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Drink of the Week: Rurita

Not long ago we made some great rhubarb-infused vodka. What I never shared was that in addition to the vodka, I also infused some gin. I figured that while the rhubarb was still available I might as well try it. Then the May/June 2001 issue of Imbibe Magazine came out and there was a nice recipe for Rhubarb Bitters. Yep, I made that too, and as recipes go, this was not much more than chopping up some stuff and throwing it into a jar for a couple of weeks.

The "stuff" includes lots of rhubarb, some grapefruit peel, orange peel, and cinnamon all macerated in a jar of high-proof neutral spirits, then diluted some with water and sweetened with agave. It's not exactly bitter, but it has a great concentrated flavor that can be used to add complexity to cocktails or to season them to bring other ingredients

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What's in a name?

You could slap a name on any unique combination of ingredients and call it an original cocktail, but if you create something from scratch that you want people to remember, the name can be pretty important. Of course, it also has to taste good, so by the time you're ready to pick the name, hopefully you've weighed your options. Memorable drinks of the past have celebrated geographical locations, an individual's name, and even popular events throughout history. If you want the name to stick, it helps if it's accompanied by a good story. As stories go, the one behind the Mexican Circus Tiger is pretty hard to beat.

This cocktail actually has two stories—mine, and that of the cocktail's creator. I'll start with mine since it's shorter and not as intersting. A few weeks ago, my wife and I found ourselves at Beaker & Flask, a fantastic cocktail bar

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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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