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A long time back, I bought some Bacardi Gold while attempting to fashion a dark-rum cocktail, a purchase I immediately regretted because, my goodness, is Bacardi Gold god-awful.

Then not so long ago, I made some orange-infused gin, just because, and decided that while I was at it, I may as well see if I could render the Bacardi Gold palatable by likewise infusing a near-fifth of it with the rind of one rather large-ish orange.

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The very fact that any mixologist — a term I use here in its broadest scope, as one who has mixed at least two things together on at least one occasion in his/her life — can name a cocktail creation absolutely anything he or she wants is really quite mind-blowing to me. I mean, when you have a baby, you can name that baby any name you want, but it still has to be a name… unless, I suppose, you are an Oscar-winning actress or a world-famous lip-syncher/plastic surgery recipient or that man in Egypt who, post-uprising, bestowed upon his daughter the moniker of Facebook.

The point is, given how wide-open the field is, I think I overthink my cocktail naming. What to call a cocktail needn’t necessarily follow a traceable logic or make sense to anyone other than you, and really, it doesn’t need to make sense to you, either. It doesn’t need to mean something or say anything more than these words are what you say when you want this drink. It just needs a name.

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So about this Cynar stuff. It’s starting to grow on me, intellectually if not gastronomically. Intellectually, the more I read straight off the website and paraphrase as I’m about to do now up on it, the more intrigued I get. It’s been around since 1952 (that alone, the cinematic notion of la vita bella circa 1952, is enough to sweep my grandiose imagination off its size 11 feet). In 1995 Cynar was bought by the Campari Group… which also owns  Cabo Wabo Tequila, wtf? The U.S. is not among Cynar’s top-five markets worldwide, although I have found pockets of American afi-Cynar-nados online; those are Brazil, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France, where apparently people like to spike their beer with it.

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Our season’s-greetings cards just went out on Monday. There’s a gift I ordered online three weeks ago that’s apparently stuck in a storing-stuck-things facility somewhere. The tree’s still up in our living room (although I did manage to de-ornament it over the weekend).

However, I refuse to be late making my favorite Christmastime tipple, The Twelfth Day of Christmas, a whiskey infusion that takes (whaddaya know?) 12 days to make — but unlike the rest of all the holiday meshugas, it’s time that does most of the work.

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We made coffee espresso-infused* vodka this week. It was totes easy! We just took a cup of fresh, dark-roast beans and gently cracked them open by applying pressure with the bottom of a measuring cup. (See photo.) Then we dumped ‘em into a fifth of vodka (something middle-shelf; I think we used Stoli or Ketel) and stored it in a cool, dry place for a few days. Voila!

We’ve suffered through fiasco infusions before. (Would you like to taste the most terrible homemade peach-flavored vodka ever? No, you would not.) This one’s practically foolproof because, unlike a delicate peach, the robustness of the beans lets you know by smell whether or not your infusion’s balanced, needs more time, etc. We knew we had something good after about a week, when the espresso aroma actually eclipsed the alcohol-y smell of the vodka. Next, of course, came the question of what cocktail to invent with it…

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