Let's continue this new tradition with a classic of the genre: The Martini.
Preferences abound in this space, and there are all sorts of them. My own preference is for Hendrick's gin and a twist (not a slice you slack jawed nincompoop), of lemon. But let's get one thing straight: when making a martini, under no condition would I recommend following the advice of the film edition of that prominent and flamboyant British secret agent, who prefers vodka to gin and shaking to stirring. Bah, humbug to that - good taste in women, bad in cocktails.
No, the Brit you should listen to is The Right Honourable Winston Churchill. Churchill loved his martinis, and he was particular about how he made them. He demanded gin, not vodka or any mix of the two, and Plymouth gin to be exact. You'll know Plymouth because of its notable Mayflower motif, apparently because "Like the pilgrims, gin traveled from Leyden to Plymouth before coming to the New World." He was very light on the vermouth - the legend is that in place of it, Churchill would simply nod in the direction of France.
Stir, strain into a chilled glass, garnish with a large olive. Simple and good. Set the vodka aside for the moment, and drink like Winston while you read one of my favorite anecdotes about him, regarding his chance meeting late in life with Brigitte Bardot.
“When I was eight years old and heard you on the radio, you frightened me,“ said Brigitte, “But now you seem rather cute, considering you’re a legend.” Cute was not a word people normally used to describe Churchill to his face! The great orator remained speechless. “What are you doing in Nice?” Brigitte asked, in order to fill the silence. “Painting,” replied Churchill. “You are an actress, and I am a painter. We have art in common.” “My father bought one of your landscapes,” said Brigitte. “I don’t sell my paintings.” “Well, then your friends do. The painting my father bought has a hill, a parasol pine in the foreground and the sea in the background. Do you remember it?” “And on the right a broom bush in flower?” “Yes. Do you like to paint?” “I love painting. But I shall never go down in history with Cézanne.” “You know, my films are not nearly as good as your paintings. And I never won a war.” “That is no great loss,” Churchill concluded.”
Churchill can be seen in the above picture, with Bardot in the background. She is smiling, and so is he, as any man would in a similar circumstance. Drink to him tonight.