FROM THE ARCHIVE: Just stick your head, it won’t take long, into any roomful of politics; someone will saddle someone else with the adjective Machiavellian. “Characterized by cunning, duplicity or bad faith” says Mr. Webster. Nearly five hundred years later, poor Niccolò is still most often found under a cloud of bad press.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: The Classic Champagne cocktail, the Red Rose martini, the Grand Cosmo, and more.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Some of us like nothing better than the rain and the pounding surf. We’re here, savouring rustic elegance on the edge of the world—at the Wickaninnish Inn.

Ruben Aceves Vidrio is director of international brand development for Casa Herradura—makers of el Jimador tequila as well as their super-premium-label Herradura tequila—and he’s about to make a true believer out of me.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: “Great gin simply soars, above and beyond the strictures of any season.” No less a libational luminary than the last of the Tanquerays, the late, great John T., told me that one mid-morning as we were about to sit down to lunch at his offices in the old Goswell Road distillery in London.

It’s amazing what you can come up with after spending 10 weeks in a foreign culture, unable to speak the language, keeping your eyes wide open and soaking up sights and sounds. If you have a ready imagination, that is. Which David Rotenberg surely has.

Mixed drinks have taken a sharp turn for the sweet. Witness the proliferation of soi-disant martinis in bars and lounges and restaurants: cream liqueurs and off-the-sugar-scale fruit brandies, mixed and muddled with more fruit essences and syrups, and not a drop of gin or vermouth anywhere in evidence.

They claimed it made you crazy, so they banned it. And isn’t that always a sure route to success?

The formula is simple enough: limes, sugar, ice, and the main ingredient, cachaça—as little as you like, as much as you can handle. That’s the way to make Brazil’s national cocktail, the caipirinha, with Brazil’s national spirit.

Water into wine: it’s the oldest trick in the book. But it takes considerable doing. Now meet its newest practitioner, who suits it and does it to a T. That’s T for tenacity, for Tuscany, for trucking, and for Tolaini.

Quick quiz: where does the world’s best vodka come from? North doesn’t even enter into it; we’re talking deep south. Texas, y’all. Oh, we won’t be hearing the end of this one: Tito’s Handmade Texas Vodka is the one.

FROM THE ARCHIVE: And when was the last time you wrestled with remembering the difference between ha gow and siu my? And both of them sitting right there, at your elbow about to become part of your brunch?

Old Oriental saying: “Each time you try something new it will add seven days to your life”. Here’s at least a month’s worth of sweet extension, what the makers call “the original poire au Cognac.”

It is sensuous and elegant, perennially stylish and just ever so civilized. Somerset Maugham put it precisely when he labeled it “the civilized drink”. It is also a surprising kitchen colleague and dinner companion. And, really, what other wine is in your cellar that comes up equally adept with Oreos and oysters?

In the spring of 1976 Hans Fenger was a new-to-the-game music teacher. The ink barely dry on his teaching certificate, he landed a gig in a suburban British Columbia school. Conventional teaching styles weren’t his bag; but maybe making a record of some songs he’d been teaching his 9 to 12-year olds … that might fly.