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Anyone else here a huge Hedwig fan? You know, the eponymous character from the off-Broadway-musical-turned-cultishly-adored-indie-film Hedwig and the Angry Inch, that one about the queer East German boy whose African-American G.I. male lover/sugar daddy encouraged him to get a sex change that did not go well, hence the “angry inch?” That one.

After Hedwig winds up a craggily transgendered, white-trash divorcee stuck in a Kansas trailer park, s/him sings a bittersweet number about what few pleasures life still holds, one being “vermouth on the rocks.” So to ‘splain — no, there is too much, to sum up — now you get what the above pic’s all about. (An in-joke expressly styled for an audience of exactly moi? Probably.)

OK, my point is — vermouth on the rocks, who drinks this anymore? I know they did back in the day before the counterculture hit, if only because it says so in this book I once read, New York in The 50s: Young adults and also James Baldwin got together at one another’s cramped apartments in the Village and drank vermouth and then danced the Twist to Chubby Checker. So there must’ve been some sort of cool cachet surrounding vermouth back then, to balance out the fact that vermouth tastes yucky.

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Guest post by Leslie Deak, a friend of mine from Duke, who mixes metaphors and mojitos (not necessarily in that order) and whose enthusiasm for a good cocktail is rivaled only by a well-executed pick-and-roll.

The scene: A lovely, late-summer evening in Tampa A dark, stormy night;

No food to be found (white people problems);

Broad walks into a deserted saloon…

M. and I end up at a bar called Cheap, which is anything but. [Ed. Note: Most blargh bar name since Bar Le Scoop.] We share a pitcher of sangria, then move on to fancypants cocktails, each of which prove disappointing. They were either too weak or not well-mixed, such that one flavor overpowered all the others.

At that point, we were joined by a third, S., who is not a drinker, and started ordering froufy drinks, including the Orange Creamsicle. Once M. ordered it and I tasted it, I knew S. would be on board since the sweetness masked the booze. She doesn’t like to taste the alcohol. I just kept ordering more rounds.

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How did I never manage to invent the Maple Mint Fizz myself? Why did I have to move to Montreal to discover it?

The answer to the first question is: I did come close with the Martelorre (Maker’s, lemon, mint, ginger beer). To answer my second question: Because Le LAB is where everything wonderful, like Maple Mint Fizzes, happens, and also because only in Canada would “our variation of the mojito” include maple syrup.

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