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| Booze |

Outback Steakhouse's Gingerbread Martini

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Attention, friends and readers of this column: I need an intervention. Hold on, it's not what you think. I don't have a problem with booze; I have a problem with baked goods. My addiction started out small — a donut here, a cookie there, all recreational use. Then the holidays hit and my need started to escalate. An extra piece of pecan pie couldn't hurt me — homemade banana bread for breakfast was good for you, right? Gee, everybody else was doing it. Soon I had to figure out how to support my habit, so I decided to give homemade cookies and candies to everyone on my Christmas list — that way I could make extra and tweak out in the kitchen. I knew I'd hit rock bottom when I ended up at the Outback Steakhouse (8731 W. Loop 610, 713-218-0760), because word on the street was they made a gingerbread martini that was way chronic. Even though I'm a chain restaurant snob, that didn't stop me from enjoying this unbelievable, really-should-be-illegal dessert drink. Come on, folks — it's obvious I need help getting this monkey off my butt — which happens to be getting bigger by the moment.

1 ounce Ketel One vodka

1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream liqueur

1/2 ounce Kahlúa liqueur

1/2 ounce Monin gingerbread syrup

1/2 scoop vanilla ice cream — semi-melted

Whipped cream

Gingerbread cookie

Because of corporate policy, Outback wouldn't give me the exact amounts of each of the ingredients (another reason I don't like chains), so I cooked up this version in the home lab and it was perfect. Mix the first five ingredients over ice, shake well, pour into a chilled martini glass and top with a generous portion of whipped cream and a gingerbread cookie. You'll be trippin'.

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