Some ways to mix and drink a martini

small-martini-glass
Credit: The Thin Man.

I wrote a piece on the martini for Alderman Lushington.

The martini is a simple cocktail, with few ingredients and one overarching principle—it should combine maximal coldness with minimal dilution. However, it’s also quite technical and a beautiful example of the narcissism of small differences; add the wrong quantity of vermouth or cool it the wrong way and there are people who will think you’ve revealed yourself as being lower than a monkey and more vicious than a cat…

Read the whole piece here.

In which I went on a wine tour

Our table at Avignonesi in Montepulciano.
Our table at Avignonesi in Montepulciano. Click to read the piece on Alderman Lushington.

Today in Bristol it’s raining heavily, it’s cool but not cold enough to be satisfying, the leaves are rotting on the pavement, and I’m thinking about drinking good wine with old friends on a hot summer’s day.

Click here to read the not-very-serious spread I published in Alderman Lushington on going on a wine tour in Tuscany.

We need to talk about Negroni

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The people’s flag is Campari red, it shrouded oft our martyred dead—what mass agitation for Campari Week might look like. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
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They appropriate everything I’ve ever loved. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

This is the third annual Negroni Week. From 1–7 June, that is. I suppose it’s possible that it began in Gruppo Campari’s marketing department, rather than as a popular clamour in the pubs, bars, fields, taverns and mean streets of the world, but for Campari, I don’t mind. Partly because I love the stuff—you can read my piece on that here—and partly because for years few others I knew liked it; they groaned, mocked, doubted and feared, even if many of them know better now. I always had a sense of Campari being friendless, beleaguered, unloved, neglected, and that lingers. It was always preposterous, given its mighty popularity in parts of the world, and is now much more so as the artisans and hipsters have taken it up. Anyhow, here’s to the noble Negroni, one of the best and strongest of cocktails, and a prime way to drink Campari. Continue reading

Questions in a world of new: beer tasting at Zero Degrees

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Bristol Zero Degrees at night. Credit: http://www.zerodegrees.co.uk.

To Zero Degrees in Bristol for a beer tasting, brewery tour and dinner. On its fifteenth anniversary, Zero Degrees is launching a new range of bottled beers, while it has also been working on refreshing its venues. I was with Andy Hamilton, author of Brewing Britain and co-founding editor of Alderman Lushington, an online drinks magazine we’re launching shortly. We were guests of the management as part of a press group. Continue reading