Category Archives: bourbon

Black Panther #1/The Mustachio

(Get a load a that bomb-ass title page!!)

It’s been way too long. I think Batman v Superman got my superhero juices flowing again, but this comic really sealed the deal. Tuesday morning MPR aired a story about women and people of color in sci-fi/fantasy fiction, and they kicked it off by mentioning that Atlantic columnist, author, and all-around smart dude Ta-Nehisi Coates is relaunching Marvel’s Black Panther series.

I first encountered Coates in the interview segment of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in July of last year, speaking about his new book Between the World and Me. This guy’s clearly got one hell of a journalistic acumen on him, but what really struck me about his comments and his writing at that time was his thoughtful, compassionate approach to the complexities of modern American life, especially at the intersections of race, social justice, and politics. The moment I heard Coates was writing a comic book, it took me only half a second longer to decide that I was going to buy that comic.


I’ve been craving some diversity in my comics lately, both in the creators and the characters. On that count, too, Black Panther delivers. The cast is entirely people of color, women, and even two characters of non-straight sexual orientation. Contrasted with the world of T’Challa, Batman v Superman‘s parade — or should I say funeral procession? — of angry, angsty white orphan boys feels almost unbearably dated, woefully behind the times. And while Marvel still stubbornly refuses to inject any genuine social or political commentary into their Cinematic Universe, they are killing DC in their representation of the diversifying faces of America.

Brian Stelfreeze (Shadow of the BatDomino) draws and Laura Martin (JLA: Earth 2Universe X) colors the first issue of the relaunch. Let’s fix ourselves a Mustachio and talk about the comic!

The Mustachio

1.5oz Kentucky straight bourbon (I use Bulleit)

1oz Cointreau

.75oz Campari

.5oz lemon juice

lemon twist

Shake all ingredients over ice; strain to a rocks/Old-Fashioned glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and serve.

So “The Mustachio” is the closest recipe I could find to the drink I actually make, which goes 2:1:1 on the spirits and omits the lemon juice. I’ll be trying it with this recipe soon enough, but so far I’ve been mixing it my way because that’s how it was first served to me at Bathtub Gin & Co., a speakeasy in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. I’m not sure why the “official” recipe calls for lemon juice; it’s already got the sour element in the Cointreau, rounded out by the bitter and sweet of the Campari and bourbon. In any case, I’ve been meaning to write this one up for a while, and this is what I was sipping on while reading Black Panther #1.

(On the one hand, it’s too bad we’ll find no mustachioed villains in this comic. On the other — we know we can expect much better from Mr. Coates!)

Black Panther #1

This comic was a breath of fresh air for me. I was completely unfamiliar with T’Challa/Black Panther going into it, and while I’d say that hasn’t changed a whole lot in the pages of one comic, I really enjoyed reading a “new” character for the first time and being able to recognize the personal and emotional distances between T’Challa and me.

Anyway, I do know a little something now about Wakanda, the African nation over which T’Challa rules — or fails to rule, as it happens. As the comic opens, T’Challa has returned to govern his country after the death of his sister, Shuri, who had ruled in his stead while he was off Being a Fucking Hero or some such whatever. Wakanda is one of the most technologically advanced nations on Earth thanks to its large deposits of “vibranium,” the fictional metal from which Captain America’s shield, among many other Marvelous things, are constructed.


Well… the people of Wakanda ain’t pleased. In the comic’s first panel T’Challa has been clocked on the noggin by some kind of projectile — presumably a Rock, the patented projectile weapon of Angry Mobs everywhere — and his honor guard of dudes with magic laser-spears start shooting back. Turns out Laser beats Rock, and so does Black Panther. We’re meant to understand that the Angry Mob is under some kind of psychic influence, as indicated by the Angry Mob With Glowing Eyes Effect(tm). More on that later.

