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Thursday, January 24, 2013

When the King Met Elijah



When King Edward VII exchanged his horse drawn carriage for the new fangled glories of an open top Daimler his doctor deemed that it would take more than a touch of ermine to keep him warm and so Berry Bros, Britain's oldest wine merchants (est: 1698) was called upon to prepare a warming tonic for his Royal Highness to swig back whilst risking life and royal limb at the wheel. 


Berry Bros, who have been based in the same olde worlde shop in St James' Street for over three centuries, chose ginger for its health properties as the basis for the warming toddy and regal elixir which became known as the 'King's Ginger' and has been celebrated by "bon viveurs, sporting gentlemen and high spirited ladies since 1903". 


One should always take the opportunity to introduce one's guests to  Royalty and since the Rev Elijah Craig was propping up the bar at home I thought it best to see how they mix.


The King's Ginger has become my favourite liqueur.  The first wave of unctuous sweetness and the tang of sinfully dark ginger cake gives way to a kick as fiery as the devil's pitch fork. 
Having paired it with Elijah Craig bourbon, I christened my cockle warmer a  "Royal Reverend" and hereby bless all those who seek his spiritual council. 




What's your favourite cocktail?

101 comments:

  1. As a fan of both ginger and cocktails I'm shocked that I hadn't heard of the King's Ginger until this moment! Sounds good even when one's cockles aren't in need of warming.

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    1. It's quite a stealth drink, produce only by Berry Bros, which is such an amazing shop, they have fascinating old historical ledgers.

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  2. Tabitha, you're a daring soul. Your cocktail sounds divine, and wish I has some of that King's ginger to take to the mountains as an aprés ski beverage!

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    1. DP: Yes it's delicious on its own too, it has a real kick but in a fun way that demands a whoop!

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  3. Hah! May have to search out the King's Ginger, as Elijah and I are friends...and that definitely sounds good on a cold, snowy evening.... cheers!... Leigh Ann

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    1. Leigh Ann: Elijah has a lot of females in his black book.

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  4. this sounds delicious! you have exquisite taste!!

    xox P

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  5. Don't make me choose, I luff them all x

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  6. Favourite??? There are so many fabulous cocktails, how can one possibly narrow it down to a mere solitary specimen? Not I, for sure. But I fancy your gingery spiced one would be quite the ticket for a cold and frosty evening. Which is very hard to imagine right at this moment, as we are in full midsummer. x

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    1. Glamour Drops & FF: you two need something cool and soothing like iced water and a cold compress.

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  7. Cannot believe that I have not heard of King's Ginger, it sounds delicious.
    Very partial to an Aperol Spritz.

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    1. Claire: lots of folk here won't know it either, I just had my first aperol spritz last year, it was lovely.

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  8. We have Ginger of the Indies here and I brew up a lovely peppermint tea, add an ounce of bourbon a splash of lemon and some honey stir and sip....it's a great nightcap or after dinner beverage!
    Cheers Tabitha!

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  9. That sounds like the perfect tonic for this sporting gentleman enduring a frigid cold snap. I'm off to see if my spirits man carries any of this King's Ginger and seek your Royal Reverend's wise counsel.

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    1. No luck Tabs though my cornerstore man did try to push a Hiram Walker Ginger product from a lower shelf that typically yields devil's sledgehammer results. I'm tucking into my usual Maker's Mark but will give your RR a go soon.

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    2. Never fear GSL, Berry Bros will ship it to you.

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    3. GSL: love the new avatar, oh Berry Bros will ship it? I didn't know that, excellent service.

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    4. Curator, just went to the website and met Mr. Berry himself (seems a most charming fellow)--they don't ship to the US but have just discovered my local beverage superstore (Binny's) does carry it.

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    5. Tabs, glad you like it as my mother has always said I remind her of Jimmy Cagney. On my next trip to the UK, I insist on treating you & Curator to a nice breakfast---with grapefruit.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4R5wZs8cxI

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    6. GSL, wouldn't miss it for the world.
      Simon Berry is a terribly nice chap.

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  10. This sounds delicious! It's on my shopping list for tomorrow...prepping for the weekend :) Warmest wishes!

