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One of the best gifts you can give someone interested in cocktails is booze. You don't even have to break the bank (although you might reconsider picking from the bottom shelf) because it doesn't have to be the rarest or the most expensive item in the shop. Pick a decent base spirit and you really can't go wrong. For example, there's no such thing as having too much gin for classic cocktails, and who would turn away a nice bottle of whiskey or rum? Certainly not me, so if you want a no-brainer gift idea that will be used and appreciated, look no further. The problem with this approach is that a bottle of alcohol may not be the most personal or creative gift idea. It will work as a last resort, but you can do better!

If a bottle of booze is the baseline, or the

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Drink of the Week: Pink Lady

The name may not inspire you, but this drink actually surprised me. If you dig around in old cocktail books for this recipe you find that they are all different. Flipping through the pages of the Savoy, for example, you find a recipe that lacks the Applejack and has no citrus. It doesn't sound like something I want to try. You can find versions that add brandy to the mix and even some with cream. One might specify lemon while another will call for lime. It seems that darn near anything that had a light pink hue was once called a Pink Lady—a name you could just pass by thinking it's a girlie drink before you started comparing vintage recipes. Even Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh goes to great lengths in his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails to avoid revealing the name of this drink until you turn the

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Drink of the Week: Millionaire No. 1

Back in March I posted a recipe for the Sloe Gin Fizz. If you haven't had the pleasure of tasting this drink, or more importantly, tasting real sloe gin, I highly recommend making a little room in your cabinet for this wonderful spirit. Do everything you can to find Plymouth Sloe Gin since other brands may not be the same product. Some people say that the best sloe gin is homemade, and that's probably true. Just be aware that many of the bottom shelf brands have nothing in common with blackthorn berries, let alone actual gin. Plymouth, on the other hand, is made using the real fruit and their own gin, and it is absolutely delicious.

Besides the Fizz, there are several sloe gin cocktails worth trying, and one of them is the Millionaire #1. This drink appears in Harry Craddock’s

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Drink of the Week: Floridita Cocktail

Cocktails stay cold in the wind and snow!

When cold weather dominates the land, it's hard not to think about places you might rather be—instead of digging out from the latest snow storm. Why not bring home a little of the exotic, maybe from the not-so-distant Caribbean? This week and next, we will feature two Caribbean cocktails that share something in common: Cuba.

And that's not all they share. Although US readers are legally barred from traveling to Cuba as tourists (let alone enjoying any products that originate there) you should know that Cuba has played an important role in shaping the cocktail landscape. Most notably, a bar called El Floridita in Havana has made many significant contributions—most of them attributed to the 1918 bartender/owner Constantino Ribalaaigua Vert. Constante, as his friends referred to him, featured numerous daiquiris and classic American cocktails on his menu. One daiquiri was named

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Drink Of The Week: Ward 8

Locke-Ober is the third oldest restaurant in Boston and the birthplace of our Drink of the Week. Supposedly invented in 1898 to honor one Martin M. Lomasney for winning the election to a seat in the state's legislature, the cocktail is named for the city's Ward 8 which historically supported Lomasney. Although this story is disputed by some, few can deny this is a tasty cocktail.

There is also disagreement on the exact proportions of this drink, but most folks recognize the same ingredients. You occasionally see Canadian Club used as the base spirit, but it really should be rye whiskey. You need a lemon and an orange and a bit of grenadine. I had one of these at the M & S Grill a while back and it was very nicely executed. Some prefer it on the rocks, but I like mine served up. How you decide

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Drink Of The Week: Twelve Mile Limit

This weekend is Repeal Day, the anniversary of the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution which ended Prohibition. Since the day is not quite upon us, I thought I would feature a cocktail that became prominent during Prohibition, or you might say because of prohibition. The name refers to the limit of a country's sovereignty along its sea borders. In other words, in order to escape US jurisdiction (and Prohibition), would-be drinkers had to travel twelve nautical miles away from the coastline in order to enjoy their favorite cocktail.

Like the Scofflaw, this Drink of the Week pokes fun at our "Noble Experiment", but in this case, it's more than just words. At the time, since it was not illegal to drink alcohol, only to manufacture, sell and transport it, anyone with a boat could head a mere three miles out, buy whatever they wanted and drink

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Drink of the Week: Zombie

It's the last of the Halloween cocktails, and I am finishing with a good one, the Zombie. This is another Tiki classic, but like many others in its class, this drink is rarely made properly. There's a good reason for that: the drink's creator, Don the Beachcomber, kept his recipes a secret from the world believing his unique, tasty creations were vital to sustaining his business. Over the years, plenty of knock-off recipes have appeared, but the original remained a mystery until recently.

If there is an expert alive today that knows more about tiki mixology than anyone else, it's Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. His research, along with that of several others, has produced a growing compendium of tropical masterpieces along with a few surprises. One of these is the original Don the Beachcomber recipe for the Zombie which appeared in a New York Times article. The Beachbum acquired

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