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Long Island Iced Tea

by Brendan G February 21st, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
ice teaThe Long Island Iced Tea has always been a favorite of patrons wherever I have worked. First for the fact that it is a tasty drink when made properly. The second thing that makes it so popular is that it packs quite a punch. You definitely want to keep track of how many of these you order, because they will sneak up on you.

The L.I.T., as it is commonly called, looks like a non-alcoholic iced tea, but contains five alcohol ingredients and a small amount of mixer, making it perhaps the strongest mixed drink one could order. The makeup
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Kamikaze

by Brendan G February 14th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
kamikazeThe Kamikaze is a popular citrus flavored cocktail that can be served in a variety of ways, either as a cocktail, a shot, or on the rocks. Similar to both the Margarita and Daiquiri, the Kamikaze uses lime juice as its main flavor component. Vodka is the primary alcohol in this drink, making it a nice option for those who would like to try a Margarita, but don't like tequila.

One of the interesting things about the Kamikaze is the different twists you can put on it. This cocktail is ideal for flavored vodkas. When someone orders a Kamikaze from
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CîROC Amaretto Vodka

by Jason Lightner January 14th, 2014| Liquor
CirocAfter a blisteringly unsavory week in the City of Brotherly Love, wherein wintery temperatures dipped down to below 0 degrees fahrenheit, and we watched the Schuylkill River freeze over alongside the iconic boathouses of John B. Kelly Drive, we're ready to put some warmth back into our bodies. Let us proceed in a manner fit for the dead of winter — with the pleasant burn of a premium vodka.

I approached CÎROC Amaretto Vodka with skepticism. Call it a habit, but that's just the way it goes with me and flavored vodka. Burnett's, Smirnoff, Absolut, Three Olives, Stolichnaya
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Bay Breeze

by Brendan G January 10th, 2014| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
baybreezeThe Bay Breeze has always been one of my go-to cocktails. Simple and basic. It never fails, on a nightly basis there's a number of customers who don't know what they want to drink. They'll say “What do you like?”, “Give me something fruity or sweet”, or “Surprise me”. Then I pause, look around at the bottles (as if for inspiration), then start to make my go-to cocktail.

When I first started bartending I was taught a way of remembering the difference between a Bay Breeze and a Sea Breeze. A fellow bartender once told me his memory trick. “A
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Bloody Mary Brunch

by Brendan G January 9th, 2014| Ask the Bartender
party barWe are hosting a brunch, and I want to provide a Bloody Mary bar for our guests.  Besides providing celery and green olives, what other garnishes would be interesting additions?

The options for an interesting and unique Bloody Mary bar are quite numerous. First with the standard ingredients, there are many choices. Don't limit yourself to just options for the garnishes. Flavored vodkas like citrus, pepper, and bacon are readily available. Also instead of using regular tomato juice or Bloody Mary mix, you can have V-8 or Clamato juices for a change of pace. Offering different type of hot sauces
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Penn 1681 Rye Vodka

by Jason Lightner December 24th, 2013| Liquor
ryeAs a fan of traditional craftsmanship and a fan of locally-made products, it's sometimes a challenge for me to accept that the two are not always mutually exclusive.

When it comes to vodka, I like it Polish if possible. It's not that there's anything inherently wrong with vodka produced anywhere else, it's just that vodka was born in Poland and these guys know enough about producing vodka to not screw it up.

Try as I might, I can't think of a single thing that comes from Pennsylvania that I prefer. I was going to say cheesesteaks, but that's more centralized in
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Candy Cane Martini

by Brendan G December 13th, 2013| Cocktails, Martinis
xtini'Tis the season to be jolly. What helps someone get jolly more than a festive holiday cocktail ? There are many things that could go into creating a delicious Christmas themed drink. First we should think about the colors associated with the season. Red and green are the prominent colors of Christmas. Red is fairly easy to interject into a cocktail via cranberry juice or grenadine. But there are a few red colored liqueurs that may give you the effect you're looking for. Some of the more common are Campari, Alize, Sloe Gin, and After Shock Cinnamon Schnapps. There
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Firefly Cider

by Brendan G November 20th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
firefly cider ingredientsOver the last few weeks, I've been writing about many of the new and different cocktails that are being made by using flavored vodkas. Besides a wide variety of fruit flavors now being produced, there are other areas to explore as well. There are candy flavors like red licorice, gummi, bubble gum, cotton candy or even glazed doughnut. Coffee flavored vodkas have also been popular for some time now, excellent for use in making espresso martinis. But another flavored vodka has emerged as a favorite, for either drinking straight, with a splash of water, or in cocktail form.

Firefly Sweet
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Fireball Pie

by Brendan G November 6th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
Fireball4One of the more popular liqueurs on the market right now has to be Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. The spelling Whisky denotes the country of origin: Canada, Scotland, and Japan use the rare spelling. The rest of the world uses the spelling Whiskey for product labels and descriptions. Now that we have that cleared up, Fireball is a cinnamon flavored whisky based product from Canada. Many describe the taste as being similar to the Atomic Fireball candy, or Big Red chewing gum, followed by the slow burn of a whisky. It is also quite similar to another cinnamon flavored liqueur,
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Bloody Mary

by Brendan G October 30th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
bloody maryThe classic Bloody Mary is perhaps the most intriguing cocktail in the world -- intriguing, because of the drink's reputation as the “hangover helper”. Whether served with breakfast, brunch, or lunch, or merely as a way to help cope with the after effects of the prior evening's activities, there is nothing quite like a well made Bloody Mary.

The standard ingredients required to make a classic Bloody Mary are not questioned. They are vodka, tomato juice, tobasco sauce, prepared horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. It is the other ingredients that professional and home bartenders put in this cocktail, that
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Three Olives Whipped Cream Vodka

by Jason Lightner October 22nd, 2013| Liquor
whipped creamAs a brand synonymous with the Martini, Three Olives has gained a reputation for producing a reliable vodka with a great flavor, and deservedly so — their original offering is one of my go-to spirits for a vodka Martini whenever I find myself in an unfamiliar bar, which is quite often. The thing that most people don't realize about Three Olives, however, is their penchant for producing a wide variety of flavored vodkas as well; 23 in fact, up from 18 just two years ago when we tried their cake-flavored vodka. We're going to stay the course on
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Fruit Cocktail

by Brendan G October 16th, 2013| Cocktails, Mixed Drinks
fruit vodkasOver the past few years, there has been an explosion in the flavored vodka market. The first brand I recall doing flavors was Absolut. Their Citron vodka has been a mainstream ingredient for at least 20 years. Stolichnaya was the next major brand to expand their product line by offering some additional flavors like Orange, Raspberry, and Strawberry. But over the last 5-10 years the basic fruit flavors have gotten some more exotic company. Brands like Pinnacle, Three Olives, and Smirnoff have introduced vodka flavors like Peach, Blueberry, Mango, Passion fruit, Pomegranate, Pineapple, Grape and Cherry (just to name
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