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  11. Why don't I know of this King's Ginger? I've just swilled back a large brandy in the bawth, I'm in the spirit as well! Cheers Dollface!

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    1. Dani: a large brandy in the bawth - that's hilarious!

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  12. Where has the King's Ginger been hiding all my life? Love ginger, so would love it. My favourite cocktail? Champagne with Brandy, mmmmmmmm

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    1. Patricia - oh eponymous champagne cocktails are utterly utterly lethal but delicious.

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  13. Would love the King's Ginger! Sounds like the perfect companion to our vicious weather. Another one is a good hot sake, though not a cocktail!

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    1. Jill; Oh hit sake blows my mind, I can't drink it.

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  14. Well, being an atheist, I'll usually order a Bourbon Presbyterian. Even us non- believers tend to get holy gamolelied on few of those. On hot as hell days, I have the pool boy shake up over ice equal parts cranberry juice, vodka and lime juice served in a frozen martini glass. I have dubbed this a Coco Loco. But then a Bookers and soda with a twist will always cause a happy dance.

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  15. First of all I love your new header as it looks very elegant. Gosh I wish we had establishments like you do.The palladium windows and wrought iron is so inviting.Never heard of King's Ginger but I can be swayed quite easily. My favourite drink is a white wine spritzer in the summer and champagne .

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    1. Marsha - it looks better doesn't it, more grown up. Yes, great shop, I want to go and be their Saturday girl.

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  16. My favorite cocktail is a vodka martini straight up with olives. But my favorite drink is a red wine I can't afford yet. :)

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    1. Sheree - I think that has to be the world's coolest drink, I've ordered it twice and winced both times, then left it on the table, it is so so so so strong.

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  17. I'm a bit of a spirits fiend, and I'm surprised that I've never heard of the King's Ginger. Thanks for the tip! It sounds like it would be great in one of my new favorites, the Very Dark and Stormy. Rather than the traditional D&S mix of dark rum and ginger beer, the VD&S is made with dark rum, ginger liqueur, and champagne.

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    1. Oh Hexicon, that's crying it to be made at my end too, thank you. The King's Ginger is delicious in champagne too.

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  18. Forget the drink, I want the car.

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  19. Man, it's -40 tonight in the ol' Canadian colony...I demand some King's Ginger to get me through! Must...find....some...

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    1. Damned green dress: I really think you Canadians must have differnt blood, -40 would kill me, thankfully we have the Gulf Stream to keep us reasonably warm in winter.

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    2. Add me to that list - it is -40 today here too on the prairies. NASTY!!!

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  20. Hard to pin down a favourite but certainly nothing multi-coloured; cream based; makes reference to dubious sexual activity; has an umbrella in it; or comes premixed.

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    1. Ann: it's years since I've seen an umbrella laden drink, I now want one for kitsch appeal.

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    2. Don't hold back. Make sure it's served in a hollowed-out pineapple. Involve a coconut and a maraschino cherry. Will you be wearing a bikini and garishly coloured sarong, cocktail rings on every finger...ah, so many memories

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  21. Berry Bros started out as grocers, hence the large sack scales that still hang in the shop. They will ship wherever. Know the family...Laughed heartily when I saw your post.

    As for ginger, I take mine raw with carrot juice.

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    1. Curator: can you get me a job as a Saturday girl? I love that place!

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    2. Bet you do. Especially with Fortnum's as a canteen.

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    3. Curator: oh nice, that Saturday job is getting better and better.

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  22. Ah, well you know I don't drink, although cocktails such as Shirley Temples are my kind of thing. I always appreciate a good British history lesson. I feel smarter and a bit more sophisticated.

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    1. DB: hub's doesn't drink either, he always has a virgin mojito.

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  23. Sounds like Stone's Green Ginger Wine! Which is perfect in summer with cold soda water. Stone's Mac is blended with whisky.

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    1. Erika - I've had ginger wine, it's quite different, that was the one thing we were allowed a sip of at New Year.

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    2. Ooo! I might just have to try tracking down the King's Ginger then :)

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  24. Love this! I don't think they sell it here - I asked Barry who knows all things liquor and he say it is not sold here. Damn - because despite the fact that I rarely drink hard liquor, I am desperate now to have this and the bottle on my little bar! That Damn Green Gress is right - it is so bloody cold here that no one wants to leave their houses. I have nowhere to go today and am glad of that!

