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  • 5 Ways to Sweeten Your Drink

    Common cocktail sweeteners

    Why does your homemade Daiquiri not taste as good as the one you ordered last night? The answer may be an important but too-often-misunderstood mixological ingredient: the sweetener.

    To break down how different sweeteners behave in cocktails, we turned to Dave Arnold, who knows a thing or two about food science. As director of culinary technology for The International Culinary Center (formerly the French Culinary Institute), he was responsible for teaching aspiring chefs the principles and techniques of modernist cuisine.

    Today, he's bringing his special expertise to the world of bartending, using centrifuges, vacuum machines, liquid nitrogen and more to create stunningly original concoctions at New York's cutting-edge watering hole Booker and Dax.

    Here's his advice on working with the five major sweetener categories paired with a few of his delicious drink recipes. Cheers!

    White Sugar
    This most basic of sweeteners is composed entirely of sucrose, giving it "a very

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  • Our 7 Favorite Movie & TV Cocktails

    Who can forget James Bond's "shaken, not stirred" Martini, Don Draper's trusty Old Fashioned or Carrie Bradshaw's fruity Cosmo?

    An onscreen cocktail may be not only memorable, but also a key part of a character's identity. (Just try imaging The Big Lebowski's The Dude sipping something other than a White Russian. It doesn't work.) So, it should come as no surprise that some of the most famous and popular drinks in mixological history are tied to a fictional character.

    We watched a range of TV shows and movies to come up with our list of the seven top on-screen drinkers and their signature tipples. So turn on the TV (or pull up YouTube or Netflix) and mix up some drinks-it's the perfect way to spend a summer afternoon. Cheers!

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  • The Five Biggest Rum Myths

    This story was written by Wayne Curtis.

    Rum bottles and a Daiquiri

    "Of all the spirits in your home, rum is the most romantic," wrote bon vivant James Beard in 1956. He was right, of course. A single sip can bring to mind tall palm trees and tiny umbrellas, exotic vacations and colorful, complicated history. But romance is the opposite of fact, and rum has thus proved a fertile breeding ground for myths, which have taken root and spread like bougainvillea.

    Here are five I heard while researching And a Bottle of Rum and since, with correctives:

    Rum is always sweet.
    Yes, all rum is made from sugar. No, that doesn't mean it's sweet. Yeast diligently converts sugar to alcohol and carbon dioxide before it goes into the still. A white rum can be as dry as any liquor. And aging in oak adds tannins and other wood flavorings that can produce dark rum as puckery as Scotch.

    Rum is best mixed with fruit juices.
    Rum has traditionally been a cheap spirit, and so it was often mixed with cheap juices for frat

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  • 7 Frozen Drinks for Summer

    When it's hot out (as in fry-an-egg-on-the-street hot), nothing feels as good as sipping a frozen cocktail.

    And fortunately, top bartenders around the country are making delicious icy concoctions. All-star bartender and advisory board member Simon Ford convinced us of their value (and quality) a few years ago with his passionate defense of blender drinks.

    Made correctly, a frozen tipple can make a scorching summer day not only bearable but actually enjoyable. So dig out your blender and whip up one of these seven slushy (and boozy) treats! You'll be glad you did.

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  • Gourmet Shot: Boozy Gelato

    Contributed by Katie Parla


    Romans are traditionalists, and that philosophy extends even to dessert. All the gelato shops across the city offer pistachio, chocolate, hazelnut and strawberry, but just one boozy flavor-zabaione, an egg yolk and Marsala wine custard-makes the list of standards. Recently, though, at a small but growing number of artisanal gelaterie, the selection has gotten a spirited makeover.

    At Vice, which has several locations, conventional zabaione is enhanced with some super-premium Florio Targa Riserva 1840 Marsala. (Most of its competitors use cheaper wines.) The white chocolate gelati are another delicious choice, with one variety incorporating rum and the other Grand Marnier.

    The popular flavors at Il Gelato Bistrò near the Vatican include a ricotta, Cointreau and candied orange zest combo, as well as dark chocolate and rum. There's even a weekly happy hour held on Fridays, where drinks are served with savory gelati. Port is paired with gorgonzola gelato,

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  • What to Drink for Bastille Day

    This article was written by legendary bartender and advisory board member Dale DeGroff.

