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Ring in the new year with some rum cocktails

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As you host or head to a party tonight, here are some cocktail and bottle suggestions for anyone looking for rum drinks.

We start with Facundo Eximo, one of the premium sipping rums from Bacardi. Eximo is a blended, 10-year-old rum that is delicious when tried neat or on the rocks. It’s a great addition to any home bar or party lineup. It’s medium-bodied and spicy with notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. It comes in a very attractive bottle as well as you can see in the photo below, so you’ll look good as well when bringing this to a party. This rum is so tasty it’s almost a shame to add it to simple cocktails like rum and cola, but we have a nice cocktail recipe for you to try as well.

Try this recipe for the Eximo Nior pictured above:

Ingredients:
· 1 ½ parts FACUNDO EXIMO
· ¼ part cold brew coffee syrup
· ¼ part Amaro Montenegro
· ¼ part Combier orange liqueur
· Orange peel for garnish

Method: To make the cold brew coffee syrup, combine equal parts cold brew coffee and Demerara sugar. In a mixing glass, stir all the ingredients with plenty of ice. Strain contents into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange peel.

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2016 Year-End Movie Review: Jason Zingale

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2016 will likely go down as one of the most depressing years in recent history, but that has more to do with a certain reality TV host being elected President of the United States, not to mention some particularly hard-hitting celebrity deaths, than the movies we watched along the way. In fact, despite the usual collection of flops, disappointments and general mediocrity, there were a number of great films throughout the year spanning a wide range of genres, which is evident in my own Top 10. Though I stand behind every choice on this list, it should in no way be considered definitive due to some elements out of my control (for instance, Martin Scorsese’s “Silence” not being screened in time) and an extraordinarily busy holiday season.

Best Films of 2016

1. “HELL OR HIGH WATER

For as old-fashioned as “Hell or High Water” feels at times, it’s a movie that deals with some incredibly timely themes, especially in a post-election America still reeling from the last economic depression. Following his little-seen 2013 gem “Starred Up,” director David Mackenzie delivers yet another engaging family-centric story (based on a script by “Sicario” writer Taylor Sheridan) that excels in its simplicity. It’s gorgeously shot, displaying both the beauty and sadness of its picturesque landscape, and features a trio of excellent performances from Chris Pine, Ben Foster and Jeff Bridges. Nobody does unhinged quite like Foster, and this is easily Pine’s best work in years, but the movie ultimately belongs to Bridges as the devilishly funny, veteran Texas Ranger who would rather go down in a hail of bullets than be forced into retirement. Though the film follows a pretty standard cops-and-robbers formula, it does so with such razor-sharp proficiency and well-drawn characters that it succeeds not only as a terrific genre flick but a modern American classic in the same vein as “No Country for Old Men.”

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2. “MANCHESTER BY THE SEA

An incredibly moving, intimate and authentic story about a broken man who’s forced to confront his demons, “Manchester by the Sea” is the most devastating, heart-wrenching drama of the year. Casey Affleck is phenomenal in the lead role, delivering a subtle but powerful performance that showcases an actor at the top of his game, while Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler and relative newcomer Lucas Hedges all deliver outstanding work in supporting roles. Though the movie is sprinkled with quite a bit of humor (much more than you’d expect for the subject matter), “Manchester by the Sea” is primarily a portrait of grief and how it affects everyone differently. There’s no guidebook or one-size-fits-all remedy to mending a broken heart, and writer/director Kenneth Lonergan conveys that point beautifully amid the wintry, gloomy backdrop of his New England setting. “Manchester by the Sea” is heavy stuff, but for a film that deals mainly in misery, it never feels exploitative, and that goes a long way in earning your attention and respect.

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Drink of the Week: Brandy Alexander

Brandy Alexander.The biggest drinking holiday of the year is tomorrow night, and I’m thinking it might be time for something really special, or at least something especially fun to cap off a long day of drinking, eating, and socializing. We’re basically talking about a pleasantly uplifting dessert in a glass that makes for a very nice egg nog alternative.

Brandy Alexander is a simple enough drink that is typically regarded as a true cocktail classic and a more cocktailian-friendly version of your Chocolate Martinis and such. It’s true that acerbic postwar cocktail scribe David A. Embury dissed it to some extent in “The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,” noting that it was the opposite of the appetite-encouraging, pre-dinner drinks he preferred. At the same time, even he agreed it made a grand dessert drink, even if believed those to be of a lower order.

On the other hand, this is not a drink to show off your favorite brand of super-high end Cognac or Armagnac; it appears it was developed during prohibition to hide the flavors of poor quality liquor. I should add that the original (the Alexander), although a less popular version of this drink, was made with gin. I’m not sure if was the bathtub variety but, if you’re talking Tanqueray or Gordon’s, it’s also worth a try that way. Definitely feel free to substitute your favorite whiskey or rum in this one if your New Year’s liquor cabinet is brandy-impoverished.

Brandy Alexander

1 ounce brandy
1 ounce crème de cacao (most prefer the dark colored version)
1 ounce heavy cream
Ground nutmeg (desirable garnish)

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5 Ways to Improve Your Pickup Truck and Its Performance

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One common trait among many truck owners is that they are always looking for a way to improve their ride. Whether it be the truck’s performance – like wanting it to be able to tow more or go off-road – or just look better, there are plenty of ways to improve your truck, even if you just bought the brand new truck of the year. If you’re a truck owner looking for a couple of ways to spruce up your truck, here are a few suggestions to get you started.

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to January

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January tends to be a bit of a cinematic wasteland every year, as studios dump a bunch of films they didn’t like or couldn’t market properly. Meanwhile, most people are catching up on awards contenders that have finally expanded beyond their limited runs. This January is a mixed bag of new installments in old series, a few original movies and a couple of promising new flicks. But even amid those installments of rusty franchises comes some films that may just be weird enough to last beyond the January wasteland.

“Amityville: The Awakening”

Who: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bella Thorne, Cameron Monaghan and Kurtwood Smith
What: A single mother moves her three children into a haunted house, unaware of its bloody history.
When: January 6th
Why: The story of the Amityville haunting has been pretty well documented in movies, including last year’s “The Conjuring 2,” but this film looks like it’s using the original case as a jumping off point for a new source of terror. The trailer features lots of jump scares and cross-cutting but also some genuinely gross moments and cool visuals. While this could just be a cash-in on an established property, the addition of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Kurtwood Smith in front of the camera and writer/director Franck Khalfoun (who helmed the exceptional “Maniac” remake) behind it suggests that there could be something more to this movie.

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