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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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Happy Mardi Gras? This drink is Happy Mar-Winning!

If you drank this drink for five seconds, you’d be like, “Dude! Can’t handle it! Unplug this bastard!” It fucks you up in a way that’s maybe not from, uh… this terrestrial realm.

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If gins and whiskies are the big, fat, celestial love gods of the mixology universe, bitters are a bartender’s obsessed-over, oft-hoarded little fetish objects: twee phials packed with alchemistic potions made from unpublished recipes that cocktail nerds like me can wax on about until we belatedly realize everyone else has left the room. Heck, I even arrange my bitters bottles all Sleeping with the Enemy neatnik-like atop my bar like I used to do my Smurf figurines (in their Smurf village, amongst their mushroom houses — not atop a bar, or because I was trying to kill Julia Roberts).

Unfortunately, the current proliferation of small-batch bitters products can diminish the line between cocktail nerd and cocktail snob. It kind of reminds me of the Great Brooklyn Music Scene Paroxysm of ’09, with the name-checking of bitters brands like Bittermen’s, Fee Brothers (the company I keep) and Regans‘ akin to referencing your close, personal relationship with the latest Panda Bear or Japanther album — with the added stress test of feeling like a total uncool dweebheel if (*gasp*) you don’t make your own bitters???

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Sometimes I get sooo sick of myself. Me and my “ooh, me likey bourbon cocktails, egg white, Licor 43, bourbon meow meow.” (You have to imagine Miss Piggy saying it to get the full effect.)

A good remedy for a cocktail rut is How’s Your Drink? Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well, by Eric Felten, an impresario equal parts food/drink/culture critic and jazz trombonist/crooner/bandleader. The book is a sort of loosely chaptered collection of drinking vignettes throughout history, with recipes here and there. It’s a great read to keep on the shelf and just flip through. Today, I flipped to the Clipper Cocktail.

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