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If you haven’t heard of Dylan hotel, you are sorely missing out. The Irish-owned five-star boutique hotel is renowned already for it’s red brick Victorian building, lavish decor and high-quality food, as well as it’s amazing proximity to the Irish city centre.

Tucked into a side avenue near Baggot Street, this gem is still relatively private despite it’s location, as if the building itself is housing a treat only a special few experience.

Dylan Bar has everything going for it, but we decided it was high time for us to try out their brand new Christmas afternoon tea menu: Spice and All Things Nice. We felt we deserved some five-star treatment, especially since the cost is only €45 for great service and even better food.

The design of the hotel is immediately striking; while it may be aesthetic Victorian brick on the outside, within the building is modern, contemporary design. We were seated by the fireplace by incredibly attentive staff, and after perusing their extensive afternoon tea menu, our eyes were swiftly on the prize: Christmas cocktails.

Their limited edition cocktail menu is inspired by the magical spices of the festive season; ginger, nutmeg, clove, star anise and cinnamon. It’s pretty mouth-watering stuff, if we do say so ourselves. Seeing as we value journalistic integrity, we had to taste as many as possible. *winks*

We definitely weren’t disappointed; their Winter Wine Warmer is an extravagant version of mulled wine, except far, far classier. Made with a mix of homemade citrus, star anise and clove syrup added to classic Merlot, the twist on the aromatic Christmas drink of the gods goes down a treat.

The Festive Pudding cocktail is a reimagined version of the classic winter dessert, made with allspice Guinness syrup, fresh orange and lime juice, old fashioned bitters, eggs whites and of course, Irish whiskey. Any connoisseurs of whiskey will adore this drink, trust us, it has a kick.

Next up on our list was the Apple & Cinnamon Crumble, made with Zubrowska vodka, goldschlanger, apple and lime juice, vanilla infused honey and topped off with a cookie crumble rim. Talk about being in heaven, the Dylan mixologists were infusing the atmosphere with subtle yet heartwarming Christmas vibes.

For those with a sweet tooth, chocolate appreciators can enjoy the Polar Express either hot or cold. Created with Hennessey V.S., Bailey’s Frangelico, and chocolate and vanilla cream, you’ll be rolled out of the place after one (or five…) of these.

Other divine drinks on offer include the Zenzero Negroni, which has the highest alcohol content so brace yourselves, and Before Santa’s Here for another whiskey.

Last but by no means least, their Summer in December is a rum and gingerbread syrup blend for a summer mood with a winter cheer, and they also include their version of an Irish coffee; the Dylan Christmas Coffee mixed with their secret spice syrup.

The designated drivers can also try a range of mocktails which are as good as the real thing. Dylan Bar also has refreshing bubbly, for any Prosecco queens out there, and a variety of tea and coffees. Heaven is a place on earth, and it’s located at Eastmoreland Place.

With all of these gorgeous drinks, we had almost forgotten about all the luscious cakes and sweet and savoury treats coming our way. Almost. They served us the carefully crafted food on a three-tiered plate, and we had a try of their spiced scotch egg, turkey and sage pie with cranberry chutney and pulled ham on granary bread and brie and cinnamon spice apple. 

The savoury selection was delicious, and we couldn’t leave without trying their sweet and subtly spiced buttery homemade scones and indulgent desserts. Pistachio slices, gingerbread cupcakes topped with whiskey icing and a meringue snowman with chocolate and nutmeg mousse were just a taster of what we were offered.

Sitting by the fire, breathing in the mulled wine and eating our weight in macaroons, we realised that we honestly need this lifestyle 24/7. It’s extra, it’s lavish, it’s Christmas magic, and everyone deserves a treat like afternoon tea at Dylan Bar. Don’t miss out, it’s only offered until the New Year so snap up a reservation while you can.

Enjoy the Spice & All Things Nice menu in the Dylan Bar until January 1 2019.