In this comic, T’Challa seems completely uninterested in being king of anything. Coates alludes to this in his NPR interview with Audie Cornish, explaining that T’Challa is “in a position where he felt committed to do certain things, but in his heart was really not there, it wasn’t really who he was.” Coates relates to his protagonist on this level, feeling as though other writers and thinkers have tried to turn him into the “one person everyone should go to to know about all things black.” It’s always promising when a writer feels some insight into their characters, like they can get inside their fictional heads.

But the similarities between writer and hero seem to end there. Where Coates is humble and thoughtful, T’Challa is brash and even a little arrogant. He narrates in archaic metaphors with a haughty, detached air of entitlement reminiscent of characters like Boromir in The Lord of the Rings or Leonidas in 300. This is no criticism of Coates’ writing — on the contrary, it further signifies that T’Challa is merely playing a part he didn’t ask for.

He’s really only interested in being a superhero: he jumps, he punches, he runs really really fast — and he gets pretty much nowhere, story-wise. Coates has created some compelling tension between “soldier” and “king,” to use the comic’s own words — the guy who leaps into the fray, and the guy who should look before he leaps. There’s a sense that T’Challa occupies a strangely conservative position in relation to the other characters and to his country; he has grudgingly accepted his role as king, but doesn’t want to adapt to that role and its responsibilities. He’s stuck in the past — to a rather extreme extent that I won’t spoil for you here.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast — Ayo, Aneka, Ramonda, all black women — set up some familiar questions around law and justice. The “psychic influence” on the people of Wakanda comes from a woman named Zenzi, who seems to be in league with a surprisingly large band of dissidents. Her motivations are unclear so far, but she occupies somewhat of a populist position in relation to the unilateral power of T’Challa/Black Panther. Wakanda seems to be headed for a conflict between a populace with legitimate grievances but questionable leadership, and a ruler with (more or less) absolute power who has little experience with ruling (and apparently no desire for it, either).

To be sure, these are all questions that the superhero genre has been asking for decades, but something about the setting, the characters and the artists in Black Panther #1 seems to promise answers we haven’t necessarily seen before. I’m really looking forward to the next issue — I feel like I can trust Coates to treat these questions and these characters with the complexity and care I’ve come to expect from him in other media.

wp-1460143958929.jpegBrian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin are pulling their weight, too. Their collaboration really shines during an emotional moment between Ayo and Aneka, two of Black Panther’s elite royal guard. Stelfreeze draws the two women only as silhouettes while the light of a campfire dances behind them, and Martin’s coloring is bold, vivid without destroying the peace or intimacy of the scene. Coates’ dialogue is strong as always, but in these several panels the art leapt forward to perform the more meaningful storytelling.

Go grab this comic! I’m totally on board with this team of artists and their cast of characters. I’ll definitely be picking up issue #2 on the day it comes out, too.

— A

“I’m the best at what I do…”

Wolverine Limited Series #1 (1982)
Wolverine Limited Series #1 (1982)

“…But what I do best isn’t very nice.” Wolverine announces this at the beginning of his first solo adventure by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. “I’m here on business,” he tells us. “To hunt. To kill.” The opening two pages of this comic remind us immediately that Wolverine is a different breed of super-hero: he is a killer and he makes no apologies. But from this stark opening, Chirs Claremont and Frank Miller immediately contrast the familiar image of Wolverine as warrior-wild-man with Wolverine the lawman. Before we see him take on any evil ninjas, assassins, or samurai, we witness him take a beer mug to the face from a drunken poacher. We’re spared the details of the ensuing fight, and instead told of the poacher’s subsequent arrest. Wolverine not only spares the reckless the hunter’s life, he skips bragging about the violent details.

Marvel’s 1982 four-issue Limited Series Wolverine is without a doubt the best of the character’s stories I have ever read. It’s a tightly crafted little tale of love, betrayal, and honor. Wolverine’s monologues lend a distinct flim noir vibe, and between that and the kung-fu flick backrop I can’t shake the feeling that Quentin Tarrantino read this as a young man. Frank Miller’s sequences of Wolverine cutting down ninjas have the look and pacing of a melee from Kill Bill. Claremont keeps the dialogue smart enough and short enough to depict Wolverine as a thoughtful, vulnerable man searching for his place in life. It breaks up the machismo action sequences and creates a more vibrant, realistic character.

