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I’ve been commuting all week to Battery Park City (which I call Faketown, because it’s like a squeaky-clean, shooting-a-movie-in-Vancouver-and-calling-it-Manhattan bizarro world) to see my dog. The dog’s staying with friends while Sean and I look after two other dogs who once belonged to Sean’s father and now need new homes. Steve and Demian, our Faketown-living, dogsitting friends, love making cocktails as much as we do. They are particularly fond of drinks with ribald names (The Sandy Vagina, The Butterface, The Big Red Gay; I am literally retyping these off a chalkboard in their apartment), drinks that taste like edible things (the PB&J), and trompe-l’oeil drinks, like Little Beers.

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Dear Rachael Ray,

‘Member a few years ago when Anthony Bourdain rained ninja spawn on you for shooting that Dunkin’ Donuts ad, the one where you sported a keffiyeh like some kind of cultural anthro major at Columbia? He was pissed because, in his ideal, folks like you should advocate for sound, wholesome foods, which you’ve gotta admit is a point.

I am mad at you too, Rachael Ray. I am mad because last year your eponymous mag, Every Day with Rachael Ray, printed this:

And I read: “Here’s a sweet idea: Use lollipops as color-coordinated cocktail stirrers.” O Rachael Ray, where do I begin?

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Guest post by Stephanie Klose, a Brooklyn-based writer and editor, a contributor to Serious Eats New York, a blogger at stephanieklose.com, and apparently someone who feels a tremendous amount of upstate pride.

When you prune an apple tree, you need to cut the branches back far enough that you can swing a dead cat through them.

That is a piece of advice I got in 1993 or so, from an old man in Castleton-on-Hudson, NY. I was 16. He was drinking at the bar of the restaurant where a guy friend I very, very much wanted to be my boyfriend worked and we struck up a conversation while I was waiting. I learned a lot about his time in the army and the dogs he used to breed and whatever assorted useful facts he saw fit to share. Granted, his pruning guidelines inspired a lot more questions than they answered*, but that’s not the point. The point is that I grew up in the kind of place where that was the sort of thing a drunk, lonely old man would think a 16-year-old girl would need to know: rural eastern New York State.

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I’ve really been enjoying the moonshine my mother-in-law gave me, and this is a cocktail I found and played around with a week or two ago and have been itching to share because it’s quickly become a favorite of mine — which is unexpected in the sense that this baby is HOT, just super spicy on the finish, which isn’t what I’d normally go for.

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