Monday, September 23, 2019

Fair isle designs from Shetland Knitters with Vermouth and Lemonade

As a child of the 70s I have vivid, if slightly confused, memories of the Martini adverts. I also have vivid memories of being given Martini Bianco and lemonade to drink as a teenager in the late 80s. It was sweet, not very appealing even then, and deemed suitable for a woman to drink.

I'm thinking about it now because when I got home my copy of Fair Isle Designs from Shetland Knitters had arrived, and a happy hour reading about the history of the Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers, and Dyers bought back a lot of memories of some of those women. The last time I drank Martini and lemonade was in the house of a guild member in 1993, the drinking part of the occasion was out of politeness.

Sweet Martini with Schweppes lemonade is not a drink I can embrace with enthusiasm, or one that I'd particularly recommend (which is no judgement on anybody who does enjoy it, we all have different tastes). Part of my issue with it is also that idea of gendered drinks. Something that used to annoy me a lot in my early days in the wine trade were (male) customers coming in for corporate gifts at Christmas. They'd choose malt whisky for the men and then ask me what I though 'ladies might like'. Speaking confidently for all women I'd say champagne (same price, always useful). They would invariably pull a face and buy something sweet, sticky, and half the price. It was the price thing that bugged me most.

Fortunately that sort of thing happens less and less now, and 'A Spirited Guide to Vermouth' has something called The Vermouth Hour (La Hora Del Vermut) that is an homage both to the Spanish tradition of a pre lunch sip of vermouth and that 70s combination of vermouth and lemonade.

The recipe uses 25ml of London dry gin, 50ml of a sweet Spanish red vermut, and 50ml of Fentimans Victorian Lemonade. Put everything in a large glass and stir over ice cubes. There is some fancy bar work that follows that involves burning the oils in an orange skin above the glass, and then using more orange and an olive to garnish.

This is a great sounding drink which I will try when it's not a wet Monday night and I don't have a cold, but I'm also inclined to ditch the garnishes and try different vermouth's in it. The Fentimans lemonade with its proper lemon sourness, and gin to give the drink a bit of backbone are both excellent ideas, but I'd like to see how this works with a dry white Vermouth, or possibly even a slightly sweeter one.

No comments:

Post a Comment