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The first time we came across Amer Picon it was when we read the recipe for the Brooklyn Cocktail in Ted "Dr. Cocktail" Haigh's excellent book, Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. At the time, we were more interested in exploring the Brooklyn variations, adored by many and no doubt our favorite class of modern cocktails (drinks like the Red Hook, Greenpoint, Bensonhurst and others). Yet, we never bothered with the Brooklyn, which seems almost absurd at this point. We will get there soon, however.

The problem with the original Brooklyn is the Amer Picon, a bitter orange ingredient from France that is simply unavailable in the US. There are alternatives. Ted Haigh recommends using Torani Amer which may or may not be difficult to find, while David Wondrich recommends subbing Amaro CiaoCiarro and orange bitters. Seattle's Jamie Boudreau even tried whipping up a house-made

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Randomizer

It is that time of the year again when we reveal secrets and innovative techniques of the cocktail world. While it has been a little quiet around here lately, Summit Sips has not been idle. This year, we believe we have unlocked the mystery of bartender creativity!

For years, we have enjoyed drinks at local establishments, reviewed recipes from afar, sampled ingredients new and old, and tested techniques for making great cocktails. Yet, through it all, we have struggled to comprehend how new drinks keep coming. How is it that every decent establishment is able to churn out one masterpiece recipe after another? How do bartenders do it, season after season, one incredible menu item after another? It is as if they are tapped into some stream of creativity that the rest of us poor fools can only dream about! After years of research, we finally found the answer,

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Batches and Bowls

Whether you are prepping for a weekend party or a spring picnic (we are probably several months early for that), you may be looking for ways to enjoy the event and the company of your guests without spending time mixing individual cocktails on request. Beer and wine are easy options, but you shouldn't have to sacrifice good flavors and quality ingredients just because you'd rather join the party instead of busily shaking craft cocktails. As log as you are willing to do some preparation a day or so ahead of time, you don't need to play bartender. We are talking about batched cocktails—a common request we get from friends who are either searching for the perfect recipe or are interested in techniques they can leverage to make the process easier once guests arrive.

For us, the Super Bowl refers to any vessel large enough to hold a batch of Philadelphia

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Sea of Cortez

Here's a delicious cocktail created by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry that appeared in the January/February 2013 issue of Imbibe magazine. The magazine credits Chall Gray of The Magnetic Field, Asheville, North Carolina as the creator, but their website says otherwise. Frankly, we don't really care who first put this together—we're just glad they did! The Sea of Cortez cocktail is something like a simplified version of one of "Trader" Vic Bergeron's creations. Take an El Diablo cocktail, served it up without the ginger beer and you are pretty close. Yes, there's lime instead of lemon, and a little Cointreau, but you get the idea. Perhaps you could more accurately call this a blackcurrant Margarita served up. In any case, we love the drink and will be making these regularly throughout the summer. It's another great reason to get your

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Drink of the Week: My New Religion

It's a new year, and for many, it's also a time to take an oath, make resolutions, or to simply look forward to whatever the new year brings. A lot has happened over the past twelve months, so before we look back, let's take this opportunity to look ahead to new opportunities and personal growth.

If we are religious about anything at Summit Sips it's the tradition of sharing great technique, recipes and ingredients. However, we are deeply spiritual (especially when we are taking about whiskey, gin, rum--get it--spirits?) Anyway, the following cocktail comes to us by way of a dear friend. It would have perhaps been better to post as a holiday treat, but we think this is the perfect moment to share it.

My New Religion by Ann Ruud

1.5 oz reposado tequila .75 oz Campari 2/3 oz lemon .25 oz simple syrup (or agave nectar)

Shake and

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Drink Of The Week: Albert Park Swizzle

Every few years the first weekend in May brings a conjunction of two events—the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo. On some occasions the two events coincide on the same day. There are spans of time when that doesn't happen for over a decade, but every six years or so, May 5th lands on a Saturday. Each celebration is known for its respective cocktail. Derby Day's official drink is the Mint Julep, and what could be better for celebrating Mexican heritage than a Margarita? Even if thoroughbreds aren't your thing, it's hard to deny the luxury of sipping a Julep on a hot day in May, but you can say the same thing about the Margarita. So what's the solution? Make them both, right? In past years we have posted references and recipes commemorating one event or

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Elder Rose

Yesterday, we had a bit of fun with our post like we did last year. Today we set aside the pranks to feature two St. Paul destinations related to an original impromptu cocktail. The first is a fantastic little shop on Grand Avenue called Golden Fig, one of the Twin Cities' top prepared fancy food shops. We use their their Vanilla Rose Syrup as inspiration for a cocktail based on a classic sour formula with a few twists. But, of course, we can't really take credit for the recipe which leads us to our second St. Paul destination, Meritage. In addition to a delicious menu and great happy hour specials, Meritage calls itself "a little slice of Paris" and happens to be host to some of the best craft cocktails in downtown St. Paul. We were treated to this recipe by Rob Jones, the

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