Image: @newhollandbrew

Gin

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Perhaps gin is my favorite liquor because I’ve never gotten sick from too many gin shots (Who takes shots of gin? Show yourself!), though I like to think it’s based in gin’s versatility. From the classic gin and tonic to something more adventurous like a Jitterbug Perfume (gin, beet shrub, luxardo triplum, framboise, lime), I’ll drink it. But as with most cocktails, it’s all about the base, which is why I’ve been trying out a few local Midwestern-made gins whenever I get the chance. Some favorites include: Chicago’s Letherbee Distillers Gin, a fennel-heavy number that works especially well in gin and tonics (Letherbee also has amazing seasonal gin offerings); Three Oaks, Michigan’s Journeyman Distillery Bilberry Black Hearts Gin, which provides a fun little kick of black licorice flavor; and Holland, Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Blue Haven Gin, which is steeped with blueberry and thus my favorite. Don’t worry, the berries aren’t overpowering, creating a slight and enjoyable sweetness. [Becca James]

Outside Over There

Whether you have kids or not, it’s a good idea to keep a few Maurice Sendak books around the house. While choosing a favorite would be like choosing which Wild Thing you love most (the goat one), I’m continuously in awe of Outside Over There. The story of Anna—whose baby sister was stolen by goblins because she was playing her wonder horn when she should have been watching—is Sendak’s most elaborately illustrated book. Rendered in soft, almost pastel-like colored pencils, his Winsor McCay and Walt Disney-influenced figures are drawn more photo-realistically than usual and set against surreal Flemish Renaissance-inspired landscapes. Sendak pays special attention to rendering fabric in Outside Over There. To prepare for the journey to find her sister, Anna dons her mother’s canary-yellow raincoat, a voluminous garment that falls in great folds around her. As Anna floats through the countryside, the coat floats along with her, a great cloud of material she rests in like a cushion. Outside Over There addresses depression and resentment and obligation with the same confident matter-of-factness that continues to make Sendak unique among children’s authors. With its depictions of abduction and melting ice babies, it’s also a deeply unsettling and sometimes disturbing book, full of sharp edges and jagged corners. But Sendak understood that it’s the jagged corners that will catch onto the edge of a child’s imagination. [Nick Wanserski]

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Picross 3D Round 2

Tucked into a recent Nintendo news dump was the announcement that Picross 3D Round 2 for the 3DS had finally made its way out of Japan and is available now. It’s the latest in a long series of Nintendo games that offers up a smattering of logic puzzles in the picross or nonogram or (and this is probably my favorite moniker) griddler style, where you’re presented with a blank grid that’s hiding a secret image underneath. To paint that image, each row and column comes with a number that tells you how many of its squares need to be colored in. Filling everything in properly can get a lot trickier than it sounds. Picross 3D works a little differently. Instead of teasing out some picture, you’re given a solid cube built from individual blocks that need to be chipped away until the three-dimensional figure within is revealed. Having to worry about three axes instead of just two makes the game far more fiddly than its flat predecessors, but it also brings a satisfying tactility since you’re painting the cubes that should stay and literally hammering away at the excess. It’s basically a digital repository of vague sculpt-by-numbers projects, and it’s quickly taken over my life. [Matt Gerardi]

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