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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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If this blog betters your drinking in but one, minute way, I hope it provides you with a plethora of ideas for mixing easy, whiskey-based cocktails. Sometimes I picture you — yes, you — lumbering through the door of your recession-era, DIY-chic digs, on the edge of weary after a long day slogging through your paper-pushing profession of choice (or, in keeping with the recession theme, necessity), and of course nine times out of ten you’re going to reach for the bourbon. Neat or straight-on-the-rocks will always do, but don’t you deserve a bit more of a to-do? Just something uncomplicated that can add a little brightness, a little aroma, a soupcon of civility to your drink and your day? That’s what I’m here for.

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I’m gonna be honest with you guys — I’m always honest with you guys, right? — and tell you that the Whatchawant is actually a mistake version of another drink I wanted to make for y’all. Maybe not so much a mistake as misinformation; based on what I’d read of it in a magazine, I went about recreating this particular cocktail — wrongly, as it turns out — that’s on the menu at a place in St. Louis called Sanctuaria Wild Tapas.

I can’t vouch for how “wild” the tapas is (does it belly dance for you unsolicited, just ‘cuz it feelin’ feisty?), but the cocktail side of Sanctuaria’s operation is phantasmagoric in concept and makes me regret leaving St. Louis before I got to set foot in the place. Get this:

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband

Cocktail inspiration can come from that cool new bottle of bitters at the liquor store, a request from a friend, or a competition. Other times it’s from a cookie that you hid from yourself  in the back of a kitchen cabinet months before…

Many of your may remember the Drink our Booze-fest that Rose and I held for our NYC friends at the end of July. Late that very night, the Gingerman was born. While searching the kitchen for mixers, I discovered this little guy hiding behind a box of evaporated milk. (Don’t ask me why we had a two-pound box of evaporated milk). He was just the right muse for my bourbon-soaked brain, and though I have no recollection of the creative process as it actually took place, the result was good. At least I must have thought it was good because I took pictures of it and even texted myself the recipe –

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The moral of this week is: Take things literally. Yesterday I blogged about my Breakfast of Champions, an original cocktail o’mine that bears more than a passing resemblance to a Moon Over My Hammy at Denny’s – and yes, it’s a little embarrassing for a high-functioning alcoholic mature mixologist to admit to such levels of kitsch. Today’s recipe, while not quite so blatant, was likewise created via an over-the-top approach.

The basic premise was to construct a swizzle using the sweetest ingredients we (Sean and I) could think of, but somehow manipulate them into a drink that tasted better than, say, a shot of insulin with a Blow Pop chaser. Our secondary goal was to make a juice-less swizzle — which, according to rather strict definitions I’ve found and mentioned here before, means it technically wouldn’t be a swizzle, but whatevs — as our at-home citrus stock was low.

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Guest post by the very British Nick Leftley, senior editor at Maxim and a mate made for drinking with

A few months ago, I was out on a tequila-tasting night courtesy of the charming and spectacularly agave-obsessed folks at Don Julio. After tasting every variety of tequila they make (and at this point, I’d personally recommend the Don Julio 1942, an Anejo tequila that’s creamy, peppery and as good for sipping as most decent Scotches), master distiller Enrique de Colsa introduced us to the concept of the Luxury Drop.

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Many Royale customers, I’m sure, assume that the Mr. Smith cocktail is named after Royale proprietor Steven Smith — or at least his father, who’s also a part owner of the business and, truth be told, whose first name I can’t remember because “Mr. Smith” was all I ever called him.

But none of that has anything to do with the Mr. Smith. The Mr. Smith is named after Jeff Smith, who might also be addressed as The Former Honorable Jeff Smith, Ph.D. Jeff was the subject of a documentary, Can Mr. Smith Get to Washington Anymore?, about the time he popped his campaign cherry running for the congressional seat vacated by veteran Rep. Dick Gephardt, and how he narrowly lost the Democratic primary to Russ Carnahan, son of a famous Missouri politician, and how he was a short, Jewish, basketball-loving UNC grad.

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As both a maker of cocktails and a plier of the written word, I am wholly offended by garish concoctions (cocktastrophes, perhaps?) that look like this and, insult on top of insult, co-opt the nomenclature of “daquiri”:

And so, welcome to reason #I-lost-track of why I so thoroughly enjoyed pitching drinks at The Royale, where the Holly Hills daquiri looks like this:

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Guest post by St. Louis-based attorney and old friend of mine Tim O’Connell, who worked at daily newspapers, and a few taverns, before being admitted to the bar.

Blogtender’s Note: Those readers who’ve been to The Royale (psst, it’s Royale Week here at the blog) know that if there’s one thing people like about The Royale (and there isn’t; there are always several things people like about it) it’s the Subcontinental, sometimes ordered as “that cucumber cocktail you guys make?” But it’s got lots more depth — in flavor complexities and, as you’ll read here in a guest post by its inventor, in mixological history — than that.

It began with tzatziki. I’d peeled, seeded, and grated the cucumbers and had dutifully squeezed the shreds with cheesecloth in preparation for adding them to some drained yogurt. It was a hot day. The cucumbers were cold, as was the green essence that collected in the bowl under the cheesecloth. The juice’s clean scent filled the room, and it was incredibly refreshing. It tasted of greenness and health.

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Remember when I first started this blog and for a scant time held weekly “You Name It!” contests for as-yet-unchristened cocktails? Don’t worry, it’s okay that you don’t. The point is, naming cocktails is not my forte.

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