314/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. If you know me personally, contrary to what you may think, I did not start drinking alcohol until my early to mid 20s – yes, surprise, surprise! It just never interested me. My dad rarely drank and my mom never did. Yes, I had uncles who did but their love of Crown Royal and Johnny Walker did not filter on down to me. Thus during family parties, I never drank as I was not fond of the drinks of choice and I absolutely hated the taste of beer. When I did imbibe, it was usually sweet drinks such as coolers but those weren’t even on the radar of my relatives. Fast forward to my mid 30s and friends introduced me to the fact that you could make amazing drinks called cocktails and martinis and alcohol didn’t have to taste bitter! I still didn’t like getting drunk for the sake of getting drunk – yes, it would happen on the odd occasion but that was and has never been my intention. Jump into my early 40s and because of my wife’s work parties, and the fact that I had a few female teacher friends, I was introduced to the world of wine. At first, I just drank Merlots. Then I took a course on wine-tasting and then another and the gentleman running it introduced me on how to properly enjoy wine. I now know what I do like and what I don’t all under $20!! Finally, in my late 40s, I discovered craft beer. It wasn’t very much to my liking initially but I soldiered on. Three years later and I am a connoisseur – I know my IBUS, I know the different from a sessional and a saison, I know what a small batch is – I feel cultured 😉 All thanks to some really cool male friends. As I enter into my 50s, who knows who will influence my choice of beverages but if I was a betting man, I think I will be introduced to the world of Scotches and Bourbons. Thank you to all the people who have refined my palate to be a sophisticated drinker rather than one who drinks just for the sake of it! Cheers to you!