What sets Claremont and Miller’s Wolverine apart from others I’ve read is simplicity. Unlike the monthly and later twice-monthly Wolverine comics, there was no need for filler to meet the publishing schedule. Instead, you get a story that examines Wolverine’s natural berserker tendencies and asks how they fit the noble super-hero mold. The story provides Wolverine numerous chances to prove his control, cunning, and honor. The berserker may be useful as Logan goes up against swarms of assassins, but when threatened by more ambitious and merciless enemies like Lord Shingen, it’s Wolverine’s restraint that proves his most powerful weapon. Leading up to the final showdown in issue #4 (titled “Honor”), Wolverine does his best work without killing. Instead, he exercises more creative and stealthy modes of combat against hoods and henchman, reserving his full skillset only for his tormentor and the story’s arch-villain.

Wolverine has become my new obession since reading this four issue series. I’m still startled how dumbed down Wolverine seems to have become since his solo beginnings.  It’s possible this impression is an unfair and baseless assumption formed from Marvel’s recent X-Men movies (and I must admit I haven’t watched the Wolverine Origins movie). IMDB reviews, and more importantly, friends and fans of the comic, tell me it’s neither worth watching nor faithful to the source material. Either way, what I’ve read of the comics so far and what I remember of them growing up is that they were never as intriguing or well-written as Claremont and Miller’s. I suspect this has something to do with the business of comic book publishing: after releasing something as badass and action packed as the original Wolverine Limited Series, Marvel must have had a huge demand for the character by the time they launched his first ongoing series in 1988. Filling that void with stories twice a month must have been a huge challenge, and it shows in the character’s slow unraveling throughout the 2nd and 3rd volumes of his original series. Wolverine was allowed to grow only gradually between churning out new adventures for the grueling publishing schedule. His history is revealed so slowly Marvel eventually spawned yet more Wolverine titles.  Today, the Wolverine section of the new comics shelf is an overwhelming jumble. It’s enough to drive a fan away, but now I’m hooked on what a good Wolverine story can be. The character’s checkered past (both in his own universe and his publishing) makes him all the more interesting.  You can bet you’ll be reading more of my Wolvie readings in the future. In the meantime, I’m sure all this criticism has made you thirsty.

Ever since my past Wolverine post, I’m stuck on beer cocktails. But since boilermakers hardly count as a cocktail, I was happy to find a recipe like Aisha Sharpe’s Beggar’s Banquet on It’s a more creative take on the always effective whiskey+beer combination that pairs flavors in truly complementary ways. The syrup, lemon juice, and bitters bring out the best in the bourbon without smothering the unique maltiness of the Old Speckled Hen. The recipe originally calls for Maker’s Mark, but I prefer the cheaper, stronger, and more interesting Wild Turkey 101. I’ve stuck with Old Speckled Hen because I love it, and because it’s beautiful color and biscuity, yeasty flavor provide a nice complement to the sweet vanilla notes and bite of the Wild Turkey. It’s intoxicating, a little bit mean, and deliciously infectious–it tastes something like (one of) the best Rolling Stones’ album sounds.

Another beautiful thing about this drink: even with the 11.2 fl. oz. bottle, you have to flip the record (or open a new comic) to finish the beer. You get slightly more mileage with the pint cans. You get some bang for your buck with this drink–not unlike the Rolling Stones’ discography. Similiarly, I’m excited to try this drink with different bourbons. American blues has many flavors. Perhaps it’d be just as fun to try this recipe with different English ales, eh Bub? The Beggar’s Banquet is a well-balanced, velvety drink with a bubbly bite.

