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Monthly ArchiveMarch 2017

The-ultimate-guide-to-making-the-perfect-manhattan

The Ultimate Guide To Making The Perfect Manhattan

The Manhattan cocktail is the epitome of classy and is a solid go-to drink for any lady or gentleman. Want to know how to make the perfect Manhattan? Well, you’ve come to the right place.

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Requirements

Bourbon – Sweet Vermouth – Angostura Bitters – Mixing Glass – Stirring Rod (Barspoon) – Julep Strainer ( or any strainer) – Shot Glass/Jigger – Fresh Ice

How-To

Combine the Whiskey (Bourbon/Rye/Tennessee), Vermouth, and Angostura bitters into the bottom of a mixing glass | Fill with two-thirds full of ice | Stir for 25-30 seconds | Place Julep strainer inside and strain into cocktail glass

And that’s it!

Do not panic. I will walk you through this entire process, with photos, and by the end of it all, you will be able to make a classic cocktail for yourself, for your friends, and maybe even impress a lady or a gentleman.

If you want to skip down to the actual preparation of the drink, feel free to do so. If you literally have no idea what you have gotten yourself into or just want to know why you’re buying all of these things, read this. If not, read on, friend.

First, I’m going to take into account the Bartender-On-A-Budget. You, my imbibing friend, are going to need some equipment.

ESSENTIALS

I have chosen this cocktail specifically so you can begin to grow your cocktail equipment (as well as your home bar) AND to get your tongue wet with the good old Classics. We are only going to need four things:

1) Mixing Glass

Mixing glass

You may have seen this before…

For the Bartender-On-A-Budget, you can probably steal a pint glass from your local bar after you finish a Guinness or two. Or maybe don’t do that. You can get a cheap one at the dollar store – try to ask for one that is between 16 and 20 oz (OZ. stands for ounces. If you still don’t know what that is, one ounce is equivalent to one shot glass).

Japanese-yarai-mixing-glass

Japanese Yarai mixing glass

2) Shot Glass/Jigger

Jiggers

Every single person in the Amerikas has a shot glass lying around the house. So, case closed. Unless you want a Jigger – to measure for success and precision + look like a pro while you mix drinks in front of your friends.

Jiggers are measuring tools and can be found at any cocktail specialty shop and even some wine shops. They aren’t all that expensive, maybe a 5 dollar price tag. Grab one if you are serious about the craft of the cocktail. You’ll want a basic jigger for now with two ends. One end should say 1 oz. and the other 2 oz.(Ounces!) Like so:

3) Barspoon/Stirring Rod

Barspoon

When we put all of our ingredients into the mixing glass, then fill with ice, we are going to have to actually mix these sum-na-beechs togetha’. And please don’t stick in any old spoon. I cannot bear witness to any such atrocities again. Unless… You’re on a budget.

But seriously, it won’t cost you more than 10 bucks and you’ll have that spoon for the rest of your career. I still have mine!

Barspoon-personal-stirred-cocktail

Never let go of yours!

4) Julep Strainer

Julep-Strainer

Okay, so we have stirred the ingredients with the ice to chill down the drink and to melt some of that ice into the cocktail to make it less intoxicating. Perfect. Now, we need to get it into a glass for you to drink.

But you can’t just dump the whole thing into a new glass. This is where the julep strainer comes in. The strainer can be found at quality cocktail shops as well for a low price, but you can also sometimes find them kicking around in cooking stores.

If you feel that you can spare a little extra – and even then, it won’t be that much – you are going to want to go to Cocktail Kingdom

They are an online shop based out of New York and they deliver worldwide. They are the best at what they do and a little investing at this site and your career – whether at a bar, cocktail bar, or as a home bartender – will thank you. Using cocktail equipment lets your audience know that you mean business.

Now that we have all the ingredients, we get to do the fun part… alcohol, as known as the spirits!

For this post, I’m going to be using my Yarai Mixing glass and the Hawthorn Strainer. If you don’t know much about the equipment, check this post out.

Ingredients

We only have three ingredients: Bourbon / Sweet Vermouth / Angostura Bitters

Bourbon

1) Bourbon

I will be using Woodford Reserve Bourbon because I love the taste it leaves in my mouth. You do not have to buy the 26er. But if you do, you can practice making more manhattans.

