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Drink Of The Week: Red Pepper Daisy

It's Cinco de Mayo, the holiday that celebrates Mexican heritage and commemorates the battle of Puebla, Mexico in 1862. It's hard not to think about the Margarita on this day, but since I wrote about it last year, I thought I would feature a different tequila drink I have been enjoying ever since I spotted it in Imbibe Magazine. The drink I am referring to is the Red Pepper Daisy, and it's wonderful. It was created by John Lermayer from the Florida Room in Miami and it recently made it's way onto the menu at Forty Four in the Royalton Hotel, New York.

The Daisy is a class of drinks that goes all the way back to the days of Jerry Thomas. Technically speaking, a Daisy is a fizz—or rather, a soda-topped sour—that is sweetened with a bit of orange liqueur or

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Drink Of The Week: Bee's Knees

As any regular reader will attest, I am a fan of classic cocktails. It would be hard to write these posts if that were not the case, since even contemporary combinations usually find their roots if not their inspiration from the classics. I especially love it when fantastic flavors result from simple recipes. When such a recipe also happens to be versatile enough to yield multiple delicious variations—the cocktail is, well, the Bee's Knees.

Tracing this drink's origin puts it somewhere in the middle of Prohibition. It first appears in print in Bill Boothby’s World Drinks and How to Mix Them published in 1934. Sometimes called the Honey Bee, or the Honeysuckle, the basic format is a gin sour that balances the lemon with honey instead of sugar or simple syrup. Boothby's version also had a spoonful of orange juice, but that disappeared from other references. The extra kick of

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Drink Of The Week: 21st Century

Last year around this time I started the Drink of the Week, a journey through classic and contemporary cocktail recipes. The 52 cocktails I chose, along with many that were posted in-between, form a good foundation for 2011. Already, we started the new year with a popular New Orleans classic, the Vieux Carré. This week, however, I thought I would feature a riff on the cocktail that started all of the momentum fifty-three weeks ago.

Last January, I featured the 20th Century Cocktail. You may recall that I mentioned an updated version called the 21st Century. New York bartender, Jim Meehan created a cocktail that puts a nice spin on the original, and while I encourage you to try both for comparison, his goes something like this:

21st Century Cocktail by Jim Meehan 1.5 oz silver tequila .75 oz white crème de cacao .75 oz lemon

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Drink of the Week: El Diablo

Continuing our series of scary Halloween cocktails, we have the El Diablo, our Drink of the Week. I am not going to get into a lot of history for this drink, because, frankly, I don't know much about it except that it was created by Trader Vic. If you know more, please post a comment or two.

What I will tell you is that it's a tequila cocktail that is surprisingly refreshing for its name, and although most recipes call for it to be made with ginger beer (and there's no reason you can't still use it), my recipe is going to make use of ginger syrup which I find far more versatile. You want the ginger to stand out, so quality is key here. Lucifer forbid, please don't use a run-of-the-mill ginger ale in your Diablo!

El Diablo 2 oz silver tequila .75 oz lemon juice .75

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Drink Of The Week: The Riff

With The Fourth of July weekend coming, I suppose I could have found some cockail to evoke US patriotism, or perhaps one that includes the colors of the flag. Instead, I decided to feature a mixology technique. The Riff is actually a name I am using here to represent many cocktails—both classic and contemporary—that began life as a varition of an existing recipe. To riff on a cocktail is to make some addition, substitution or adjustment, taking the drink in a new (and hopefully delicious) direction. The way I see it, the cocktail itself is an American invention, so what better way to honor that heritage than to focus on the true spirit of innovation.

It's one of the best tricks anyone who has ever created a tasty beverage can use, and although there are many concoctions that are truly original, some of the best are the result of adding

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Drink Of The Week: Margarita

It's Cinco de Mayo, the voluntary holiday when we celebrate Mexican heritage. Although it's virtually ignored throughout most of Mexico, the 5th of May is significant to folks in Puebla where the Mexican army defeated the French in 1862 against overwhelming odds. It was also the last battle in which a country in the Americas was invaded by an overseas army. The holiday has been celebrated in California every year since, and it has become nationally recognized in the United States as well as other countries, much like St. Patrick's Day and Oktoberfest.

In recognition of this day and to pay tribute to our beloved spirit from Mexico, we are posting our favorite recipe for the most popular drink in America—the Margarita. The proportions of ingredients and sometimes the ingredients themselves are often debated. By most standard definitions, the Margarita contains tequila, triple sec and lime juice, but we prefer

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Infusion confusion? Not at all!

One of the easiest and most rewarding techniques to personalize your liquor cabinet is to do an infusion. Unless you have been living in a dry county for the past 15 years or you just don't get out much, you have probably seen the multitude of flavored spirits grow to a bewildering selection. Specifically, many vodka distillers have used flavors to diversify their product offerings and to dominate shelf space. However, some of the best infusions are those you make yourself.

Vodka as a starting point Vodka, by definition, is a neutral spirit. That means it is supposed to be flavorless. Some folks argue that all vodka taste the same while others maintain that differences—sometimes dramatic—can contribute flavor characteristics and affect smoothness. In any case, vodka makes a great starting point for customization because it will remain neutral, allowing your fruit, spices or whatever you are using to be the

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