Call 01 660 3000 to make a reservation or email reservations@dylan.ie to have your Christmas injected with the warmth of festive food and drink.

Feature image: Instagram/@dylandublin

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Like a lot of people, we have developed a *slight* obsession with gin and tonic and while we are not sick of them AT ALL, we are now looking for more ways to enjoy that sweet, sweet tipple.

It's just good sense, right?!

With these four recipes, we are definitely sorted for the weekend. Slainte!

Drunken gummy bears

Place a bag of gummy bears in a small mixing bowl and pour your favourite gin in on top – just enough to cover the bears.

Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight. Enjoy!

Gin and tonic cheesecake

What is better than dessert? A boozy dessert!

This blueberry gin and tonic cheesecake recipe is so delicious your friends will love you forever if you bake it for them.

Click here for the recipe.

Gin jello shots

Now this is our kind of treat.

Super simple to create and gorgeous to look at, these gin jello shots are more Michelin-star than dorm room.

Click here for the recipe.

Gin popsicles

Need we say more? We will take five, thank you.

Click here for the recipe.

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G&T's have become one of the most popular drinks on the market, but how is the spirit evolving? It's sophisticated reputation and delicious flavours create the ideal cocktails, as well as becoming the perfect confidence booster BFF:

"You should go to the dancefloor and show off your hip moves, you're such a great dancer" – as said by Hendricks, overheard in Coppers in October 2018. Hendricks was later proven wrong.

There's no doubt about just how much gin has grown in the world of spirits, with Scottish gin especially undergoing a massive revival.

According to the Irish Times, the on-trade gin market in Ireland is now worth at an all-time high of €50 million. It's image has become transformed from a seemingly 'mother's choice' to a millennial's favourite. 

We've put together a list of gin trends for 2019, so you can prepare your livers for the changes due to come in next year for the gin world. Get yourselves ready for relentless gin puns throughout, you have been warned.

1. GINcredible flavours 

Gin flavours are KILLING the game right now, and they're showing no sign of slowing down.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Botanical delights such as berry pink gin, plum and cinnamon, pomegranate and rose, lemon drizzle, rhubarb and ginger to passionfruit gin liqueurs, salted caramel flavour and even a bubblegum taste, the flavours of gin available are GINfinite (sorry not sorry).

Copeland Spirits, based in Co. Down, specialises in 37.8% flavoured gins. Aldi Ireland stock its GINSANELY good Rhuberry flavour, naturally infused with local fruit, as well as its new, limited-edition infusion Spiced Apple and Blackcurrant.

Founder of Copeland Spirits, Gareth Irvine has recently spoken about the journey which gin flavours is currently on, saying that a shift in what's popular is incoming:

“Flavours to date have been quite seasonal or trend-led and associated solely to summer, or unicorns, or crazy colours and not veer too much away from berries. Over the coming months, we’ll see the flavour ideas get more adventurous incorporating spices, herbs, exotic fruits.

“Often-times, trend-led flavoured gins are of poor quality and are full of syrups, additives or sugar, rather than real fruit. In addition, the volume is generally around 20% and so a liqueur as opposed to a gin."

Hmmm, this is heart-breaking news. Some of our fave flavah's are legit just sugar and syrup…but this is changing. Thank GOD. We get enough sugar as it is.

Gareth predicts that consumers will start to focus more on quality, just like we saw with unflavoured gin and this will catapult flavoured gin into a category all of its own. Noted, Gareth.

2. GIN-vironmentally friendly

With the introduction of plastic-free consumer goals, especially in terms of straws in bars and restaurants, it's no surprise that gin companies are noticing this important trend. The 'waste not/want not' ideology is spreading fast, with bartenders becoming more aware of the value of not throwing away unneccesary food and drink waste.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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“We’re thinking first and drinking second. We’ve noticed cocktail menus are changing slightly as bartenders consciously look for ways to minimise food waste." according to Gareth.