Just in time for your All Hallow’s libations, here’s a gorey variation of the above cocktail. I give you…

Wulf, of Bryan Baugh's Wulf and Batsy. Image from Baugh's website,
Wulf, of Bryan Baugh’s Wulf and Batsy. Image from Baugh’s website,

Werewolf’s Blood

Peychaud’s Bitters
0.25 oz. lemon juice
0.75 oz. honey
2 oz. rye whiskey
Newcastle Werewolf Blood Red Ale
1 orange half-wheel or wedge for garnish (preferably blood orange)

Just as with the Beggar’s Banquet, add all ingredients except beer to a shaker and fill with ice. Use as many dashes of Peychaud’s as you like. Shake, then strain into a highball glass filled with fresh ice. Top with your Werewolf, then garnish with an orange.  If you’re really a gorehound, use a blood orange–they’re just starting to come into season by Halloween.

Werewolf and rye are good buddies ’cause Werewolf is brewed with rye malt instead of barley. Together they make for a funky-sweet, slightly musty character. Peychaud’s was made for rye (well, really it was made for brandy, but we can skip the sazerac history lesson), and it adds to the drink’s bloody hue. Honey provides the sweetness without the strong maple flavor, keeping the rye flavors up front. Ultimately, this drink is sweet, complex, and every bit as balanced its bourbon-based, non-spooky progenitor.  Happy Halloween!

CnC Brain Trust Special #1 Spectacular!

Holy nerd extravaganza, Batman! A brand new ongoing series on the real-life events behind the Cocktails and Comics cyber-facade: Brain Trust Special #1!


The minutes:

  • Jean Paul Valley is a boring, derivative character who only served to artificially extend the life of an otherwise great storyline (Batman: Knightfall).
  • Andy Kubert’s Damian: Son of Batman 4-issue miniseries jumps off from an imagined future first created by Kubert and Grant Morrison in Batman Vol. 1 #666; Bruce Wayne is dead and Damian assumes the mantle of the bat. Ass-kicking ensues.
  • Prince Oberyn Martell was far too likable and therefore could not possibly survive more than a season on HBO’s Game of Thrones. He had become such a fan favorite that his final scene in “The Mountain and the Viper” was akin to watching a horrible, horrible remake of The Princess Bride in which Inigo Montoya is brutally murdered juuuuust before he achieves his long-awaited revenge.
  • Knob Creek’s 120-proof Single Barrel Reserve is a vile substance on its own, but drinkable (even pleasant?) in a 2:1:1 ratio with limoncello and amaretto.
  • WP_20140607_007Cherry Heering is a liqueur that serves well as the sweetener in a whiskey sour. A 2:1:1 bourbon-lemon juice-Heering ratio is recommended. Adjust the sweet and sour quantities to your taste. And don’t forget the egg white and soda for that gorgeous frothy head!
  • The Muddler is a new villain of our own creation; he’s a down-on-his-luck bartender who wanders the clubs and dives clobbering those poor souls unfortunate enough to drink (or serve) bad cocktails. His clobbering device of choice is an excessively over-sized hardwood cocktail muddler.
  • Chris McMillian is a walking library and national treasure of American cocktail history. Check out this video of his take on the mint julep, which should probably be the only julep you ever make. I mean really — how many barkeeps do you know who recite prose from the 1880’s as they prepare your drink?
  • Behold! the elusive sharktrain, CnC’s Master of Sazeracs, whose first post to the blog we await with bated breath.


  • The cocktails of the evening included: the Sazerac, the Perfect Strange, the Mint Julep, and the Cherry Whiskey Fizz. Look for the recipes in upcoming posts!
Uptown Pizza goes with everything
Uptown Pizza goes with everything


Comic booooooooks
COMIC BOOOOOOOKS… and a mint julep


Batman Eternal, American Vamp, and the New Old-Fashioned

Holy expendable income, Batman! I’ve bought a lot of comics lately. From left to right:

Scott Snyder has revived his American Vampire series, and based on the strength of his writing for Batman I’ve decided to give it a go. I’m three issues into the original run of 34 (#1-5 featuring Stephen King as co-writer) and it’s pretty killer so far. Smart, fresh, and definitely not your granddaddy’s (nor your teenage sister’s) vampire story.