Side Note: The Manhattan can be made with Bourbon, Rye, and it has been made and will continue to be made with other whiskeys, which is fine. I have opted to use Woodford Reserve.

2) Sweet Vermouth 

What is sweet vermouth? Basically, it is a fortified wine. But right now, all you need to know is that the S.V. is the sweetener in this cocktail. It also pairs very well with whiskey. As you can see, I am using Carpano Antica Vermouth, because it is a quality ingredient and rocks the socks off the ladies (Sorry for that joke, plz stay). For the Bartender-On-A-Budget, you can buy cheap Red Vermouths at any liquor store (mostly).

DO NOT buy white vermouth – a.k.a. dry vermouth. What you want is sweet vermouth, which is RED vermouth. Try the Cinzano Rosso bottlings.

Sweet-Vermouth

3) Angostura Bitters

Alright, 3 simple dashes of this bad-to-the-bones bottling and you’re going to tie up the two aforementioned ingredients and add a complexity that would go on to shake the foundations of das bier hall forever.

Old Angus can be found in cocktail ingredient stores as well or ordered online! OOOOKAY. So, we have everything now (Don’t forget the ice, though. Buy an ice tray, freeze ice in the freezer, you have ice. Congrats!). Now we can begin the preparation process.

Angostura-bitters

COCKTAIL PREP

Step 1 – With your jigger/measuring device, pour in 2 oz. of bourbon and drop it into the bottom of your mixing glass. (Or two 1 oz. of bourbon if your jigger does not have a 2 oz. option)

Keep it close to where you’re mixing

Alright, sweet. We have two ounces of bourbon in our mixing glass. High-five.

Step 2 – Take your SWEET vermouth and pour 1 oz. into your jigger, then drop into your mixing glass. Almost done.

Step 3 – Open your angostura bitters and give three good dashes. If you did four, that’s okay. We’re still golden.

Step 4 – Take your lovely Barspoon and hold it like so:

Now, push the barspoon into the bottom of the glass. You will want to keep the back of the barspoon against the side of the glass.

You are going to spin the Barspoon clockwise, with the back of the bar spoon against the side of the glass the entire time. To accomplish this, push out, then pull back in. Push out and around, and pull back in to complete the circle. Two motions.

Do this for 25-30 seconds. Count.

Step 5 – Okay, you have officially mixed the classic cocktail, Manhattan. +100 EXP. points.

Grab your julep strainer and strain your cocktail. I’m using a Yarai mixing glass, which requires a Hawthorn Strainer.

Hawthorn-Strainer

It should just sit in there nicely, but make sure to hold it.

The-perfect-cocktail

Now, Strainnnnnn it into your drinking vessel. The two “correct” glasses, or most commonly used, are the martini glass or the rocks glass. But use whatever drinking vessel you have preferably glass.

Manhattan Cocktail

CONGRATULATIONS. WOW, WE… no, YOU DID IT. Now, enjoy that sum-na-beech.

Congratulations

It’s time to celebrate!

Garnish

Btw, if you want to add an orange twist to your Manhattan…

Peeling-orange

If you hold your thumb down on the peel, you can cut that piece off nicely

Orange-peel-garnish

Then you’ll want to cut it with a paring knife to make it look sleek

Slicing-orange-peels

Beautiful-orange-garnish

And wrap it around your barspoon

Orange-twist-for-cocktails

And then *drum roll*

Manhattan-cocktail-garnish

ALSO, PYROTECHNICS! Slice off a piece of orange peel > hold between thumb and forefinger(fingers) > hold facing your cocktail with a lighter in front of it > SQUEEZE

Aromatizing-cocktail-orange-flame

Orange-zest

You’ve just aromatized your Manhattan, and gotten all the numbers at the bar. Success.

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If you’re into everything cocktail, sign up for the Curious Cocktailian Email List and we’ll send you the new posts right when they come out. That’s the only thing we use the list for – Don’t worry about getting tons of spam or other nonsense!

