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The Late Movies: Drinking With Rachel Maddow

Here's something you probably weren't aware of: when she's not being the outspoken host of MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, Rachel Maddow is an amateur bartender. I realized this when I decided it was high time I learn a bit more about the fine art of cocktail mixing, and found a lengthy series of videos on YouTube featuring Rachel slinging liquor behind a bar. Now, she's not a master bartender by any means, but her explanations are so clear and cogent that I found them really helpful. I'd read about twenty explanations of how to make an Old Fashioned before I saw Rachel's description, and suddenly it clicked -- duh, it's really simple. So this Late Movies is dedicated to you wannabe cocktail-heads out there. I hope these help you as much as they helped me!

Rachel lays out the basics of the Jack Rose, and gives us a little history lesson about applejack along the way. It was the original American liquor, back when we had more apples to ferment than corn-cobs!

Here's how she makes an Old Fashioned -- the original cocktail, from before cocktails were called cocktails. (Fun fact not included in this video: the cocktail was originally meant to be a hair-of-the-dog morning drink, cock-tail having something to do with cock-a-doodle-doo and waking up and all that.)

Champagne + sugar = super-bubbly fun cocktail. Not just for girls anymore!

The sidecar, one of my favorites. A close relative of the Negroni.

A brief respite from the recipes -- apparently on Rachel's show she has segments called "Cocktail Moments," though I can't really tell what they have to do with drinking (are you supposed to be drinking along with the show at home?) -- other than that RW loves cocktails.

A "perfect" cocktail, with equal parts sweet and dry vermouth. (I have hated dry vermouth for years -- and recently realized this may be due to the fact that I have kept my bottle of dry vermouth in the cabinet rather than the fridge. Apparently vermouth can go bad! I fear many of us are accustomed to the taste of rancid vermouth.)

The gin sling is also a vermouth-based drink. Fun fact: a "sling," like a "fizz" and many other types of drinks, was a separate category of drink completely apart from the cocktail. Only in the 20th century did "cocktail" become a catch-all for mixed drinks.

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Tips For Baking Perfect Cookies
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Perfect cookies are within your grasp. Just grab your measuring cups and get started. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education.

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Netflix's Most-Binged Shows of 2017, Ranked
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Netflix might know your TV habits better than you do. Recently, the entertainment company's normally tight-lipped number-crunchers looked at user data collected between November 1, 2016 and November 1, 2017 to see which series people were powering through and which ones they were digesting more slowly. By analyzing members’ average daily viewing habits, they were able to determine which programs were more likely to be “binged” (or watched for more than two hours per day) and which were more often “savored” (or watched for less than two hours per day) by viewers.

They found that the highest number of Netflix bingers glutted themselves on the true crime parody American Vandal, followed by the Brazilian sci-fi series 3%, and the drama-mystery 13 Reasons Why. Other shows that had viewers glued to the couch in 2017 included Anne with an E, the Canadian series based on L. M. Montgomery's 1908 novel Anne of Green Gables, and the live-action Archie comics-inspired Riverdale.

In contrast, TV shows that viewers enjoyed more slowly included the Emmy-winning drama The Crown, followed by Big Mouth, Neo Yokio, A Series of Unfortunate Events, GLOW, Friends from College, and Ozark.

There's a dark side to this data, though: While the company isn't around to judge your sweatpants and the chip crumbs stuck to your couch, Netflix is privy to even your most embarrassing viewing habits. The company recently used this info to publicly call out a small group of users who turned their binges into full-fledged benders:

Oh, and if you're the one person in Antarctica binging Shameless, the streaming giant just outed you, too.

Netflix broke down their full findings in the infographic below and, Big Brother vibes aside, the data is pretty fascinating. It even includes survey data on which shows prompted viewers to “Netflix cheat” on their significant others and which shows were enjoyed by the entire family.

Netflix infographic "The Year in Bingeing"
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