While it has been known to make me weep on occasion, I do enjoy a tonic and gin. A simple drink, it’s exotic, fragrant and with a slice of lemon, lime or cucumber, is practically one of your five a day. It transports you to exotic climes the minute the sipping begins.
And when Friday comes around, well, it can’t be overlooked as an option to help usher in the weekend.
The rise in profile for the once cheap easy solution to help forget — mother’s ruin, Hogarth’s shambolic scene creator (drunk woman dropping hapless infant) — means it’s cool to order one with as much exactitude as you decide.
Start the evening with a Hendrick’s and cucumber, progress to a Sipsmith and ginger and then a quick East London in a negroni and the night might end up a little Hogarth.
William Hogarth’s illustration of the evils of gin-drinking was published in the 18th century as part of a campaign against the uncontrolled production and sale of cheap gin. The Gin Act of 1751 curbed the number of gin shops.
If he was around today…….
Now a profitable and quick product line for Scottish whisky makers, more than 70% of the gin is made in Scotland and some of it is very, very good.
And gin, in my humble opinion, also forms the basis for one of the ultimate cocktail of all times, the gin martini.
James Bond famously orders his shaken, not stirred, which is technically the wrong way.
Spy creator Ian Fleming said he deliberately wrote Bond ordering his gin that way because his maverick character liked to stick two fingers up to the establishment and its rules of drinking. Especially when imbibing before duty calls on him to drunkenly foil someone’s plans for world domination.
Sometimes, when I’m having one, I pretend.
The dry martini is also central to the timeless story of a fresh faced writer at the New Yorker going to a bar in Manhattan with a veteran editor for a drink after work.
Ordering the third martini the flush-faced youngster asked if they were planning on eating. “Of course we’re eating,” the editor replied, pointing to the olive in his.
Been there, said that. Except my veteran editor had been round the block once too many times so was in AA and preferred a club soda.
I’m off to charge my hi-ball and stick on Billy Joel’s Piano Man to listen to as I nurse my tonic and gin.