When it comes to garnishes such as lemon wedges, egg yolks and limes, the amount of fruit that is thrown away or used needlessly purely for the same of appearance is pretty shocking.

Rather than sweeping these used garnishes into to the bin, some bars have making what is becoming known as ‘closed-loop’ cocktails, where excess fruit is used to create natural syrup or saved for pitchers.

Bars becoming conscious about their eco-footprint is imperative, especially since spirit companies rely heavily on the land to create their infused gins.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Copeland Gin (@copeland_gin) on

3. GINcrease in gin brands

Wait, you mean… we're going to see even more gin? YAS. 

More brands will be arriving on the scene next year, with supermarket-owned brands such as Aldi helping to increase access to the category.

Gin-lovers in Ireland are a passionate bunch of people, and brands are taking that passion seriously. As more and more brands come on the scene, people will only connect with the ones that have strong values, for example supporting the environment or raising talent through graduate programmes.

Brands will be providing a quality product that is conscious of price and quality. Amen to that.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gin Lovers (@gin_lovers) on

4. GINnovation

Brands in 2019 hope to focus on some brand new categories, many of our favourite brands which have risen in the last three years didn't exist prior to the gin renaissance. These brands, whose journeys are only really beginning, will be competing to adapt in the long-term industry pool.

Gin and spirit companies will begin experimentation with distilling and flavours which will likely benefit gin, and those who drink it, i.e. us.

We predict that experimentation will lead to some unreal new flavours and tastes, we also volunteer as tribute to test these new tastes. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bethany gale (@bybethanygale) on

For the moment anyway, we're heading straight to Aldi Ireland to grab Copeland’s Spiced Apple and Blackcurrant Gin for just €29.99, see you there gals.

With Christmas around the corner, this new flavour is perfect for winter.

Can someone please le Santa know that a gin advent calendar is on our present list? Just in case he doesn't know…

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At that stage, we could pretty much put "gin addict" on our resume.

While G&Ts have become a true passion in our life, they are not the only way to enjoy the spirit.

Take this gin shake for example: it is the perfect choice for when you don't know if you feel like dessert or a cocktail. Good news: it is also really easy to make.

Key lime gin shake

  • 100g vanilla ice-cream
  • 100ml condensed milk
  • 30ml gin
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 40g digestive biscuits, crumbed
  • A handful of ice-cubs

Crush the biscuits, then combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Top with whipped cream, crumbed digestives and lime zest.

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After some liquid courage, we all get a bit cocky about our gin knowledge.

However, we all know that one gin pr*ck who judges our selection of the divine spirit. 

But what if we told you instead of rolling your eyes, you could hit back with some gin-fo.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The Fever-Tree Gin School is giving you that opportunity.

They have arrived in Ireland to educate the masses about our gin palates and how to make the perfect mix. – so you can hair flick the pr*ck into silence.

And believe us, you'll be learning from the best – the Dublin beaut and master mixologist Keith Malone will be hosting the classes.

Keith knows a thing or two about our fave drink as he has a neat 16 years of experience in the industry.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fever-Tree Mixers (@fevertreemixers) on

Get ready to be put through your paces with guru Keith.

He has carefully crafted a curriculum with the Fever-Tree flavourists, to immerse you in an interactive tonic pairing wheel masterclass – and we expect you to be a teacher's pet and get top of the class.

However, even if you fail, there will be a complimentary gin and tonic on arrival, as well as four gin pairings based on different flavour notes of Fever-Tree tonic.

Some light nibbles will keep you going as you are brought through the history of Fever-Tree and the gin distilling process.

Gin graduates will leave with a goodie bag of Fever-Tree mixers, armed with the knowledge to mix with the best – and of course, that all important info to take on a night out.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Fever-Tree Mixers (@fevertreemixers) on

If this gin win-win sounds like its something you'd be interested in, you'd better act fast.

The masterclasses sold out in the UK and we won't be surprised if they disappear rapidly here too.

