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…
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
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! 🍸👍🍸👍🍸👍🍸
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…
I’m very sorry for that headline; it’s Monday morning as I write. Anyway, this is my cranky take on matcha tea for the National Post. I love the stuff but worry that its trendiness will ruin it.
Hey, look! Three recent National Post columns: • Saison beer is delicious, but you’ll never find out unless you run out and grab some. (Well, at least if you live in Canada, where shortages and empty liquor store shelves are a way of life, à la pre-1989 Poland.) • Congrats to Vancouver bartender Mike Shum, who won some sort of Bacardi-sponsored contest for this lovely creation, the Chan Chan cocktail. It’s a daiquiri twist that’s really worth making for yourself at home. • Finally, get yourself some Chianti and cook up some red-sauce Italian and fuhgeddaboutit.
Ever wondered what the deal is with the huge ice cubes at bars? This week in the National Post I explain the why (it’s a dilution solution) and the how (i.e., what gear you should buy if you want to make huge ice chunks at home).