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More Curious Cocktailian

If you want to understand Liqueurs better, check out these posts:

Fernet Branca

Yellow Chartreuse

And here’s the cocktail basics that every bartender needs to know:

An Easy Guide To Bar Tools

The Ultimate Guide To Making The Perfect Manhattan

• • •

Shaken Jamaican Create cocktails Cocktail

The “Shaken Jamaican” Cocktail

Recipe

Plantation Jamaican Rum 2 oz. | Overproof Rum – a splash | Yellow Chartreuse 3/4 oz. | Grenadine 1/2 oz. | Orgeade 1/2 oz. | Lime Juice 1 1/4 oz. | Creme de Violette – Splash or teaspoon | Jamaican #1 bitters 3 dashes

How-To

Pour in Ingredients / Fill with ice / Shake like crazy / Double-strain into a martini glass

Cocktail Cosmopolitan Shaken Jamaican

Story

Caution: this story is filled with many woes.

I started at a very easy place. I looked at one cocktail recipe that I was inspired by and loved: The Daiquiri. Eventually, I also looked at the Mai Tai, because I love my tiki drinks.

So, right off the bat, I kind of knew what I wanted.

Two things happened next: I decided which spirit I’d used and a few ingredients I wanted to mix the drink with AND I got an idea from a brilliant bartender I work with (We’ll call him Mr. Savage).

I knew the drink was going to be rum-based because the Daiquiri and the Mai-Tai are rum-based. I also knew that Orgeade/Orgeat was going to play a part, as it does in most tiki/tropical drinks.

Lime juice had to make an appearance, for dem citrus notes. And lastly, yellow chartreuse, which oddly does wonders with rum (Courtesy of Mr. Savage).

Now, Mr. Savage filled his highball glass with crushed ice and sprinkled the top with Peychaud’s bitters. I took that idea and one of my own and compared:

Cocktails experimental

The left is akin to Mr. Savage’s drink, and the right is mine. I used grenadine, instead of the Peychaud’s bitters, seen on left. Unfortunately, and predictably, the grenadine sank to the bottom.

I wanted to have three layers: yellow on the bottom (shaken part of the drink), Peychauds, or Grenadine (which, as you can see, did not work out), and a purple layer – Creme de Violette – on top.

This part of the process was a disaster and just did not go as planned. I was disheartened and felt defeated – especially because I had lied in bed at 4 in the morning imagining how brilliant this cocktail would be.

The next day, I wrote the story of the cocktail, which was named, “The Sun Also Sets”:

This is “The Sun Also Sets”. Firstly, the cocktail pays homage to Ernest Hemingway and his first book, The Sun Also Rises, and secondly, is visually appealing and quenches any person’s thirst. This cocktail is the tongue-in-cheek answer to Hem’s masterpiece.

Pretty fun, right? I was really into it. 🙁

Anyways, after some time, I was just like, “Screw it. Let’s shake em’ up altogether.”

So, I had the rum, yellow chartreuse, lime, orgeade, and the Creme de Violette (for oomph), and slammed em’ together. The result was incredible.

Cocktail beautiful Martini glass

After a few more tweaks, I had the style of rum, Jamaican #1 bitters and the exact measurements I wanted and needed.

My drink, the Shaken Jamaican, was finally ready to be consumed.

Choosing Ingredients And Measurements

So, as you know, I had my basic ingredients from the two recipes…

The Daiquiri and the Mai-Tai… which were Rum, Lime, and Orgeade/Orgeat.

I also had the idea of using Yellow Chartreuse and Peychauds bitters from Mr. Savage.

After some frustrating variation tests, I decided to use grenadine as a sweetener, instead of the bitter Peychauds.

It still wasn’t enough. It needed some EXCITEMENT. Fate led me to Creme de Violette.

After the failed “The Sun Also Sets” experiment, I shook everything together, and I shook them hard.

Once I had nailed down my basic recipe, I was ready to start fine-tuning.

Fine-tuning 

This part is essential. Once you reach this stage, you can’t give up and just throw together whatever portions.

The exact opposite needs to be done: this drink requires your obsessive tendencies to reach perfection!

And this is exactly what I did.

I found the perfect kind of rum: Plantation Jamaican Rum (I was using Plantation Pineapple – so good).

Then I added Jamaican #1 Bitters, which paired really well with the Jamaican rum. (It has allspice, ginger, and black pepper notes. Mhm).

To get the exact measurements was challenging.

