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Shake, Stir, and Swish: Championship-Worthy Final Four Cocktails

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Just as with every year, March Madness has been filled with twists and turns, buzzer beaters and heartbreak. If you’re one of the few whose bracket isn’t busted, you’re probably feeling pret-ty good right about now. If you’re one of the thousands that didn’t see South Carolina taking down the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th seeds, well, we feel ya. Really. You’re in the right place, though.

In order to celebrate the Final Four (or salve the wounds of a broken bracket), we’ve put together some final four cocktails to mix up this weekend for what’s likely to be an exciting set of games.

New Amsterdam Russian Coffee

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Method: Stir vodka, coffee, and Triple Sec in a rocks glass with ice. Top with milk.

The Three Pointer

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Method: Combine ingredients over ice, garnish with chili.

Svedka’s Buzzer Beater

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 Method: Pour ingredients into a pitcher, and stir. Garnish with orange and grapefruit slices. 

Nolet’s Silver Players Punch

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Method: Combine first 4 ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker.  Shake vigorously.  Pour (do not strain) all contents into a rocks glass.  Top with Soda Water. Add extra ice if needed. Garnish with 2 raspberries.

And one more, because who doesn’t like an extra cocktail?

3 Pointer Punch

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(Created by Flinn Pomroy, Sweetwater Social, NYC)

  • 125 oz Jagermeister
  • 5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
  • 5 oz Ginger Syrup
  • 35 oz Bigelow Orange & Spice Tea
  • 60 oz Soda Water (add to taste)
  • 2 whole oranges sliced into very thin discs.

Method: Combine Jägermeister, Lime Juice, and Ginger Syrup to punch bowl. Bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add 5 tea bags of Bigelow Orange & Spice. Remove water from heat and allow to steep for 6 minutes (You will have more tea brewed than you are actually going to use.) Add 35oz of Bigelow Orange and Spice tea to the punch bowl. Stir punch vigorously. Add soda to taste. Top entire punch with sliced orange discs. Serve over ice in traditional Mule Tins or in another receptacle of your choosing. Garnish with your teams assigned garnish – and enjoy responsibly.

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
What is a gruit, and where can you find one?
Gruit, the beer made without hops that you need to try
Beer snifter chalice glass

Most beers you know and love today have four primary ingredients: water, barley, hops, and yeast. That’s largely due to the centuries-old German beer purity law, or reinheitsgebot, which demanded that beer be made exclusively using these ingredients and set the standard for today’s brews. 
But beer is an ancient beverage — historians believe its story stretches back to 5th millennium BC in Iran and went on to be enjoyed by the likes of Egyptian pharaohs and the Greek philosophers. However, if Socrates or Tutankhamun ever enjoyed a pint in their days, the beer was likely missing one of those four critical ingredients: the hop.
In today’s hop-hungry climate of India pale ales (and hazy IPAs, New England IPAs, as well as milkshake IPAs, and others), it seems impossible that beer could exist without hops. The fact is that many other natural ingredients can serve as substitutes for the bittering, aromatic, and flavoring characteristics of hops. Today, if a beer relies on other herbs to fill the "hops" role, the beverage is classified as a gruit.

Gruit is the German word for herb. Instead of depending on hops, these brews use exotic additives like bog myrtle, horehound, elderflowers, and yarrow to offset the sweetness of the malts and create a more complex beverage.
Thanks to the creativity of modern breweries, you don’t have to travel back to the Middle Ages to find a gruit (though if you can, please let us in on your time travel technology). You can try them right now, but you will have to do some detective work.
“Authentic” gruits can be tough to find in the mainstream marketplace. That’s because some laws require hops to be present for a product to be sold as beer. Not having the “beer” title would limit distribution and sales channels for some breweries.  To illustrate how rare gruits are in the current marketplace, there are currently 32,576 American IPAs listed on the Beer Advocate database and only 380 gruits.
But don’t despair — this list will help you get started on the path toward discovering modern versions of the ancient ale. Start your gruit journey here:

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Today, July 12, is National Michelada Day, so that's the ideal excuse to kick back with this classic Mexican beer cocktail. Beer cocktails aren't the easiest thing to create as beer has such a low alcohol percentage and high amount of water compared to spirits -- but when you get it right, there are few things more refreshing. As the beloved combination of Mexican lager, lime, and tomato juice proves, there's a great way to mix almost any ingredient.

Another fun aspect of the Michelada is its flexibility. You can use clamato juice in place of the tomato juice, pour in an extra shot of spirit, and add whatever combination of hot sauces or umami sauces that your heart desires. As the drink is traditionally served in a glass with a salt rim, you can also add bonus flavors here like making a chili salt or using salt and pepper. And of course you can garnish with anything from fruit to pickles.

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Here at The Manual, we love a big bowl of punch for a summer party when you have a bunch of friends coming round and you want to serve tasty drinks to everyone without any fuss. And with a few extra flourishes, like fresh fruit and fancy ice cubes, you can turn any simple punch recipe into something really special.

A new recipe from Julianna McIntosh, aka join_jules, makes use of ready to drink cans of Cutwater Long Island Iced Tea to make creating a punch even easier. McIntosh shows off her punch recipe in a new Instagram Reel, which includes making boozy ice cubes with edible flowers ahead of time. These cool the drink but don't water it down as they melt, which is a genius hack especially for hot summer parties.

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