The School will tour nationwide from September 20 and will available in Dublin, Kilkenny, Cork, Galway and Louth.

For all the dates and tickets click here

Happy mixing.

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It's Friday ladies, and we cannot wait to cheer to the weekend with our friends with a nice G&T or a tasty glass of Prosecco.

But this week, we will make it extra special thanks to the help of one of Ireland’s best-loved chefs, Kevin Dundon. 

When we talked to the SuperValu ambassador this week and asked him about a nice summer drink, let's say that Kevin delivered.

"Get some strawberries, or use the ones you have that are getting bruised, take the stems off, place into a blender with a sprig of fresh tarragon, a little bit of honey, and pulse until you get a lovely puree. You can use it with gin, place a little bit of that puree at the bottom of your glass, add ice, some gin, tonic, and garnish with a strawberry. You can use that same puree with Prosecco, it’s gorgeous!"

For those who don't want alcohol, the chef recommends to add some vanilla ice cream and a little bit of milk to the puree to get a lovely strawberry shake.

And now we are drooling. 

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We are truly in the midst of gin fever – with everything from gin and tonic perfume to make your own gin kits hitting the shelves. 

However, this latest creation from Firebox really takes the cake. 

Introducing Gin Spread – the ideal was to incorporate your favourite boozy beverage into breakfast. 

Spreadable Gin €11.49

Prepare for major millennial notions vibes as you spread this on your sourdough. 

'No longer confined to a cut glass tumbler mixed up with tonic water; our booze-infused preserve is one seriously versatile gourmet ingredient – spread it, drink it, bake with it, or gobble it straight out of the jar,' the product description reads. 

Coming in at around about the same price of the average G&T, you can make this spread yours for €11.49.

The alcohol is cooked off during the creation process, so the spread won’t leave you with a hangover by the time breakfast is over.  

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Whilst craft beer, tequila and mezcal are having a moment, gin continues to be the perpetual tipple of choice for post-work drinkers and weekend party-goers.

This summer, as we flock to enjoy the sun in our gardens and favourite rooftop bars, gin will dominate for another season. However, we wanted to find out how you can stay ahead of the curve when enjoying your favourite tipple in the weeks ahead. It’s hard work, but someone has to do it.

We spoke to Gareth Irvine, the founder of Copeland Spirits, a Co. Down based company that produces a range of flavoured gins celebrating fruits and herbs all grown right here in Ireland. He has shared his insight into the cool and the not-so-cool of gin for summer 2018.

1. Keep it country

Irvine says, “Provenance has always been a huge part of the gin trend with consumers connecting to a brand because it champions local grains or botanicals – this hasn’t changed but is has developed some. This summer rather than sampling premium craft gins from across the world, consumers are homing in on gins from their local communities.

“In the case of Ireland, all of our most-popular gins are produced using indigenous ingredients giving the unique flavour profile and artisan quality  gin-lovers have come to expect from an Irish gin. Each gin in the Copeland range is infused with fruits which are grown locally, creating flavour combinations that surprise and excite and a totally unique tasting experience.”

2. So fresh and so clean   

Irvine reminds us that as the seasons change, drinking occasions change too.

He says, “The better weather sees us enjoying a few during the day or after work, maybe at a BBQ or in our favourite outdoor hotspot. We can find heavy or strong cocktails don’t refresh us in the sun and we’re more likely to crave light and refreshing serves.

“Allowing your gin to be the focus of your serve by pairing with a classic tonic water over ice is ideal in summer. Choosing light garnishes like mint or raspberries will add that flavour kick but still keep the palate fresh, perfect for pairing with typical picnic or BBQ foods.

“Alternatively, flavoured or infused gins are an ideal base for creating new summer serves but do your homework. Most flavoured gins are actually liqueurs and can be quite rich and sweet, with the gin flavour masked. However, there are flavoured gins that come in at 37.8% or so, such as our range. These are perfect for mixing and can withstand a pairing with other spirits and garnishes.  

