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Monday, 27 February 2012


Well, the doctors are constantly on about it, despite some of them drinking like fish. 
Funny expression fish actually drink the water they swim in? As WC Fields once said – possibly more than once – when explaining why he preferred his whisky without water: "Fish *!+^ in it."
I can't actually write what he said...this is far too upright a forum. And Bill Fields was, as most people will know, infrequently upright.

But to get back to the point – doctors and their ilk are always on at the rest of us to lead a healthy lifestyle. So, in the interests of prolonging healthy life, I've concocted a little something that will put years on you.
No, that's not right...take years off you, I mean.
It's a well-balanced cocktail that has resonances in World War II, during which the wealthy and well connected – some of them spies – carried on in the old fashioned way in London's top hotels as if the only thing that had changed was the lack of a decent butler.
Not for us the Old Fashioned...
Not for us the sumptuous, gin-heavy Gibson or Dry Martini.
Not in this blog episode at any rate.
No, what we're after here is using up the ingredients lying around in the (cocktail) cupboard...waste not want not...a bit of make do and mend in the way of our antecedents – not the idle rich sort.
If you discount the alcohol in it, the drink in question might be regarded as a real tonic, a pick-me-up...something you could munch a couple of before you go to work. Assuming you require to be compos mentis at work, that is. But who wants a job like that?
In my case, I had a few things lying about, items that were beginning – as a very tidy person – to get on my nerves. Items such as a small bottle of apricot brandy, untouched and unanticipated; the dregs of a bottle of triple sec and some five-day old fruit.
There are those who would just have chucked the liquid down the sink and the fruit in the bin, yet being a recycling-minded cove, I put my mind to the test.
What to call it though..? I'll keep thinking as I write. 

Meanwhile – and you'll appreciate the essence of the possibility of an early spring here – the working title:

2 fl oz apricot brandy
1 fl oz triple sec
1/2 fl oz Rose's lime juice 
Juice of three clementines
Juice of half lemon
Good dash of orange bitters

Place four ice cubes in shaker
Add remainder of ingredients
Shake vigorously
Pour into cocktail glasses adorned with slice of fresh lemon
Serves four.

Speaking of the war and the inclusion of clementines reminds me of Winston Churchill and his beloved wife, Clementine, or "Dear Clemmie", as he called her by way of an endearment.
We could call this cocktail, therefore, Dear Clemmie, in memoriam of distant times when things were great for some, crap for the bulk.

Take a peek at the following and you'll be desperate certainly for a wee snifter...

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Puttin' on the poor mouth

Off to Paris in a fortnight and had hoped to renew our acquaintance with the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz. 
But the horror, the horror... the old place is being renovated and won't be open when we get there. 
Our charming hostess, Chantal, whose mother once had a drink with Hemingway at the very spot many years ago, will have somewhere else to treat us, I'm sure. I will report on that accordingly.
Mais pour maintenant...

The above publication, not long off the presses chaudes of the Ritz a la Place Vendome, alludes to the fab cocktails that can be savoured there. 
To quote: "It is said that the Hemingway bar makes the best Dry Martini in the world." 
Given that the head barman Colin Field was once voted best barman in the world by Forbes Magazine, that might seem a reasonable assertion. 
Yet it is, as are so many other claims about cocktail recipes, somewhat precious.
What makes a good dry martini after all is pretty damn simple:

  • it must be as cold as a mother-in-law's stare
  • secure the best gin available
  • include two or three olives on a stick...
  • and oh, I almost forgot – a passing acquaintance with vermouth is occasionally called for.
And you could replace the olives with les petits oignons and call it a Gibson.
Whatever! as the young ones say when they can't think of anything else to say.
Maybe it's just as well we're not going to the Ritz – we're far too poor. At 26 euros for a glass of the house champagne, we might need to remortgage the maison if we fancied a night out there.

The following is what they used to say in the old days...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Chile for some.

The folks in Chile obviously enjoy their cocktails on the cold side. I just read that a guy with a big truck has been nabbed after chipping five tonnes of ice from a glacier in Patagonia to sell as ice cubes for cocktails. 

"Designer" ice cubes, at that, according to the report.

What the hell is a designer ice cube? Is it still a cube? Is it like a Rubik cube or did someone just cross the Rubicon with this little escapade?

I hope they threw the buce at the thief. Did you spot the anagram there? Or did you just think I'm a bad speller?

You may think the following track is about Chile but you'd be wrong. Jimi Hendrix can't spell either.

On another track...we're going to a hot cocktail spot in London very soon. According to a chum who's been, they serve the most amazing concoctions and there's no shortage of them.
Watch this space.

Another pleasant stop-off for the weary traveller is in Paris. More on that later, too.

Meanwhile, if you fancy a nice cocktail in Bonnie Scotland, do try Oran Mor at the corner of Great Western Road and Byres Road. Those in the picture are a classic champagne cocktail and two mojitos.

Yum, as they say in the West End.