Letting it all hang out

Words and pictures

What’s one martini?

It is easy to see where downing several martinis at a birthday party might lead. There are tantalising possibilities in that thought. This story is not about any of them. This story is about how drinking martinis lead me to my first every dance class and how I remembered that the important thing in life is to keep expanding your horizons. Particularly with your partner.

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Blogvember post 24 … Bond. James Bond. Martini anyone?

Tonight Robert is having a boys’ night and camaraderie to see Skyfall. A rare treat for him to see his mates.

I will not be at all sad. I shall be home mixing martinis and watching Goldfinger.

Sometimes one olive isn’t enough

There has been a lot of talk about martinis and Bond in the fifty years of Bond. From the allure of shaken not stirred, which no true aficionado would put up with, to the rise of the vodka martini which just taste like vermouth, to the creation featured in Casino Royale which first appeared in Ian Flemming’s novel of 1953. The Vesper is ‘Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?’

Kina Littet has been renamed and Gordon’s is no longer 47% proof but you could still make this version of the martini today.

Or you could try this which is my favourite way.

Everything must be super cold. The glass, the gin and lots of ice. Shaking is forbidden as it just introduces more of the melted ice into the drink, which to my mind defeats the purpose. Really good gin is essential. There are some great ones being made in New Zealand and in Perth at West Winds Gin. This varies according to your taste, or who you recently asked to bring back duty-free for you. Usually I drink Bombay although Tanquery 10 is great too.

There are many arguments about how dry a martini should be. I swing from just to the right of Winston Churchill who was said to whisper the word vermouth in the direction of the glass and possibly a bit to the left of Noel Coward who suggested waving a glass full of gin in the direction of Italy. There are also arguments about the kind of vermouth, French or Italian. For my money I like Noilly Prat. Good. Consistent. Reliable. Useful for other things.

The ratio in this establishment is probably 5 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, and that part is sloshed over the ice and then stirred and poured out. So in fact it is likely to be less than one part. A ‘measure’ will depend on the size of the glass used. It is the ratio that suits you that is the crucial point. Work that out then adjust volume according to glass.

martini ~ extra dry ~ if you please

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.

Add one half measure of vermouth to the ice and stir. Then discard the vermouth.

Add five measures of gin and stir until everything is very very cold.

Strain using the shaker’s lid into a martini glass.

Garnish with green olive or a twist of lemon peel.

Enjoy. And remember that martinis are like nipples, one is too few and three is too many.

Celebrate the best of Bond here is the opening to Goldfinger, easily my favourite Bond ever. What’s not to like? Sean Connery , Shirley Bassey, Honor Blackman as Pussy Galore and great lines.

Do you expect me to talk?

No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die!

Gin, how I love you, let me count the ways…

I don’t remember my first sip of gin. There is, however, a crystal clear memory of my favourite gin drinking moment and the beginning of my love affair with distilled botanicals in a spirit base.

I was 21. The mother of my then boyfriend took me to lunch for my birthday. I was about the start my Honours year. We went to a restaurant on the North Shore of Sydney. It was just the two of us and it was rather a treat. I was, at the time, a starving student and so lunch out was a luxury. Liz ordered two gin and tonics.

I was sort of momentarily shocked. In the daytime?

It was glorious. Read More

On disappointment and insouciance

Disappointments have been creeping in. Stealing quietly through the cracks and taking up residence. Under my skin.

The chicken is a bit boring. The tea tastes ordinary. Will the sun ever bloody shine this winter? Can we have a decent political debate in this country? The work’s a bit too hard. The washing never ends. My god it is cold. Could I really be sick again? Really?

Even though I have tried to foster insouciance, cultivate it, nurture it; it won’t come.

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I find that I am now 39

It was my birthday, last week, and I decided it was about time I had a birthday party. Haven’t had one (well a proper one) since about 1995, so waste not a moment more I thought. A practice go for next year.

It has been the wettest summer in Canberra for years and years. Naturally I planned an outside garden cocktail party. And naturally it started raining at 2-30pm and by 7pm we’d had another 30mm of rain. My minions slaved away with tarps and portable heaters, 4 million helium balloons and candles, while I tried in vain to get the toddler to keep out of the water, eat his dinner, and stop setting fire to things!

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