Monday, December 23, 2019

Sylvia Townsend Warner and batch made Martinis

Because I like the preparation for Christmas more than the actual event I’m already more or less organised (presents wrapped or distributed, all but ready to head off to my mother’s tomorrow- and yes, this is probably much easier because I don’t have children) and looking forward to Boxing Day and beyond.

If 20+ years in retail taught me anything about this time of year it’s that preparation really helps, as do well managed expectations, and not worrying about the things you didn’t get round too (this year was going to be all about biscuits but things kept getting in the way, and if I really want gingerbread I can make some in January after we’ve eaten the Christmas cake).

For now I’m done with running around, not least because this cold I’ve come down with is making me feel like a dish rag. More than that I want to spend some quality time with my Christmas tree before I have to say goodbye to it, and whilst I’m doing that I’m planning some book buying (for I have book tokens to spend, and it’s fun). I’ve been playing with a Persephone wish list, but I’m particularly excited by some of the books from Handheld press. Particularly Sylvia Townsend Warner’s ‘Of Cats and Elfin’ coming out on the 20th of January.* There’s a discount available on Kingdoms of Elfin and a collection of Warner’s letters until the end of December.

The Handheld list is really worth a good browse if you’re not already familiar with it, and it’s going from strength to strength, so definitely sign up for the newsletter. There’s more Women’s Weird coming in the autumn, and as the last collection edited by Melissa Edmundson was so good this is big news.

Batch made cocktails are another good bit of forward planning for the next week or so. The Martini family lends itself particularly well to being made ahead like this, and are useful for parties, or just for having to hand. It’s simply a case of mixing your preferred Martini (in my case a Gin and It, Negroni’s are also going to work like this) in bottle rather than glass quantity. Add about 10% of the liquid volume in water (this is to adjust for the dilution that ice would normally cause as you stir your drink) and pop it in the freezer.

When you take it out the freezer it’s worth letting it defrost just a little biting your not going to finish the lot in one go. If you don’t you get a lot of alcohol (which hasn’t frozen) in the first drinks you pour, and a lot less (with more ice) every time after that it comes out the freezer.

*I actually have a review copy of this so I know it’s amazing. The other thing about that January date is that it’s good to have something to anticipate to ward of those post holiday blues.

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