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  25. Ginger liqueur sounds interesting. There is something particularly sinful about the term Reverend (particularly as Craig was a Baptist) for bourbon. Trust you to enjoy being especially evil in your pleasures. I used to love a Mai Tai when we went out but never learned to make them. If I'm cocktailing, I generally keep it simple with an old G&T and lots of lemon.

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    1. Elijah Craig was the Rev. Elijah Craig, Dom Perignon was a Benedictine monk, those sublimated urges have to go somewhere.

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  26. Never had this ever...not that I drink much anyways, haha. But, I on the other hand enjoy learning about these things even though I don't drink them, haha. Hope you are well doll xx

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  27. I am not much of a drinker having had to deal with another's alcoholism. However, a small glass of bubbly now and then wraps me in a bubble of giddiness. xo

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  28. Hello Tabitha:
    We generally avoid all things Ginger after having had many an unfortunate experience with crystallised Ginger as children.......don't ask. However, your new cocktail combination sounds powerfully decadent and could be just the trick for these definitely chilly, subzero days. That is, if we are not defrocked in the process of drinking such an irreverent drink!!!!Cheers!!!

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    1. Defrocking and spirits... my lips are sealed.

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  29. RELIGIOUS ORDERS Knocking back the Royal Reverend with Preacher Husband, eh. I've always been amused how many cocktails are taken on faith, from the Virgin Mary to Chartruese (Carthusian monks). At least you aren't drinking that American college classic - Purple Jesus Juice.

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    1. Purple Jesus Juice? -Off a googling, oh and Religious Orders - perfect headline, wish I had that talent.

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    2. A ha, I bet it's a tongue stainer.

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  30. I'm not much for cocktails, but I love the shoppe. The windows, the sign, the gold lettering...the tradition of it.

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  31. Usually an Old Fashioned but I had a Malt Fig Sour last year at the Dorchester bar and since then nothing's quite the same

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    1. Carnegie Hillbilly, that is my favourite cocktail, I have the Dorchester make it for me with bourbon, isn't the creme de figue just delicious with bourbon/whisky?

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  32. Vodka martinis, and red wine. I don't drink mixed cocktails as I hate to waste the calories on something non-alcoholic, pathetic, but true. I also love single malt Scotch, but rarely have one as it hits me hard. But in Scotland.....

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    1. Kathy, me too I stay away from sugar syrup/cream and 4 different ingredients in drinks.

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  33. And love the new blog design and header - sophisticated.

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  34. not much a Drinker...hahaha...but Sicilian wines are Ok..."Nero d'Avola" red wine..."Insolia" white wine...Hey, Your Blog look is much improved...Cheers!
    Auguri, Felicità
    Happy evening

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    1. Kathy and Aure - yes the header is much more my age, I like it too.

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    2. I was so busy thinking of Liquor I missed the new header! I love it! I am struggling with my own design (lack of ability coupled with actual lack of doing anything about it - a dangerous combination!) so I salute you with a glass of the good stuff!

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  35. tanqueray gin and tonic rocks with twist of grapefruit

    or privately at home - a white russian. I don't like people judging me in public bars.

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  36. I am far too boring, a hot toddy is my favorite but I'm always open-minded for new favorite!!! This looks worthy of a good try. Thanks for sharing :)

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  37. King's Ginger is new to me.
    I'm pretty boring as well so I'll just go back and google all the lovelies listed above.
    I do love excellent Champagne, very fine Red wine, dry White wine and several Vodka thingies. Told you I was boring.

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  38. The rakes round here take the 'Ginger King' (their words)in the flasks to have a nip when they go a-hunting!

    HB drinks the Taylor port with the Christmas stilton. Ida

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    1. Oh Ida, it is perfect for a hip flask, it has such a punch at 42 % proof.

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  39. Your cocktail sounds divine (and I like your new blog header!) I tend to go for simple drinks - white wine, red wine, gin & tonics, vodka tonics, champagne. I used to drink SATC style cocktails way back when but I find many of them too sweet for me now and the 3-6 ingredients is a bit much.

