We tend to associate carnivorous barbecuing with Argentina (asado), South Africa (braai), Australia (barbie), the US, etc, but in parts of Italy meat is master and cooking it over charcoal or wood is a serious tradition. Think of Tuscany’s famous Bistecca alla Fiorentina. Continue reading
Some ways to mix and drink a martini
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.
January is the cruellest month: New Year’s Day
All over England people were waking up queasy and despondent.1 Continue reading
Bittersweetness and light: New Year’s Eve cocktails
I began hating New Year somewhere in my teens and it took me years to make some sort of accommodation with it. After weeks of hoo-ha and feasting, rarely a quiet moment alone, there’s this. I enjoy the long Christmas, there’s much to be said for a spell of eating, drinking and irrational, even stupid cheerfulness, but after a while you begin to at least half-crave some temperance and a book. Continue reading
An early glass of Christmas something
Sometimes it’s useful to have some help easing through the early parts of Christmas day. This calls for a special kind of drink, if it’s drink you want. The principles are simple enough, but they require fine balance and nice judgement. Your drink should be apt to the season, it should be mild and undemanding, and it should set you up for the rest of the day. Let’s say that you could drink it mid-morning while unwrapping presents (if you have youngish children—ha!) or jawing harmlessly with the in-laws in that dead time before the food. If it seems unhealthy to be drinking before the sun hits the yardarm, at least it’s social, healthier than everyone withdrawing into their smartphones while one person cooks. Continue reading
A cocktail for all seasons, especially this one: the Sidecar
All things considered, this is my favourite cocktail. I discovered it by happy accident one Christmas when my father said I could pick any cocktail from his pocket bar guide and he’d mix it for me. I’d been helping out at the guest house, I think cleaning or restocking the small bar. Being very young at the time I looked for one that had the most alcohol and the least mixer without being either impossible (exotic ingredients, such as absinthe) or disgusting (vile ingredients, such as absinthe). I chose a Sidecar and was relieved to find that I liked it; I’ve been liking it ever since. Other cocktails come and go, but not this one. Continue reading