Issues 1-3 of the Batman Eternal series, which just started this month and, if Batman #28’s preview was any indication, seems pretty promising. (Can you tell I dig Scott Snyder?) Got these on a recent outing with the other CnC dudes to The Source Comics and Games.

The three latest additions to Andrew’s Batman Comics CanonJLA: Crisis of ConscienceInfinite Crisis and Batman: Battle for the Cowl.

And just for kicks, here’s what I’m drinking to warm myself up after a day chainsawing in the cold, rainy, miserable Minnesota spring thus far:

Maple-Orange Old-Fashioned

2oz Knob Creek Kentucky straight bourbon

1tsp Grade A maple syrup

Fee Brothers orange bitters

Combine all in a pint glass with ice, stir; strain over large ice cube into a rocks glass.

I loooove maple and orange together (especially orange zest on French toast or in pancake batter). You can also fix this sucker with Knob Creek’s Smoked Maple bourbon and just use simple syrup instead of maple. Garnish with an orange wheel if you’ve got one on hand.

IFC 2014 Debrief: Stress, Hospitality, and Why I Fix People Drinks

Recently Linz and I engaged in a spot of friendly family rivalry: IFC 2014, the second annual Bacher-Murray clan cooking competition. For the uninitiated, “IFC” stands for “Iron Fucking Chef,” because the Bachers and the Murrays are just that badass and also because they do not shy away from a healthy dose of profanity.

Delicious food was cooked and eaten by all eight of us, but food isn’t what we concern ourselves with on this blog, is it?

1964846_10202626828406875_323227882_nLinz and I cooked a Mediterranean/Mexican fusion falafel salad, and to fit that theme I tested and carefully selected a few “featured” cocktails to go with the meal: the Lion’s Tail, which you’ve already read about on this blog, an as-yet unnamed beverage incorporating citrus and pomegranate, and a non-alcoholic version of the same (basically a pomegranate lemonade). I chose these flavors for their respective ties to both Mediterranean and Mexican cuisines.

I do like cooking. Not as much as Linz, but maybe I’m getting there. Cocktails have been kind of a “gateway drug” to cooking — in recent weeks I’ve started looking forward to getting home from work, having a shower, fixing myself a nice drink and attempting whatever awesome-sounding recipe Linz has pulled out of the internets.

So of course I like fixing drinks for myself. But I have just as much (or more) fun fixing them for other people. After the hurricane of throwing together an appetizer, a full meal-sized salad, a dessert, and three different cocktail choices between eight people in an hour or less, I can say with some certainty I don’t think I’d like being a bartender. But they also say we sometimes learn best when under stress.

I had fixed both the Lion’s Tail and the Bourbon Pom before, so I knew they’d hold up well — especially since their flavors are pretty apparent just looking at the ingredients, so it was easy for folks to choose something they’d enjoy.

On the other hand, the pomegranate lemonade was a new one for me, in that I had never fixed it before the last five minutes of our allotted cooking time. I didn’t know whether it would be heavy on the sours of the citrus or the bitters of the pomegranate; whether it would be too sugary or too watery.

I went into it pretty much blind, and I was pretty nervous about the results. But it went over well, and I’m glad I thought to provide the non-alcoholic option; it meant our diners could enjoy the same flavors present in the Bourbon Pom without the booze. Even if only one person selects that beverage (as was the case), it’s still worth the effort and whatever stressing out I might’ve done about it at the time.

(Later that weekend I fixed one for myself, and it is pretty tasty.)

So yeah, I like drinking in general. But the low-cost, high-return of mixing cocktails for our friends and family has become a rewarding hobby, and like cooking, it’s a skill I can apply to a lot of different contexts.

