Ask most people about spicy cocktails, and their minds drift to the overly fiery Bloody Mary they had at brunch last weekend, or they may wonder why anyone would want a spicy cocktail. But spices -- from fennel to chili peppers to the botanical herbs used in gin -- are an essential part of modern mixology, whether they're the star of the drink or playing a key supporting role. Want to learn more? Award-winning bartender Tad Carducci and New Orleans' Museum of the American Cocktail present a special seminar -- "Spice: The Fennel Frontier" -- at Darlington House on Thursday, which traces the use of spice, herbs and bitters from 2500 B.C. to the modern day. Along the way, you'll taste five exotic cocktails, including the Sea Monkey (gin, Pernod, Aquavit, lemon juice, apple juice and tonic) and the Little Market (reposado tequila, guajillo chile syrup, lime juice, pineapple and Yucateca green habanero sauce). Admission is $45 in advance or $50 at the door.
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