Oh no! It’s New Year’s Eve. What drinks can I serve?!?

With New Year’s Eve coming up quite soon, I’m being asked once again for some last-minute, drinks-related hosting advice. Start with the usual beer, wine and pop (be sure to offer a diversity of options within each category, too – soft drinks both diet and regular; lagers and dark ales; red and white). Then consider fancying things up with the following options — none of which involve splashing out on pricey champagne. For the sparkling wine: REMEMBER the ALTERNATIVES to CHAMPAGNE Champagne — by which of course I mean the dry sparkling wine produced by the traditional method in the north…

Fifteen Basic, Practical Things Most People Don’t Know about Drinks

1• A martini should contain gin, not vodka, and for a garnish you’ll probably find a lemon twist tastes better than an olive. 2• (Meaning yes, James Bond is wrong to ask for his martinis shaken.) 3• Fancy cocktail bars use such big ice cubes because it melts slower, thanks to a smaller surface­-to-­volume ratio. (That being said, there’s certainly evidence that this nugget of scientific wisdom, common among bartenders, is exaggerated.)  4• Sherry, vermouth, port and madeira are all varieties of wine. When opened, you keep them in the fridge to preserve flavour. (That crusty old vermouth bottle on…

A couple of reviews for Drinks: A User’s Guide

My book was released on Tuesday, Sept. 20 and it’s been really gratifying seeing people open up those delivery packages and copies (that’s my friend Lara’s copy above …). A couple of publications have also weighed in, and here are their reviews (with some tl;dr synopses). 🍸 “While other books offer in-depth guidance on wine or beer or cocktails, [Drinks] provides blunt yet witty comprehensive guide to all … highly recommended.” — Library Journal

Toronto Star interview, with quick martini lesson!

The Toronto Star‘s Katrina Clarke interviewed me for the Sept. 17 paper, and (fellow former National Postie) Rene Johnston shot the photos and a little video of me demonstrating how to make a martini. Thanks to both of them for making it so fun to do, and to The Harbord Room for lending us their beautiful space. Check it out here! 🍸👍🍸👍🍸👍🍸

Stuff you’ll learn from my book: James Bond is wrong. Here’s why you stir a martini, never shake

Until my upcoming book Drinks: A User’s Guide is officially released on Sept. 20, I’ll be previewing some tips, lessons and other bits of boozy knowhow contained therein. Am I trying to persuade you to preorder? You bet I am. Voilà some links to purchase Drinks through Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Amazon Canada; and if you live in Canada and aren’t into the whole Amazon thing, how about McNally Robinson?  People ask me why I stir a martini as opposed to shaking it, and the answer is simple: clarity. If you shake a cocktail, you end up with little bits of broken ice stuck…

Your tweets about Fort Mac and karma make baby Buddha cry

I’ve been a Buddhist for most of my adult life but I almost never talk about it publicly, and only very rarely around my friends and family. I worry it will make me sound like a sanctimonious granola. I’m running that risk today because apparently people are throwing around the term “karma” to describe what’s been going on in Fort Mac — and brothers and sisters, karma ain’t what you think it is. I’ve especially been thinking about this National Post column by Jen Gerson which (correctly) takes aim at those who call what’s going on in Fort McMurray “karma.” Alas, she’s also using the…

Some easy drinks for New Year’s Eve

With New Year’s approaching, I’m already getting the annual round of requests over social media asking me to suggest drinks to prepare for friends and family (and foes?) over the holidays. Here are some suggestions from years past, which still works this year … and will work next year, and the year after … First, a big thingy of champagne cup (pictured) never fails. People love it; I think what grabs them is the beguiling hint of Grand Marnier and maraschino. Here’s the old Savoy Hotel recipe, lightly tweaked and modernized. Champagne cup is terrific for cheapskates because you end up producing a lot of liquid…