Without further ado, Andrew and Lindsay’s IFC 2014 Cocktail Menu:

The Lion’s Tail

2oz Buffalo Trace bourbon

1/2oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

1/2oz lime juice

1tsp simple syrup

1-3 dashes Angostura bitters

lime wheel/wedge

Shake all ingredients over ice; serve straight up or on the rocks in your glass of choice (I recommend a double Old Fashioned) and garnish with the lime.

Most recipes will tell you to strain this drink, but fruit juices produce a nice frothing effect when shaken that separates in the glass almost like a freshly-poured Guinness. The greater the quantity of fruit juice, the greater the effect; pour it right away before the drink settles out in the shaker. The end result is a smooth, creamy head over a spicy, boozy bourbon drink. Delish.


Next up: the Bourbon Pom, so named for the brand of pomegranate juice I found in our grocery store.

pom2oz Buffalo Trace

1.5oz pomegranate juice

1Tbsp Il Tramonto Limoncello

1Tbsp lemon juice

lemon twist

Shake all ingredients over ice; strain or pour straight up/on the rocks.  Again, to get that nice foam on top of your drink just pop the top off your shaker (right away!) and pour straight into your glass. Crack that lemon peel over the top to release some more of those lovely citrus oils.

Careful with your measurements on this drink — the first time I fixed it, I put in an OUNCE of limoncello instead of a tablespoon, and the result was waaay too sweet. Like, lemon-drop candy sweet.

And last but not least, the non-alcoholic pomegranate lemonade.

3/4 – 1 cup cold water

1/2 cup pomegranate juice

1.5Tbsp lemon juice

1.5Tbsp simple syrup

lemon wheel/wedge

Combine in a tall glass, throw in a few ice cubes, and stir — carefully! Your average pint glass is full to the brim with these quantities, so either scale it down or be sure to put it in something a little more spacious. Again, garnish with your slice of citrus.

Ike Joins the Party! Wild Turkey 101 & Batman Black and White

First thing’s first: it has recently come to my attention that those of our readers who don’t have hillybilly folk in their bloodline may not be familiar with my bourbon of choice.  Wild Turkey 101 is a 50.5% alcohol Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  This spirit comes with the kind of bite you would expect from any 101 proof liquor, but it balances that with a rich, oaky-vanilla flavor and is surprisngly sippable.  It’s great on the rocks or with a splash of water, and it also comes in a cheaper and more polite 80 proof version.  It certainly isn’t the best bourbon, but I’d take it over Jack Daniels any day of the week, and for my money it’s just as good as Maker’s Mark.  Now on to the comics.

Mr. Andrew Dale, the creator and spiritual leader behind this blog, recently invited me to be a regular contributor.  I guess he knows I’m both a lush and a comic nerd myself.  We met for an outing at the Source Comics and Games a couple weeks ago with our buddy Matthew Sharktrain, and the final issue of DC’s new Batman Black and White mini-series was one of the two comics I walked away with.  This review is kinda like my Issue #0.


This is an impressive compilation of Batman stories.  Couldn’t you tell by Bat’s evil scowl on the cover?  I paired it with Wild Turkey 101 on the rocks, mostly because it was the only booze I had in the house, but we’ll say the unadulterated burn of the bourbon goes well with this comic’s stripped down (but no less striking) art.  The issue balances five stories which all highlight often overlooked aspects of Batman mythology.  I bought it for Olly Moss and Becky Cloonan’s “Bruce,” which opens with “mystery blonde” Ms. Price’s “walk-of-shame” from Wayne Manor after a one-night-stand.  Cloonan’s art keeps the story relevant and dramatic: her style feels fresh in the Batman universe and is more expressive than dialogue or narration ever could be.  Moss and Cloonan touch on Batman’s sadistic side by highlighting his lust for crime fighting and juxtaposing it with the womanizing implicit in the mask of “billionaire playboy.”

