Ginger beer (and shandy taxonomy)

If ginger beer is beer, why doesn’t it contain alcohol? The answer is that it does, if you brew it right. Plus: keeping the names of your Guinness-based bar concoctions straight, and how to invite ridicule (and possibly physical abuse) in an Irish pub.

Randy Newman’s overdue fame

A full generation of moviegoers now associates 2013 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Randy Newman solely with the soundtracks and songs he has written for six Pixar films rather than the darkly sardonic ouvre he launched with a self-titled solo album in 1968.

A weekend in Prince Edward County

We finally seized the opportunity to visit Prince Edward County on the occasion of the annual Wassail event coinciding with a gala in aid of the region’s Slow Food convivium. Our singing and tasting tour took us to seven wineries in one afternoon.

The Decadent Chocolate Chip Mini Bars

In search of lost biscuits

I was accosted by a huge sale bin of these attractively packaged cookie bars on the way in to the grocery store the other day. I was feeling a bit under the weather and they ended up in the bag with some jarred hot and sour soup and frozen garlic bread. I mustered the restraint necessary to wait until dessert before opening them.

A ferris wheel at the CNE (2012)

They Want Subways (Video)

The final mix of “They Want Subways” is done, and because people tend to skim over unadorned audio on the web I went ahead and created a video for it. Click the “read more” link to have a look, and a listen.

They want subways

At various times during the construction of a new tune, I play a little home version of the David Letterman segment “Is this anything?” and the time has certainly come for “They Want Subways.” It is, much like the Toronto Transit System, a work in progress, but as I haven’t shared any music with you in some time, I thought I’d give you a preview.

Boys! Raise Giant Mushrooms In Your Cellar!

Capital ideas

Back in my agency days I had a client whose in-house design team was responsible for laying down the law regarding their online brand standards. It is of course right that they should take ownership of their brand. One of their laws, however, was that all headlines on their website should be in title case. Allow me to explain why this is a bad idea.

Sensory evaluation of wines wrap

Today I wrap another wine course, and assuming all goes well with next week’s exam I will be 3/8ths of the way to earning my Wine Specialist certification. Here’s a glimpse at the impressive selection of not-entirely-reasonably-priced wines we tasted in our final class.

Data Rescue 3

Catastrophes and catalysts

If you learn one thing from this article it should be back up your data – all of it, frequently and redundantly. Or maybe, if you find life kind of boring, and you have lots of spare time on your hands, don’t. Be like Inspector Clouseau, waiting for your man Kato to jump you when you get home, just to keep yourself sharp.

Do the Gainsbourg

I’m a bit of a classicist and hard to please, and my preference for drinks being simple and straightforward often leaves me at a loss when selecting from a nearly limitless array of increasingly complex beverages. I have only created a couple of original cocktails myself, and the most recent is, I think, my most successful. It’s called the Gainsbourg.