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    1. LR - me too, can't do the overly sweet cocktails.

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  40. My husband sent me on a mission to BBR for just this purpose, it was a treat to just wander around the shop and they were extremely nice to me. Have you tried their gin?
    I''m looking forward to trying a Vesper martini once I can drink again, but my favourite would probably have to be the classic champagne cocktail.

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    1. MP: I have never really liked the taste of gin, though now that I'm older I would probably give it a go again, I know there are so many nuances depending on the brand.

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  41. Hello! I am so happy you stopped by my blog because now I am a follower of yours. As you noted in your comment I LOVE Scotland and dream of moving there, as that is probably not going to happen I enjoy learning more about it through blogs and visits.

    I cannot wait to have a few hours to read your blog from beginning to end!

    Have a great night, Elizabeth

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    1. HI Elizabeth, I dream of moving to the US - we are never happy with our lot!

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  42. Thanks for adding the "follow by email". Now I won't miss any of your posts!!
    Jennifer

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    1. Oh you found it, it seems so far down the page, I'm not sure anyone will notice it.

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  43. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  44. See Fleur de Guerre's blog on a whole series she's done on King's Ginger and its history...http://www.diaryofavintagegirl.com/

    Heidi

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  45. oh i miss your heading! but i know change is good.

    you have such a way with words. i can almost taste this ginger liquor.

    i sadly don't have a signature cocktail or anything else cool like that.

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  46. When I lived in Dublin, once a month I would go to Barry Bros just off Grafton Street and spend an hour examining all of the wines before splurging on one really good bottle of wine that I would take home and savor. It was my ritualistic treat to myself so I was so sad the last time I was back in Dublin to see that Barry Bros wasn't there anymore :( I guess once I left, they closed up shop! Now I open my wine with my Barry Bros bottle opener which I am so very happy I saved.
    And my favorite cocktail, is a Vodka Martini. I know martinis should be Gin, but Gin makes me weepy, and nobody wants to sit next to weepy girl. x.

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  47. I had quite an unexpectedly fiery sip or two of Calvados tonight, don't think it will be used for more than nion Soup, chicken with apples, and clafouti...I'd much rather have champagne with rasberry puree, it's my downfall everytime. The King's Ginger sounds delicious...and being that is carries the name Ginger, makes it perfection.
    Why don't we have white fur capes with black little tales dangling about? You'd thin in these modern times someone would have figured out a way to design such a garment for us commoners, in fake of course.
    xo J~

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  48. Give me a Grey Goose Vodka Martini and I am very merry. I only need one and I'll feel good till dawn.

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  49. Much to the disgust of those who accompany me to bars/restaurants, my favourite tipple is anything with cream or Baileys in - Kahula Kolada, Pina Colada, FBI, BBC. Needless to say, I don't have them often, but when I do it's a pleasurable experience!

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  50. I'm allergic to alcohol but I still crave for a teensy bit every now and then. My friends often look aghast when I whip out my inhaler after a sip so I now do it at home.

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  51. I have already hunted down where I might obtain this elixir of the gods. As I have gotten older, ginger is more and more a flavor that rocks my palate. Pairing it with with the liquid gold that is bourbon - genius! I can't wait for the sublime experience of the first sip.

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  52. I used to enjoy the occasional gin & tonic with lime many moons ago. It's been about 5 years since I stopped drinking altogether.

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  53. Im a woman of simple but classic tastes.... Gin and Tonic , a great hot weather drink

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  54. Oh you have me most curious about this drink now! The ginger sounds delightful.

    I've not really met many cocktails I didn't enjoy. A G&T is probably my staple though. I also love a top shelf margarita!

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  55. That sounds truly amazing!

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  56. I can only take ginger in small doses and even less of hard alcohol. I'm a wimp, that will wipe me out.

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  57. I have too many faves to choose! But...in my top 10 there would be a properly made Bloody Mary jostling for position with a Singapore Sling.

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  58. Bravo Tabs! The King's Ginger is superb! I have never been a liqueur drinker but I really like this. I'm presently sampling various ratios with the Elijah Craig to get my Royal Reverend benchmark. Edward the Caresser & I apparently do have much in common.

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