Honestly, writing about the martini is tricky, probably even foolhardy (Side bar: apparently Tolkien’s name comes from an old German word, tollkhun, meaning foolhardy, feel free to use that info to get into someone’s pants, you’re welcome). People can be fanatical about this drink and their views about it tend to be written in stone. There’s usually little room for discussion, and conversations can become downright vicious if martinistas feel their beliefs have been challenged in any way. Kinda like politics, but with more relevance. Personally I wonder whatever happened to sip and let sip. I’m a damn hippie I guess.
The gimlet… what a drink. It has many things I enjoy in a cocktail, gin, the taste of lime (sort of), an intriguing colour and the British Navy. It is also the only current exception to drinkskultur rule #5. Shaken together vigorously it is delightful, refreshing, crisp and packs quite a punch. In order for you to have one while reading this, yes I do insist, I’ll start with the recipe.
For all its surface simplicity, the gin & tonic, or G&T as most of the world calls it, is a storied and romantic drink. If you get past the sizeable evils of empire building, it conjures up images of adventurous and perspiring colonials in far away places, keeping a stiff and sweaty upper lip, while wearing tropical tuxedos or pith helmets and pretending they have not been exiled for some darkness of deed or birth. The more exotic corners of Victoria’s empire always had a roguish, if not outright anything goes, feel about them, and you probably did not become second deputy lieutenant governor of central Australia because of your breeding, brilliance, spotless record or scandal free life. The “A team” likely stayed in London.
It may come as a shock to the one British visitor of this blog, but Pimm’s is not universally well known. Not known at all in fact, even in this former corner of the Empire. I had to order it special just to get my hands on two bottles, I know right? Apparently however, it has been quite popular in New Orleans for decades, to the point that it is sometimes claimed as a purely local Big Easy drink. Cough, cough. Philistines. Cough.
In a previous post I banged on a little in my ham-fisted way about the importance of traditions. If you have ever been to the northern New England or southern Quebec woods in the spring, the odds are good you saw some buckets hanging on trees and smelled the sweet sweet aroma of boiling sap in the air. It’s maple sugar time baby.