Mums Limoncello from the Last Milennium

We were clearing up the house after taking down all the Christmas decorations and we came across this mysterious bottle. Okay okay… I say “mysterious” but actually, as soon as I saw it I knew exactly what it was. Sometime in the last few years mum made some limoncello with vodka and lemon rind then left it to season. Obviously we forgot about it and … Continue reading Mums Limoncello from the Last Milennium

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… Drunk

Who would serve a jug or pitcher of martini at a party? Oh wait, only Kim Philby, one of Britain’s most notorious traitors.    I’ve just read a book entitled “a spy among friends” by Ben MacIntyre. It was the first book I’ve read in a long time that I struggled to put down. It documents the story of Harold ‘Kim’ Philby as he worked … Continue reading Tinker, Tailor, Soldier… Drunk

Bar Arabica, Borough Market, 2/5

A relatively pleasant martini was let down by bad service and poor value for money.   It wouldn’t take much to perfect their martini but some of the fundamentally poor elements of the restaurant will be more difficult to rectify.    Nestled under a railway arch in Borough Market, I had high hopes for this Levantine restaurant. However, the service wasn’t particularly attentive, the portions … Continue reading Bar Arabica, Borough Market, 2/5

Martini with a sprig of thyme

   This is a very simple variation on the classic martini. Thyme is one of my favourite herbs. The mouth-watering smell evokes summertime, or some of the delicious za’tar manouche (savoury thyme-flavoured Lebanese wraps) I’ve eaten in Beirut, London and Dubai.   Take a sprig of fresh thyme (I’ve been growing some on the balcony), wash and dry it, then rub it around a chilled … Continue reading Martini with a sprig of thyme

The hot hot Sriracha martini

It’s a thing now. What do Thais and Texans have in common? A penchant for spicy food. I have a good friend, currently in Texas, who recently announced his addiction to Sriracha hot chilli sauce, a fiery concoction from Thailand. A US national and an Arabist, he has a very interesting career and academic background, with some very intriguing (and often hilarious) tales from London … Continue reading The hot hot Sriracha martini

Worcestershire Sauce Martini

Yes you read that correctly. This is another slight variation on a classic martini. Just before you pour the martini, smudge a small amount of Worcestershire sauce into the glass. It adds a slightly savoury tinge to the drink which works quite well, especially if you’re looking to whet the appetite for a meal. Below is a suggestion: Marinade a good steak at room temperature … Continue reading Worcestershire Sauce Martini

Packing martini glasses for international travel

Martinis are an international drink, but transporting martini glasses in your hold luggage on an international flight can be difficult. Nonetheless, I will not go without a martini or two on my holidays so I had to work out a plan. Wrap each glass in bubble wrap. If possible, keep the original box that you bought the glasses in. Place the wrapped glasses in the … Continue reading Packing martini glasses for international travel

The man from the Alphabet Agencies

While attending an ‘event’ in a certain Middle Eastern city, I was introduced to a charming gentleman from, shall we say, one of the ‘Alphabet Agencies’. While our discussion covered subjects including politics, diplomacy and turmoil in the region, it settled upon the subject of martinis, of which we are both fond. When one works in the business of ‘international affairs’, a strong martini is … Continue reading The man from the Alphabet Agencies

The perfect martini setting

As I have already implied, the act of drinking a martini is almost sacred. If you’re going to consume such a large amount of alcohol in one drink you’ve got to make it count. As such, in addition to the drink itself, the temperature, the accompanying nibbles, etc, you should also consider the location. Unless your temperament suggests otherwise, you wouldn’t want to have one … Continue reading The perfect martini setting