I have been thinking -- slowly, slowly and over many weeks -- of posting something on wine and aesthetics: why it is that, to my mind, wine is a supreme beverage precisely because of the occasion it offers for reflection on issues of beauty. That precis is sufficiently hifalutin' and self-important to scare me away from the task at least temporarily, but I expect to succumb in the end. (I have it in the back of my mind that the thing will somehow fall in to place once I make my much-delayed pilgrimage to the big William Morris exhibition at the Huntington Library, which has little to do with wine but a great deal to do with Beauty and its uses.) In any case, that piece is not the piece you are reading now. Instead, it is merely an introduction to my actual topic,
Thousands of miles to our east, Scheherazade has discovered the joys of the Gimlet, and offers as her New Year's Resolution #1 an ambition to Drink More Of Them. Her musings on the subject remind me how enjoyable a good Gimlet is, and how long it has been since I last had one. [Note to self: pick up Rose's lime juice.] She also displays a proper attitude toward the Rituals of the Cocktail, of a kind in danger of being driven from our shores by the well-meaning but nonetheless sinister forces of public safety and neo-prohibitionist puritanism:
For no good reason, I have some strict self-imposed rules about my drinks. I observe the seasons and do not permit myself gin and tonics after September or before the balmiest days of late May, sticking generally to red wine, dark beer or stout, a Maker's Mark on the rocks or maybe some scotch when the flip flops have been retired for the summer. Martinis are permissible all year round.These are sound rules indeed. Followed in moderation, and in good company, they lend savor and pleasure to life, which is all to the good.
A real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose's lime juice, and nothing else. It beats Martinis hollow.As with the martini, the notion that you can make the thing with vodka is a mere popular delusion and should not be encouraged.
Update:While we're vaguely on the subject of Potables in Song and Story, I am reminded by a timely e-mail that back in September my chum Rick Coencas shared with us the none-too-surreal recipe for the Luis Bunuel martini. You should certainly try it at home.