    French 75 cocktail

    Get out your beret: Sunday is the historic French holiday Bastille Day! It's time to play a few games of pétanque and eat a bowl of gruyère-crusted onion soup and a plate of steak frites. But you must have at least one cocktail before you order a bottle of Beaujolais. So what'll it be, Mack...err, make that monsieur Mack? Fortunately, you have a number of Gallic options, some dating all the way back to Prohibition.

    While most elixirs served during The Great Experiment were terrible, a few good concoctions were enjoyed in that period. We exported the "American School of Drinking" to France, as Albert Stevens Crockett called it in his wonderful Old Waldorf Bar Days, and after Prohibition ended, we got in return beauties like the French 75--and, if you believe the legend, the Bloody Mary.

    Now the Bloody Mary needs no set of instructions, no discussion, since every cocktail

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  • The Five Biggest Vodka Myths

    The Five Biggest Vodka Myths -

    While vodka is usually associated with Russia and other Eastern European countries, it's actually America's favorite spirit. (We drink more vodka than gin, rum, tequila and cognac combined.) But despite its popularity, it's still pretty misunderstood. To clear up some common misconceptions, we asked Tony Abou-Ganim, an all-star bartender and author of the recently published Vodka Distilled, for help. Here are the five most common myths he hears, along with the truth. Cheers!

    All Vodka is the Same.
    Not even close. The spirit reflects where it comes from and what it was distilled from. "Traditional-style vodkas, primarily from Eastern Europe, are much more assertive, robust and celebrate their raw ingredients," says Abou-Ganim, while "the West produces a much softer, more approachable vodka."

    More Distillations = Better Vodka.
    We hear this from a lot from both brands and consumers. But according to Abou-Ganim, this isn't true. For one, each company defines exactly what

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  • Piña Colada Recipe

    Piña Colada cocktailThe Piña Colada is a classic tropical cocktail with rum, pineapple and coconut milk. This classic recipe will transport you to paradise. In honor of National Piña Colada Day this Wednesday, here's our simple recipe. Getting caught in the rain is not required.

    1.5 oz Light or gold rum
    2 oz Coconut milk
    2 oz Pineapple juice
    Garnish: Cherry and pineapple wedge
    Glass: Hurricane

    Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a Hurricane glass. (You may also blend all the ingredients with crushed ice instead.) Garnish with a cherry and a pineapple wedge.

    Check out for more rum recipes and Piña Colada variations:
    Kingston Colada
    Coconut Colada
    Don Julio Colada
    In Defense of Blender Cocktails

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  • Secret Booze Bargains: The Best Bottles Under $25

    We're not gonna lie: Getting to drink high-priced, rare spirits like Johnnie Walker Blue Label Scotch and Pappy Van Winkle Bourbon on a regular basis is one of the best perks of working for (It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.)

    But we know that price doesn't always equal quality. While some bottlings are, frankly, overpriced, we've also discovered a few low-priced brands that are not only quite drinkable but may in fact be as good as (or better than) their higher-priced alternatives.

    Obviously, it takes a bit of skill and luck to ferret out these rare budget gems, since there are still many awful cheap spirits on store shelves. Thankfully, we were able to get a few of our illustrious advisory board members to divulge their favorite bottlings that all, unbelievably, cost under $25. (That's almost the price of a single cocktail in some New York bars!)

    So check out our slideshow for the full list of delicious bargain spirits and then go shopping. Cheers!

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  • Give Your Father the Gift of Cocktails

    Think quick: What's the ultimate "Dad drink"? We bet you said Scotch, or maybe bourbon.

    And those are both great answers and very tasty to drink, but they're not the only brown spirits out there.

    Aged tequila and rum offer some of the same wonderfully oaky and rich flavors, and they're perfect for a variety of refreshing cocktails.

    So this weekend, honor your pops by making him a delicious drink. Here are a few of our favorites. You can thank us later. Cheers!

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