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Pick your poison -- Cocktail Corner

A spicy Dark 'n' Stormy served in a lowball (left) and a festive Purple People Eater in a flared glass rimmed with purple sugar.
A spicy Dark 'n' Stormy served in a lowball (left) and a festive Purple People Eater in a flared glass rimmed with purple sugar.

Welcome to The Miami Student cocktail corner, where the over-21 members of our editorial staff bring you two cocktail recipes -- one classic and one in line with the food section theme. This week, we offer up the Dark 'n' Stormy, a stalwart and spicy rum drink, and the Purple People Eater, a sugary (but surprisingly tasty) concoction sure to please fans of Mind Probes, Trash Cans and other brightly-colored refreshments.

Classic: Dark 'n' Stormy

For consistency's sake, we stick with the International Bartenders Association proportions for our classic cocktail recipes.

2 oz of dark rum -- Gosling's Black Seal is (arguably) the original, but we tried out the rather potent Kraken Black Spiced Rum.

3 \0x2153 oz of ginger beer -- Any brand will work, but spicier varieties will more effectively cut through the booziness of the rum.

1 lime wedge for garnish

Directions: Pour the rum into a glass with ice and top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge on the edge of the glass. One or two good swirls with a spoon helps to mix the liquid, but if you're a purist (or stubborn or lazy), feel free to tip one back with the ginger beer floating.

These proportions lead to a strong cocktail. Upping the quantity of ginger beer certainly softens it, but most bartending sites (and our staff) agree that the acidity from about \0xBE oz of freshly-squeezed lime juice (half a lime) is the best way to round out the drink. Mixing a drinkable cocktail -- like life and tightrope walking -- is all about balance.

Themed: Purple People Eater

This festive libation is from the food blog

1 \0xBD oz of vodka

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1 oz of blue curacao

1 oz of sweet and sour mix

1 oz of grenadine -- Head to the bottom of this story for a quick primer on homemade grenadine.

1 oz cranberry juice

A small plate covered with purple sanding sugar (sprinkles). If you don't have any, mix some cane sugar with purple food coloring, then let it dry out for at least a half hour.

Directions: Rub the edge of a glass with a lime wedge (or some other citrus fruit) and rim the glass with the purple sugar. Combine the vodka, blue curacao, sweet and sour mix, grenadine and cranberry juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to combine and strain into the glass.

Optional: Go on Spotify and cue up Flying Purple People Eaters. Dance wildly and tell everyone the dark purple liquid in your hand is Essence of Nightshade. Have a happy Halloween and imbibe responsibly.

Bonus Recipe: No-boil Homemade Grenadine

Many people come to recognize the taste of the shockingly red, pomegranate-flavored syrup after either a handful of childhood Shirley Temples or a handful of adulthood Tequila Sunrises. A dash in lieu of some simple syrup in a Whiskey Sour (or just floated on top of a Gin and Tonic or Vodka Club) adds a refreshingly fruity note. Don't go too heavy though, because the intense pomegranate sweetness can overpower lighter cocktails. While the excessive amount of sugar involved doesn't make this recipe healthy, per se, it doesn't have any of the artificial crap contained in the store-bought Rose's brand.

1 cup of 100 percent, unsweetened pomegranate juice -- Pom brand works great and you can find it at most supermarkets.

1 cup of sugar

A dash of lemon juice -- A little acid is imperceptible by itself but will serve to brighten the pomegranate flavor against the sugar.

A funnel

A glass bottle with a lid or cap, capable of holding however much grenadine you plan to make. Feel free to multiply the quantities of sugar and juice required, but remember that you won't be using more than an ounce of the syrup per drink -- and usually a lot less.

Directions: Using the funnel, pour the sugar into the bottle. Then, pour the pomegranate juice in second to avoid any sugar clumping in the funnel. Top with a small dash of lemon juice. Lock the cap down tight and shake the bottle like mad every five minutes or so until the sugar is entirely dissolved. Depending on how much grenadine you're making, this can take anywhere from a half hour to an hour. Once you're done, label the bottle and refrigerate -- it will stay good for at least a month.

Email for future cocktail suggestions, questions, comments and concerns.