I cannot tell you how happy I am to be in a country that knows how to make a proper Gin and Tonic. Sure England’s known for so many other things, like being the birthplace of modern parliamentary democracy, James Bond and there’s always the invention of linoleum. Yeah, I didn’t know that last one either. But it’s the proper preparation of unparalleled alcoholic concoctions that I think is really the important takeaway here.

I’ve yet to encounter a bad G&T, indeed, every one I’ve had has been excellent. And you’d expect that, since the English invented the Gin and Tonic. It was originally a means to get people stationed in the Colonies to take their quinine (which has anti-malarial properties), since quinine is very bitter. And let’s face it, everything goes better with gin. On the other hand, Mary has not been quite as fortunate. She likes vodka gimlets, which were also purportedly invented in England (supposedly named after Surgeon General Sir Thomas D. Gimlette, KCB, who promoted the concoction as a means of inducing people to take lime juice to prevent scurvy). See, that’s what I like about this country. Need to take a medicine to prevent tropical or dietary diseases? No problem, just mix it with alcohol. Cold medicine would be so much better if we mixed it with tequila and called the resulting drink a Codeine Sunrise.

Mary, as I mentioned, before the digression into history above, is not having quite as excellent a time with cocktails as I am having. Mary’s something like 0-4 in getting a proper gimlet, since apparently no one in London knows what a gimlet is, nor are they acquainted with the correct recipe.  Mary, being Mary, which is to say, a Force of Nature, Flaming Vengeance on a Stick, and someone who can be a bit sharp with people who don’t know the proper proportions of Rose’s Lime to vodka in a gimlet, well, she came up with a rather unique solution. She had some business cards printed up with the gimlet recipe on them, to hand out to bartenders so she doesn’t have to try and shout the instructions to them over the noise of a busy bar. Also, lots of cocktail servers in London are from the far reaches of Europe and beyond, so neither their first nor frequently their second language is English, therefore the cards may be helpful for them, also.

I think the card concept is brilliant. And by brilliant, I mean it’s an outstandingly good idea, and not just something that’s grand, which is how the English use the term. Like, “That pork pie was brilliant!” which doesn’t actually mean it was the best idea in the world. Though, it should mean that, as I think pork pies, or actually any pies with a savory filling are an amazingly wonderful idea, which I cannot believe has not taken off in the US. What is wrong with my country, that they haven’t embraced and then devoured the totally awesomeness that is the pork pie? Not mention the Stilton and Steak pie?

Ah well, I could go on and on about pies, and as Mary reminds me I frequently do, buttonholing strangers in the street to exclaim, excitedly, “Pork pies are marvelous! Do you know where I can get another one?” So I’ll just conclude with a tip of the glass to the bartender and sit back with another magnificently brilliant cocktail.


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