“My favourite summer serve is our take on the classic Tom Collins, the Copeland Collins. Simply pour a serving of our Rhuberry Gin into a highball glass, add a generous dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice and two tablespoons of caster sugar, stirring gently. Fill the glass with fresh ice, top up with soda water and garnish with a wedge of fresh lemon.”

3. You’ve been served!

“Wimbledon will be a key event this summer! The event has always had a strong association to fruity, fizzy drinks like Pimms but this year, gin will come to the forefront as part of the trend too. Pimms and gin work really well together and this combo is ideal for sharing pitchers and exploring new fruit garnishes.

“Simply take the classic Pimms No.1 cup and pour into a large jug, add your favourite gin along with oranges, cucumber and mint.”

4. Eco-warriors unite

We’re thinking first and drinking second. Irvine says, “Summer is a time when we appreciate the world around us that little bit more. What we’ve noticed in the last couple weeks is that cocktail menus are changing as bars find ways to appreciate produce and minimise food waste.

“Some garnishes produce a lot more waste that we realise – there’s lemon rind, egg yolk, orange peel and more that can end up in the bin. Rather than sweeping them into to the bin, some spear-heading bars have been making sure all waste is used in a trend called ‘closed-loop’ cocktails.

“Excess fruit might be used to create a natural syrup or saved for the pitcher style Pimms and Gin. We’re really conscious about our eco-footprint at Copeland, given we rely so much on the land to produce our infused gins so development is music to our ears.”  

5. Just chilling!

Gin over ice is a yes, but gin in ice is a no. Irvine explains, “in summer the temptation to enjoy a slushed, ice-based drink can sometimes be unavoidable, and yes gin does feature on the frozen cocktail menu regularly. Our advice to gin-lovers entertaining at home is to chill your glass in the fridge before you use it. Fill your glass with totally frozen, good-quality ice all the way – it will melt more slowly as a result meaning your drink will stay cooler, fizzier and enjoyable for longer.

“Typically, Ireland’s talented bar-folk know how to serve up a great gin but if your glass could fit more ice, then absolutely ask so you can chill out exactly how you intended without having to sip over a melted mess.”

Copeland Spirits Rhuberry Flavoured Gin is available at Aldi across the country and is priced at €29.99. For serving suggestions visit copelandspirits.com

Always drink responsibly.

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We all know that mad b*tch who goes absolutely mad after a few too many gin and tonic. 

Whether she's shifting her friend's ex or just straight up bitching in the corner, there's the negative stereotype of someone going 'psycho' on the drink. 

Now, we shouldn't be throwing mental health terms around like that at all, but a study has shown that people who like a particular tipple are more likely to have sadistic tendencies.

Bitter drink consumers who like the taste of gin are more likely to exhibit antisocial personality traits

The study from Innsbruck University in Austria revealed that these drinkers are more partial to sadism, narcissism and psychoticism. 

In the study almost 1,000 people were given sweet and bitter tasting things and asked to rate them, and were given psychological tests looking for these traits. The results found that people who like bitter drinks like gin are more likely to harbour these tendancies.

'The results of both studies confirmed the hypothesis that bitter taste preferences are positively associated with malevolent personality traits, with the most robust relation to everyday sadism and psychopathy,' study conductors Dr Christian Sagioglou and Dr Tobias Greitemeyer wrote. 

While this may well be a coincedence, we can think of one or two mpeople that this could be true for. 

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Are you on the hunt for a shiny new job? Or are you just sick of the same old shite you endure 9-5, Monday to Friday?

You're not alone, hun. 

Well, you are in luck, because your dream job might be just around the corner. Well, kind of. 

Sipsmith Gin are hiring a number of people for 'Ginternships' (very clever) across the UK – and we mau have to move tbh. 

The famous gin company will pick 52 people from 21 universities across the UK – meaning there's plenty of roles up for grabs. We like those odds.

