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alcohol

Before You Plug into Netflix, We’ve Got Your Jessica Jones Cheat Sheet

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I’ve been waiting months for the premiere of Marvel’s Jessica Jones on Netflix and the debut of our first female comic-book anti-hero. As much as I dig Agent Carter, Supergirl, Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel, their heroics lean towards the squeaky-clean. Jessica Jones will be our first female hero with some grit under her nails, dirty laundry lying around the apartment, and the smell of alcohol on her breath. Up until now, flawed heroes were limited to men—Wolverine and Iron Man, to name a couple. Jessica will be our first 3-dimensional female superhero. And it’s not just because of the conventional noir trappings of too much hard living and hard drinking; it’s the character herself. She’s deeply damaged and powerfully conflicted.…

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Prohibition: Lost Drink Recipes from a 1920s Bootlegger

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Equal parts history, chemistry and alcohol make a delicious formula for an entertaining read. You don’t need to love drinking to enjoy Lost Recipes of Prohibition: Notes from a Bootlegger’s Manual (Countryman Press, October 28 2015). The new book from noted whiskey enthusiast and author Matthew Rowley was inspired by a notebook of illegal liquor recipes from the 1920s, Rowley’s annotations add depth and candor to an already fascinating historical artifact. Popular television shows set during the period, such as HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Netflix’s Peaky Blinders, tend to tell a somewhat glamorized tale about the crime organized around alcohol production and smuggling during Prohibition. However, in Lost Recipes of Prohibition, the booze itself is the star of the story,…

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Review: Susan Cheever Reveals the Secret History of Drinking in America

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“Here’s to alcohol,” Homer Simpson once famously said, “the cause of—and solution to—all of life’s problems.” This simple quote from one of America’s great animated philosophers might sum up our country’s relationship with booze, from the days of the pilgrims all the way to today’s latest age of (relative) temperance. Or so might say Susan Cheever, author of Drinking in America: Our Secret History (Twelve; October 12, 2015). The book is a unique cultural tour seen through the perspective of one of our favorite pastimes—and one of our darkest problems. “Since the beginning, drinking and taverns have been as much a part of American life as churches and preachers, or elections and politics,” Cheever writes. “The interesting truth, untaught in…

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What you need to know before you turn up your nose at the thought of drinking vinegar

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With the cool autumn nights here, backyard barbeques and pool parties make way for indoor dinner parties and haunted hayrides. And we all know that no social gathering is complete without liquid refreshment. Instead of falling back on the safe choices, like beer, wine or if you are West Indian, rum punch, you should give shrubs a try. When most people think of shrubs, they think of bushes. However, there is another definition that is slowly regaining popularity – a drink made with fruit juice, sugar, vinegar and alcohol. Before you turn up your nose at the prospect of drinking a vinegar based beverage, keep in mind that the drinking of shrubs goes back nearly 4,000 years. As Michael Dietsch’s…

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Holidays over? It’s never too late to make your own booze!

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If your New Year’s Eve plans were lackluster this year, why not add a little pizzazz to 2014 by making your own liqueurs or infused spirits? It’s much easier than you might expect, thanks to Homemade Liqueurs and Infused Spirits by Andrew Schloss (Storey Publishing, November). Learn the basics. Whether you are a DIY expert looking to branch off into artisanal foods, or someone who considers a dash of glitter to be the height of craftiness, this project is perfect for you. The introductory pages of the book provide all the information you need to get started, including some basic definitions, an explanation of how flavors develop, and a clear list (and photograph!) of all the equipment you will need.…

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