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I can feel another Eric Felten rager coming on — my curious condition wherein I just want to make cocktails from his book, How’s Your Drink? — and as this one coincides with the advent of the new season of Mad Men, I give you the Vieux Carre.

First, please allow me to quote liberally from Felten’s prose regarding the Vieux Carre’s New Orleans origins (New Orligins?):

“Then there’s the Hotel Monteleone‘s Carousel Bar, where the circular bar revolves slowly under a whimsical carnival canopy of carved wood, mirrors, and bare bulbs. The barstools don’t go up and down, thankfully, but the experience can still be a little disorienting; get caught up in a conversation, and the next thing you know, you’re on the other side of the room. Ask bartender Marvin Allen to mix you up a Vieux Carre, a terrific drink invented by the Carousel’s barman in the 1930s, and unknown to most mixologists outside of the Hotel Monteleone.”

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Guest post by Sean Lorre, PhoBlograpHusband.

While stocking up on booze in New Jersey over the holidays, this interesting little gem caught my eye…

I can’t say particularly what drew me to The Kraken, if it was my childhood love of the original The Clash of the Titans (1981), my college-age infatuation with Captain Morgan Spiced Rum (we all make mistakes), or the $15.99 price tag; perhaps all of the above. Whatever the attraction, we needed a dark rum and the Kraken seemed like a fun little toy to experiment with. It promised the type of dark, molasses-y qualities of Myers or Goslings Black Seal at half the price and with a hint of spice that can be quite lovely when not overdone. I’m looking at you, Cap’n…

After reading the label, checking out the website and tasting it, I have to admit, I’m still a little confused by this product. Although it’s not what you would consider a craft liquor — it contains caramel color and “natural flavors” — I found The Kraken rather enjoyable.  It has an interesting nose, similar to Captain Morgan but more subtle and complex. It has little of the depth I associate with black rum but is robust enough to hold up to most anything you want to throw at it — or more accurately, into it. It calls itself imported (via Jersey City, I might add…) but is bottled and, I guess, blended in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, which I imagine is across the border from Johnsburg, Illinois. But I digress…

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I have done such a complete 180 on Campari over the last few years… actually, sometimes I fear that it’s not so much that I’ve done a 180 on Campari as I’ve suffered from a life-long brain-fart conflation between Campari and Pimm’s. Because they’re both russet-toned and from the other side of the ocean, just like Communists, and my memory really started going to pot when I hit 34. The point is, I will still look at you sideways if you tell me you really love Pimm’s Cups and probably ask to see your papers because you’re clearly a pond-jumping toffer, but I will toast with you the whole night through if you tell me you love Negronis and Americanos. (Which are from Italy, I realize… logic’s not my strong suit today.)

It’s clear I’ve also been on a bit of an old-fashioned kick lately, probably because whiskey drinks on the rocks are inherently winter-appropriate, to my mind, and not terribly elaborate to make. This Campari Old-Fashioned is super-easy to make and gives you a reason to pull the Campari bottle down from the shelf between the months of November and April.

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Have you bought your bottle of white whiskey yet? Why not? The Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey I’ve got isn’t even top-of-the-liniest (that would be this) and it’s still supremely drinkable. Have I not yet convinced you of this?

If not, get a load of this: The hands-down easiest cocktail you could ever fashion — as in old-fashioned (BWAHAHA). This was yet another cocktail I caught wind of while Googling around for corn whiskey concoctions to make. And like the other corn whiskey cocktails I’ve already made, yet again I was surprised by this one. I just keep on expecting/assuming that my jar of rotgut’s gonna taste like, well, rotgut. But really it’s so sweet it’s almost cute, and its afterbite is pleasingly bracing.

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