What the bartender is trying to accomplish is making a cocktail that can be deemed delicious by enthusiasts, connoisseurs, and regular ol’ beer-drinkers. The bartender is also trying to find balance.

First, I sought balance. I balanced the citrus to the sweetness. When I felt that was right…

Second, I had taste-testings. I had bartender buddies try them, for their expertise. I had my dad try one, for his, ahem, beer-drinking expertise.

I made one for my girlfriend, who is not a drinker and offered a unique perspective. Finally, I made some for two of my friends who like drinking all kinds of things.

I took all of their suggestions and altered my measurements yet again – until I was happy.

Taste is so subjective. Not one person tastes the exact same. So, making drinks that everybody will love is hard. And unfortunately, it isn’t going to please everyone.

But I feel pretty damn confident that this drink is going to be (mostly) loved.

Make It

If you don’t know what kind of tools to make, check my other post on bar tools.

Let me walk you through this little doozy. Here, hold my hand.

Cocktail-process

Yeah, I made a fancy picture for this blog post.

First, we pour all of our ingredients (with the help of our jiggs) into a mixing glass or a smaller Boston-tin. Then we fill that mixing glass two-thirds full with fresh ice/the smaller Boston-tin to the top.

Then, I shake everything up – to dilute the cocktail a bit and to cool it down.

I double-strain that sum-na-beech into a chilled martini glass:

Cocktail-bartender-strain-straining-cocktail-hawthorn-strainer-double-strain

Double-straining that sum-na-beech

Finally, I drink the hell out of it.

Naming the Cocktail 

I had a particularly difficult time naming this cocktail, especially since it used to be a layered drink:

Cocktail-sun-also-sets-hemingway

This drink, which is now the “Shaken Jamaican”, used to be called “The Sun Also Sets” because it looked like a sunset (I wanted to layer the purple Creme De Violette on top of the red, but it didn’t work out).  I decided to forgo the layering of the red grenadine/Peychauds on top of the drink and to instead mix up the ingredients. The conclusion was satisfying, to say the least.

I decided to forgo the layering of the red grenadine/Peychauds on top of the drink and to instead mix up the ingredients. The conclusion was satisfying, to say the least.

So, now I had a new drink with a name that didn’t fit.

I loved all of the other tiki drinks, like the Bahama Mama, Mai Tai, in that they had great rhymes and were all super tasty and palatable. I wanted the same thing for my drink.

Here’s a short list of other potential names…

-Destination Jamaica

-Jamaican Destination

-The Flaming Joe

They were pretty depressing names and my unoriginality made me give up for awhile. Then the name just came to me.

I’m sure you guys are going to have a ton of questions. I don’t mind answering them – leave a comment below, or email me if you’d like!

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If you’re into everything cocktail, sign up for the Curious Cocktailian Email List and we’ll send you the new posts right when they come out. That’s the only thing we use the list for – Don’t worry about getting tons of spam or other nonsense!

• • •

More Curious Cocktailian

If you want to understand Liqueurs better, check out these posts:

Fernet Branca

Yellow Chartreuse

And here’s the cocktail basics that every bartender needs to know:

An Easy Guide To Bar Tools

The Ultimate Guide To Making The Perfect Manhattan

• • •

 

An Easy Guide to Bar Tools: What And How To Use

Alright, I won’t lie, there are a bunch of tools involved in cocktail making – luckily, we’ll only be needing six to make basic drinks.

“Only six!?” You say. Well, don’t worry about that either. I swear, each item has a purpose and once you know what they do and how to use them, it’s actually pretty easy. So, just take a deep breathe and don’t sweat it. We’ll get there.

For both yours and my sake, I am going to include some affiliate links – if you want to buy some cocktail equipment via Amazon and have it delivered to you on-the-fly, I’ll have the links below. If you want to do your own online shopping and want quality, check out www.cocktailkingdom.com. They are literally the best.

• • •

These are the essential cocktail tools that you’ll need to begin your cocktail journey:

Mixing Glass

Mixing Glasses Cocktail

What:

The mixing glass can be just any regular pint glass (between 16 – 20 oz. or if it fits with your Boston shaker). You can either stir drinks in just the mixing glass, or it could mighty morph – power ranger-style – with the Boston shaker to become a two-part shaker. Ooooh.

