with these drinks, a Screwdriver is made using vodka and orange juice, and its partner, the Greyhound is the same drink only with grapefruit. Even the most inflexible mixology snob has to admit that these are basic highball cocktails—spirit and mixer served over ice, usually in a tall glass. There's no bitters to worry about, proportions are somewhat flexible, and you won't need to balance any sweet or sour. You could even build these over ice, right in the glass, so you probably don't need a shaker. Is it a complicated process? Obviously not. Will these drinks challenge your senses with deep, intriguing complexity? Hell no. So why might you

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Drink of the Week: Juliet & Romeo

If you ever wanted a drink recipe to show to your friends—one that you reserve for that special person you want to dazzle with something creative—this is it. If you know someone who claims that they don't like gin, but it's clear they have never experienced the wonderful alchemy of a gin-based cocktail, now's your chance to change their mind. For anyone interested in layering basic elements and techniques to create something remarkable in the glass, this cocktail will certainly entertain. The Juliet & Romeo has a fancy presentation yet it's easy to make and is perhaps the most interesting, most refreshing and delicious cocktail we've ever had the pleasure of sharing.

It comes by way of Toby Maloney of The Violet Hour in Chicago, but it has also appeared on the menu at his other bars such as the Bradstreet Crafthouse in Minneapolis. We've been

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Drink of the Week: Fernelderwood

Nature is sometimes not without a sense of humor, or at least it appears that way when you consider the fact that citrus reaches its peak during the cooler months of the year. You might argue that the ideal time for lemonade or a refreshing Margarita comes during the hot summer months, but as far as the fruit is concerned, availability doesn't always represent quality. The best examples appear in October, November and so on. Refreshing sours are delicious when you are trying to beat the heat, but citrus season is just getting started when many of us would rather settle into a dark flavorful sipper to take the edge off a cool autumn breeze.

We tend to keep an eye out for white grapefruit when browsing the produce aisles of the supermarket. While the sweeter ruby variety is usually available year-round, the white

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Drink of the Week: Bitter Branch

Here's a nice cocktail to drink while curled up next to the fireplace. It's big and bold, salty and sweet, and a little bitter too. You could say it's everything but sour. It comes by way of Marvel Bar's Pip Hanson and appears in both The American Cocktail book and Northstar Cocktails. During the colder, darker months, it's hard not to get excited about cocktails like this one. It's also pretty easy to make for how complex it tastes, and it uses an ingredient we've never featured on Summit Sips until now.

The unusual ingredient is Nocino (no-CHEE-no), a dark Italian walnut flavored liqueur made from unripe green walnuts. The flavor is sweet, luscious and deeply nutty, but often still high in alcohol. We were first introduced to it a couple years back at the Bradstreet Crafthouse where it plays prominently in their Black Walnut Old

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The Malodor Shoots

It's is a special time of the year when trees burst into life, flowers bloom and early produce pokes its way up from the soil. There is a promise of transformation as winter moves into summer, and the sun's warmth allows May blossoms to forgive the cold, teasing showers of April. This year, spring came early to Minnesota, and although we don't officially get started for another month, Farmer's Market in St. Paul was already busy with excited vendors and shoppers. One of the items that often appears early in this part of the country is asparagus, so in honor of the early spring, we decided to take the opportunity to use some early fresh produce to kickoff the month with a cocktail we call the Malodor Shoots.

Almost everybody is familiar with the sweet scent of sulfur that graces the bathroom after consuming a plateful of asparagus and plenty

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Drink of the Week: Edgewood

Ever since it appeared in the March/April 2008 edition of Imbibe Magazine, We have wanted to make the Edgewood by Greg Best, Holeman & Finch, Atlanta. We're not sure why we delayed. Perhaps it was because we rarely buy grapefruit, or maybe we were just waiting to get our hands on the right vermouth. In any case, we finally mixed one up and as expected, it's a decent drink. The ingredients are not so obscure that it would prevent you from tracking them down, and even if you run into trouble with one thing or another, you can always make a few substitutions and still come away with a solid cocktail. We went ahead and made two versions (it was happy hour after all) and both worked nicely.

The Edgewood by Greg Best 1.5 oz dry gin 1 oz grapefruit juice .5 oz Punt e Mes vermouth .5

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