Other standouts in this issue are Adam Hughes’ “She Lies at Midnite” and Dave Johnson’s “To Beat the Bat.”  Both stories again deal with comic book portrayals of women.  Hughes’ also highlights Batman’s sadistic side, this time by playing off his feelings for Selina Kyle and Barbera Gordon.  Does Batman really care about these women, or is he more concerned with revenge?  “To Beat the Bat” is problematic in its portrayal of the story’s only female character, but its final question is compelling: how many criminals are truly brave enough to face the Bat?  The story is all the more powerful for leaving the answer to that question (and how it might weigh on Batman’s conscience) up to the reader.

Up Next: The Sandman Overture #1!

Lion’s Tail/Batman #28

batman28_cvrMmmm… That new-comic smell.

And it was a good comic, too! I’ve been less-than-thrilled with the Zero Year stuff I’ve been getting in the mail lately, so this one was a most welcome change.

But first things first: the Lion’s Tail.

This is a drink my lady friend spotted on The spirit is bourbon, jazzed up with a little allspice dram, lime juice, simple syrup, and a dash of Angostura bitters. The bourbon comes on strong in the nose while the lime juice and allspice take over mid-to-late in the sip, with a sweet, spicy aftertaste. As Practical Wedding suggests, it’s a great winter cocktail but I think it would go nicely with Mexican or Caribbean dishes, too.

And what’s allspice dram you ask? It’s a liqueur of the allspice berry, of course! Fragrant, cinnamony and sweet, it pairs well with both bourbon and brandy. It can be used as a rinse for your glass if you’re looking to add something with aroma but not so much sweetness. Could be intriguing in a baking context, too — perhaps in place of vanilla or added to your favorite batch of cookies.

Added bonus: you don’t ever need much more than 1/4 or 1/2oz of this stuff because it’s so potent, so it’ll be a long-term resident of your cabinet.


2oz Maker’s Mark bourbon

1/2oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram

1/2oz lime juice

1tsp simple syrup

1 dash Angostura bitters

Combine all in a cocktail shaker (or a mason jar!) with ice and shake. Serve straight up or on the rocks with a wheel of lime.

Now, on to Batman Vol. 2 #28: “Gotham Eternal.” Spoilers!

So DC is working up to this big event called Batman Eternal in which Gotham City is apparently in ruins and stuck under martial law; issue 28 is our sneak peek. Batman has decided to rack up yet another count of endangering a minor, as he and his brand new sidekick Bluebird crash the “only nightclub left in New Gotham.”

The comic is a real clipper of a story — I loved every second and it was over way too soon (hopefully a good sign of things to come). Scott Snyder has been a terrific Bat-writer thus far, and I’ve liked what I’ve seen from Dustin Nguyen in the past, too (the “Heart of Hush” storyline in particular).

Now I promise I didn’t peek ahead and choose my cocktail accordingly, but… Catwoman is our antagonist du jour, and boy is she a sight for sore eyes after Zero Year’s entanglements with Doctor Death and (strong pull of your boozy beverage here) the fucking Riddler.

batman 28Bat vs. Cat in both verbal and actual sparring is a treat as usual. Catwoman’s all like “Bitch, you did NOT just bust up my ancient Egypt-themed nightclub palace” and Batman’s all like “PEOPLE ARE DYING.”

(The reader should always and without fail imagine Batman’s voice in the Christian Bale fashion.)

And then Catwoman’s all like “For serious, you fucked up my goon squad and you could’ve broken one of my priceless Egyptian cat-god statues,” and Batman’s like “PEOPLE ARE DYING. GIVE ME THE MACGUFFIN,” to which the perpetually-classy Selina Kyle quips, “You could’ve just asked nicely.”

OK, so this is a teensy bit of a misrepresentation of the actual dialogue. I won’t spoil what (or who?) this issue’s MacGuffin is, but I was underwhelmed compared to the other 20-odd pages of the comic.

Overall, Batman #28 was spicy and refreshing (gasp!) just like the lion’s tail. Bourbon has been a great place to get started in bartending; it’s versatile and doesn’t require much investment in other liquors to get you going — but sometimes it’s worth it. Case in point: allspice dram.