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Spring drinks: Chianti, Bacardi, saison

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.

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Drink sherry.

About once a year, I write a column in which I argue for the revival of sherry, which is probably not what you think it is, if indeed you ever think about it at all. My excuse this time? Thanks to Talia Baiocchi, there’s a new book to serve as your guide to the surprisingly exciting world of one of the least-understood wines around. As she puts it, a wine “so misunderstood that one wonders whether it was the victim of an elaborate smear campaign involving all of the grandmas, everywhere.” I dare you to ignore the whole misguided sherry-is-for-grandmas notion and just try it.

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Down with the children’s menu!

 For a generation, many North American parents have indulged children’s picky eating tendencies by sticking them in an endlessly repeating loop of chicken fingers, burgers, pizza, plain pasta, mac and cheese, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Anyone who has sat down for a meal with youngsters over the past 25 years will recognize this list of typical “kids’ foods.” Pushed out of the picture, to varying degrees for different children, are fruits and vegetables and anything else that might challenge them, from spicy delicacies to unfamiliar proteins. To picture what this might look like to a visitor from almost anywhere else…

My ebook will tell you how to make cocktails (updated with links to buy)

On Dec. 4, my first e-book will be released. UPDATE: Here’s where to buy it: iTunes Kobo Amazon Google Barnes & Noble OverDrive Drink Different: A Refreshing Guide to Home Mixology is based on my columns in the National Post, but I rewrote stuff and added to it so that it functions as a primer on making cocktails at home. That’s fun and easier than you might think. As a teaser, you can read the first chapter here. Anyway, if you have a thirst, a thirst for knowledge, and an e-reader …