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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Wine Wednesday

Brunch Drinks

© Tina Rupp

Try pairing the three drinks below with a fantastic brunch recipe, like this Smoked-Salmon Scramble with Dill Griddle Biscuits. // © Tina Rupp

Ah, brunch. People go bonkers for brunch. Say the word “brunch,” and your friends will say things like, “Yeah! Great! Let’s do it!” Unless they have kids, in which case they’ll look sort of morose, because instead of going to brunch with you they’re going to be at a birthday party for five-year-olds. But that’s the human condition: Sunday-morning cocktails, then offspring, and finally death.

Be that as it may, in terms of drink options, folks tend to default to one of three things: a mimosa, usually made with some Minute Maid and a bottle of random sparkling wine that someone brought over six months ago; a Bloody Mary (which I’m not knocking at all); or Champagne. Yet because life is short and the human condition is dire, why not experiment while you still have a chance? 3 Fantastic Brunch Drinks. »

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The Newest Holiday Punches

New Holiday Punches: Passed Bright Milk Punch

Passed Bright Milk Punch © Nathan Rawlinson.

Long before there were martinis and daiquiris, Manhattans and mai tais, there was punch. Punch dates to the early 17th century, when it was imported to England by officers of the East India Company, according to writer John Ayto, who just published a new edition of The Diner’s Dictionary: Word Origins of Food & Drink.

Made in batches and perfect for holiday entertaining, punches are especially popular this time of year among bartenders looking to put their own spins on festive cocktails. Brooklyn’s buzzed-about Scandinavian restaurant Aska—from chef Fredrik Berselius (Aquavit, Per Se) and partner Eamon Rockey, formerly of Atera—is now serving three innovative punches. “Punch is about community and about enjoying something together,” says Rockey. MORE »

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Innovative Alpine Mai Tais, Chestnut Old-Fashioneds and More Holiday Cocktails

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Innovative Holiday Cocktails: The Alpine Mai Tai

The Alpine Mai Tai Courtesy of The Beehive

Often sugary or creamy, holiday drinks frequently taste more like liquid dessert than balanced cocktails. “The temptation is to do peppermint this and gingerbread that,” says Nate Hayden, bartender at The Beehive, a jazz club, bar and restaurant in Boston’s South End. “But we wanted to create something fun and slightly sweet, but also with real complexity to it as well.” Inspired by the nostalgic scent of pine trees, Hayden came up with the Alpine Mai Tai.

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The New Old Fashioned

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The New Old Fashioned: No. 10

Whitehall's No. 10 Courtesy of Whitehall

When it comes to cocktails, it doesn’t get much simpler than the old fashioned: spirit (typically rye or bourbon), bitters, sweetener and citrus. The uncomplicated nature of the drink makes it a fantastic blank canvas for bartenders. “The old fashioned is arguably one of the oldest cocktails,” says John McCarthy, the beverage director of New York City’s Scotch-centric Highlands and gin-focused Whitehall. “What’s great is that you can change all the elements and just mix and match.” McCarthy created three riffs on the old fashioned for his fall menus. »

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How to Taste 50 Gins

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American Gin

© Antonis Achilleos

Tasting 30 or 40 wines in the course of an afternoon is no big deal for me anymore, but when faced with tasting 50 gins (for “An American Gin Renaissance” in the November issue), I had to take my time. I found that at most, I could taste about six different gins in one sitting—the alcohol was too strong, the juniper too palate-walloping. Read more >

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Perfect Fall Pairing: Apples and Booze

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Apple Cocktails: The Hudson

The Hudson cocktail. Courtesy of Northeast Kingdom.

In fall, when overzealous apple-picking excursions and trips to the farmers’ market end with piles of the crunchy fruit overflowing from kitchen bowls, most people make pies, slice them for salads and do lots of fiber-rich snacking. Here’s a tip: Use fresh apples to create fantastic of-the-moment cocktails. More >

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Late Summer Jam & Marmalade Cocktails

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Summit Bar's Shu Jam Fizz

Summit Bar's Shu Jam Fizz. Courtesy Pamela Vlahakis.

Preserving sweet summer fruits in jams and marmalades is a tradition for many home cooks, but home mixologists should consider stocking up as well. Preserves are good for more than just spreading on toast; they add bright flavors and a silky texture to cocktails >

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Icy Adult Cocktails: Snow Cones, Lushies and Shave Ice

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Adult Snow Cones

Courtesy of Casa del Mar

Spiking childhood refreshers like slushies and snow cones is nothing new, but craft bars now treat these drinks like real cocktails. Read more about these nostalgic, icy treats >

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Pimm's: Think Outside the Cup

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War of the Roses Cocktail

© David C. Sampson

In 1823, English restaurateur James Pimm developed a tea-toned, spicy and lightly fruity gin-based apéritif called the Pimm's House Cup. Now bottled and known as Pimm’s No. 1 (or simply Pimm's), the formula remains a guarded secret and is still primarily used in an iconic British long drink topped off with sparkling lemonade and garnished with cucumber, fruit and mint. Leave it to Americans to rebel against tradition. Mixologists on this side of the Atlantic are mixing the delicious spirit into a variety of creative and refreshing summer cocktails.

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Ultimate Negroni Remix

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Negroni Variation

Courtesy of Fiola.

Nearly every reputable bar in America can make a good Negroni. With the appetite-revving qualities of any great apéritif and a good kick of alcohol, the bitter cocktail composed of equal parts gin, vermouth and Campari is an industry favorite that's now inspiring delicious variations. In Washington, DC, chef Fabio Trabocchi’s Tuscan-style trattoria Fiola recently devoted an entire page of its drink list to the Florentine classic.

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