So there's the catch – you do have to be a university student, but I am not above enrolling in a cheeky course for a couple of years.

Live your best life. 

Image result for sipsmith

The Ginterns will be responsible for "leading juniper-related activities, partnering with local gin societies and spreading their love of gin and Sipsmith far and wide," the brand explains.

Sorry but if that doesn't sound like a dream job – I don't know what does. 

Another part of the role? Travelling around various music festivals, spreading the gin love everywhere you go. 

A number of former interns have successfully secured full time roles in the company, and one of them recently chatted to Cosmopolitan

"Walking through Sipsmith’s little blue door into the distillery was the best thing I ever did."

Image result for sipsmith interns

"It opened my eyes to true craftsmanship and entrepreneurial spirit which inspired me to create the worlds most empowered student ambassador program in the spirit industry. Students all across the country are now able to sip great gin and learn invaluable marketing and sales experience whilst doing so. It has led nearly 20% of our students into full time employment at the Sipsmith distillery and has shaped some truly unforgettable moments within this epic family!"

Fancy throwing your hat in the ring? Send five photos that show off your premium drinks knowledge to Sipsmith along with their CV and Instagram handle to adam@sipsmith.com with the subject line: ‘The Best Student Job – [your name]’. 

PS: this is a paid role. 

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So, it's that time of year again, the grass is green, the sun is shining – or at least, that's what you've been told.

It's not like you can actually see anything through those puffy eyes and blocked nose – that's right, hayfever season is officially upon us.

For those of you who do suffer from the irritating symptoms, finding a cure can seem impossible. Sure, you could stock up antihistamines, but remembering to take them is a task in itself.

Well, what if we told you that the answer could actually lie within your favourite bottle of gin?

Now, we know what you're thinking. Doesn't alcohol make hayfever and asthma symptoms worse?

Not necessarily. In fact, according to Asthma UK, gin could actually be the best choice of drink for hayfever sufferers.

While 64 per cent of asthmatics claim that alcohol can make their allergies worse, it seems it's actually the darker beverages that are at fault.

Drinks like red wine, beer and whiskey actually contain two triggering chemicals- histamine and sulphites.

Asthma UK instead recommend that sufferers opt for clear spirits such as gin or vodka in order to their symptoms at bay.

Now, we're not saying a tall G&T will provide a miracle cure, but it's definitely your best option on these sunny afternoons.

Gin is a particularly good choice as it does not contain any sulphites and according to The Independent, Absolute Vodka have recently revealed that their products are free from them too.

It's also best to stay away from foods like bacon, cheddar cheese, salami and tinned tuna which are usually high in histamine.

Instead, it is recommended that allergy sufferers opt for fresh meat and fish, and cheeses such as ricotta and mozzarella.

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Let's face facts: gin is absolutely the MOST popular drink at the moment. 

From pink gin to bizarre flavoured gins, people are really jumping on the band wagon – and we're glad. 

The latest gin offering comes from the wonderful humans of Marks & Spencer, who have launched colour-changing gin. 

Yes, really. 

M&S have joined forces with Scottish distillery The Old Curiosity to create two divine flavoured gins, that change colour.

Like something out of Harry Potter. 

The two flavours are: British Rose, which transforms from a pale gold to a bright fuschia with a splash of tonic, and British Lavender – this also changes from purple to pink.

AH-MAZING. 

How does this witchcraft work?

“The gins keep the natural properties of the plants they're made from, consequently, when tonic is added, not only does the mixer open up the 'nose' of these fabulous gins, it changes the pH of the spirit together with its original colour,” according to the lads at M&S.

Also, it is important to note that these gins are not packed with weirdo chemicals.

 “The gins are 100 per cent naturally distilled and infused using florals and other botanicals and are free of chemicals, sugars, fruit extracts or flavour compounds.”

These gins are being launched next week, and will cost around 25 quid per bottle. 

The perfect summer beverage. 

Feature image: theginkin.com 

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