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Drink and Jive

Pore over the pages of these books as you pour yourself a glass with some vintage barware.

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A libation of class and distinction, a fine brandy fits right in with this vintage 1930s crackled-glass decanter, $42, from Magazine Antique Mall (3017 Magazine St., 896-9994), and mixes well in a stylish rocks glass, $20 from Belladonna (2900 Magazine St., 891-4393; www.belladonnadayspa.com) chilled with ice served from a silver, French art deco ice bucket, $425, from Lucull,us Antiques (610 Chartres St., 528-9620; www.lucullusantiques.com). For classic Southern recipes for brandy drinks and other cocktails, turn to Southern Cocktails by Denise Gee, $14.95, from Octavia Books (513 Octavia St., 899-7323; www.octaviabooks.com).

Absinthe: History in a Bottle, $22.95, details the colorful past of the "green fairy." Now that distillation of the once-banned liquor has resumed, you can share a drink with the ghosts of Oscar Wilde and Vincent van Gogh. Invest in an absinthe spoon, like this French Epoque "métal chromé" piece, $75, and an absinthe glass specially designed with a recess for the liquor, like this 19th-century handblown piece, $175 — all from Lucullus Antiques (610 Chartres St., 528-9620; www.lucullusantiques.com).

With age comes experience and wisdom. In wine, it brings flavor and price. In The Billionaire's Vinegar, $24.95, author Benjamin Wallace details just how big a price one historic bottle was able to fetch. For those of us of meaner means, oenophile Michael Broadbent shares his 50 years of expertise in his Pocket Vintage Wine Companion, $22. Both books are available at Octavia Books (513 Octavia St., 899-7323; www.octaviabooks.com). To make an occasion out of an extra-special bottle of wine, open it with a 19th-century corkscrew with a stiff-bristle brush for cleaning out the neck — $595-$625, from Lucullus Antiques (610 Chartres St., 528-9620; www.lucullusantiques.com).

It's stirred, not shaken, with this old-school 1960s handblown martini set by Finnish designer Timo Sarpaneva, $249, from Neophobia (2855 Magazine St., 899-2444; www.neophobia-nola.com). You can update your vodka experience with an Arrivederci Capri, a tasty concoction with citrusy limoncello, just one of the many unique recipes in Viva Vodka by W. Park Kerr, $16.95 at Belladonna (2900 Magazine St., 891-4393; www.belladonnadayspa.com).

Pass yourself off as a master mixologist with this rare 1960s chrome mixing set by Swank, featuring Lucite handles embedded with a gold-tone chain — $95 at Neophobia (2855 Magazine St., 899-2444; www.neophobia-nola.com) and an easily concealed volume of The Little Black Book of Cocktails by Virginia Reynolds, $9.95 at Octavia Books (513 Octavia St., 899-7323; www.octaviabooks.com).

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