How:

Pour ingredients into the bottom of your mixing glass, and then fill two-thirds of the way up with ice. You can either put in your Barspoon at this point or mighty-morph it with the Boston shaker.

Yarai-Mixing-Glass-Cocktail-Japanese

Boston Shaker

Boston-shaker-bartender-tools-cocktail-mixing-drinks

What:

Used mostly during shaking, the Boston-tin shaker is tin (shocker, right?). Add ice and it gets cold very fast. Perfect for chilling your cocktail.

How:

Once your mixing glass is full of ice, drop it onto the Boston shaker and a seal should form. Tap the mixing glass into the Boston-shaker to make sure that seal is tight. You don’t want your drink getting on your audience.

Strainers:

Hawthorn-strainer-cocktail-equipment-bartender-tools

A) Julep Strainer

Julep-strainer-cocktail-bartender

What:

The Julep Strainer is very simple. It keeps ice and other things you were stirring, out of your completed cocktail.

How:

This one is pretty easy: drop the julep strainer into your mixing glass (pint glass) convex side up.

Strainer-mixing-glass

Wrap your fingers around the mixing glass and hold the julep strainer where the handle meets the strainer with your forefinger, which should be on the lip of your mixing glass.

Pour your stirred cocktail into a glass vessel of your choosing.

B) Hawthorn Strainer

What:

These strainers are great. We use these when we shake drinks, and we make shaken drinks all the time. The Hawthorn strainer keeps out clumpy ingredients and their flavors go into your cocktail. It also keeps out large chunks of ice.

If you want to keep out those tiny ice shards that sparkle on the top of your drink (am I bias?), then use a Tea-strainer – which will be talked about in another post.

How:

Fit it into the larger half of the Boston-tin shaker – or your Yarai mixing glass.

Once again, you’ll want to wrap your hand around the Boston-tin shaker, with your forefinger holding it in place.

Begin to pour into a glass vessel of your choosing.

Also, you can push it up against the lip of the tin shaker and “Close the gate” or you can open it up again. Some Hawthorn strainers will make two streams come out if you close the gate. It’s a spectacle to behold.

Jiggers

What:

I may have mentioned this before, and I will mention it again. Jiggs measure out how much fluid ounces are going into your drink. Any cocktail recipe will most likely have “2 oz. of this, 1 oz. of that.” OZ. = Ounces. Jiggers are synonymous with bartending because the bartender is able to attain precision, consistency in her/his drinks, and look very professional. Don’t worry about the American free-pour yet.

How:

Simply take it into your non-dominant hand and pour alcohol from the bottle into the jigger. Dump the contents of the jigger into your mixing glass or Boston shaker.

Remember: slow-goings is key. Speed will come naturally. Also, it is usually good to keep the jigger near where you’re going to pour it.

Barspoon 

 

What:

What are we doing with the Barspoon, you may ask? Simple – ever heard “Shaken, not stirred.” Well, this is the stirred part. There are two basic and essential parts to cocktail-making. Stirring drinks and shaking drinks. The difference is this:

Stir when all of the ingredients are clear.

Shake when you can’t see through your drink, or if you’re using fruit juices, syrups, etc.

How:

Hold the Barspoon between your ring finger and your middle finger. Put it into your mixing glass with the back of the spoon against the side of the glass.

Two motions will commence: think “Swish and flick”. You’ll begin to turn it clockwise – push to the other side, then pull to your original position. Continue to do this. For 25-30 seconds. Make sure you count in your head. Or aloud, if you prefer.

 –

These six tools are the only tools that you’ll really need to start off on your bartending journey.

Congratulations! You’ve made it through the post!

If you’re feeling adventurous and want some more content… you’ll have to wait.

Also, if you’re looking to buy some of the above equipment, I’ve posted affiliate links below – and you totally do not have to buy them from amazon, there are other alternatives, like Cocktail Kingdom.

Mixing Yarai Glass:

Boston Tin Shaker:


Julep Strainer:


 Hawthorn Strainer:


Jiggers:


Barspoon:

• • •

Glad You Could Join[themify_icon icon=”fa-glass” link=”http://curiouscocktailian.com” style=”Large”]

• • •

If you’re into everything cocktail, sign up for the Curious Cocktailian Email List and we’ll send you the new posts right when they come out. That’s the only thing we use the list for – Don’t worry about getting tons of spam or other nonsense!

