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Why is the rum gone? Trick question—it isn’t.

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Alcohol, like most things, can often be intimidating for the very reasons that it can be rewarding. As many spirits, aperitifs, bitters, and liqueurs exist as could possibly be dreamed up, and with the current boom in the craft cocktail and distilling industries, even a bona fide expert must learn to expect, and hopefully enjoy, the unexpected. Working your way through this labyrinth is just that: work. When I was first learning to bartend, my manager consistently emphasized this point—that enjoying alcohol is about developing taste through a discovery of spirits. His favorite milepost on that journey was rum. “Everybody always thinks they’re into whiskey;” he was quick to point out; “but just because they haven’t realized they love rum…

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