• • •

More Curious Cocktailian

If you want to understand Liqueurs better, check out these posts:

Fernet Branca

Yellow Chartreuse

And here’s the cocktail basics that every bartender needs to know:

The Ultimate Guide To Making The Perfect Manhattan

• • •

 

Top-5 Cocktail Movies!

There have been times when my interest and enthusiasm has waned during my formative years of mixing drinks. When I started, sometimes I was discouraged by the learning curve. And other times, I was getting complacent and bored. I wasn’t growing as a bartender.

But every time I found myself losing my way, there were cocktail movies that brought me back to my center. So, I decided to share them.
Plus, some of these are just fun and make yeah wanna mix things up and shake em’ really hard. Watch these five movies and feel the motivation come back.

• • •

#1: Hey Bartender

Just the best movie. It focuses on a local Joe who owns a bar and on an up-and-coming rockstar bartender but has every notable person in the cocktail world featured in this great movie. You will be drooling through the entire thing, so have a refreshment on-hand. Also, you get to see what it’s like to go down to the world’s greatest cocktail event, Tale of the Cocktail, in New Orleans!

#2: Cocktail

Tom Cruise will not let you down. Psh, when has he ever? These boys have their American free-pour game down pact. Tom Cruise’s mentor walks you through the best hangover cure: The Red-Eye. First, we get to party it up in New York, then we jet off to the Caribbean for tiki-drinks! I won’t spoil anything else, I promise.

First, we get to party it up in New York, then we jet off to the Caribbean for tiki-drinks! I won’t spoil anything else, I promise.

#3: Casablanca

The entirety of this movie takes place in a bar. Rick’s bar. The French 75 makes an appearance when Yvonne and her hangers-on orders them, as well as many other thirst-quenchers. If you’re into WW2 history, “Casablanca” takes place during that time period. This movie is one of my favorite movies of all time period. If only Rick’s bar truly existed in Morroco, I’d be there all the time.

French 75 Recipe

London dry gin 1 oz. | Fresh-squeezed lemon juice 1 oz. | Chilled Champagne 2 oz. |  Simple Syrup 1/2 oz.

Shake everything except for the champagne. Strain into Champagne glass. Pour in Champagne on top. Garnish with a lemon peel, if you wish

#4: The Big Lebowski

If you’ve watched the Big Lebowski, then you’ve heard of the White Russian. Our buddy, Gary the Bartender, will take good care of you. It’s also the perfect bro movie.

#5: Casino Royale

What with the “Shaken, not Stirred” non-sense, gorgeous (and my personal favorite bond girl) Vesper Lynd, almost-always-dying-007, and his classic Vesper Martini – which was made on the spot, friends – you can’t really go wrong with this solid Bond action adventure.

I’ve made a few Vesper Martinis and they are delicious. Soon, I will be releasing my Vlog, so stay tuned for that! 

Notable Mentions:

  • Swingers
  • Any Bond flick
  • BarFly

At the end of the day, there aren’t many cocktail movies for bartenders, mixologists, craft bartenders, service people, and the like. But this group of movies is sure to satisfy whatever it is you’re needing satisfied. Grab a six-pack, a bottle of fine wine, or shake a cocktail up and enjoy.

It is the same with reading/writing as it is with drinking/crafting cocktails: As long as you’re reading or writing, you’re in the clear. As long as you are imbibing or creating cocktails, you’re progressing.

• • •

Glad You Could Join[themify_icon icon=”fa-glass” link=”http://curiouscocktailian.com” style=”Large”]

• • •

If you’re into everything cocktail, sign up for the Curious Cocktailian Email List and we’ll send you the new posts right when they come out. That’s the only thing we use the list for – Don’t worry about getting tons of spam or other nonsense!

• • •

More Curious Cocktailian

If you want to understand Liqueurs better, check out these posts:

Fernet Branca

Yellow Chartreuse

And here’s the cocktail basics that every bartender needs to know:

An Easy Guide To Bar Tools

The Ultimate Guide To Making The Perfect Manhattan

• • •