cocktail comeback

What happened to cocktails? It occurred to me recently that no one has offered me one for a long time, nor have I made one. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever made myself a cocktail, unless you count a Bloody Mary or a Harvey Wallbanger from a long time ago. Here, everyone loves a Kir royal: sparkling white wine or champagne with a glug of blackcurrant liquor. Delicious! But not the sort of Mad Men cocktail I’m thinking of.

My weekend drinking habit is always the same: if it’s not red wine (or chilled rosé in the summer), it’s Martini Bianco and tonic. Same old, same old. 

So I thought: what if I made myself a great cocktail this weekend? You know, the kind our parents used to drink. I googled around and came up with a Sidecar and a Daquiri. It’s settled then. I’ll make myself one or the other. I’ll have to buy all the ingredients first, including a cocktail glass and a shaker. And I’ll make that delicious olive-fig tapenade I made on New Year’s Eve, served on those Swedish crackers I’m addicted to.

During these dreary Covid lockdown-curfew times I guess you have to make your own party. Ideally, I’d love nothing more than to sit in a dark intimate bar with a drink and an interesting companion on the stool beside me. Quiet jazz in the background. Ice cubes tinkling in my glass. Chatting with the bartender and laughing.

Here’s Dushan the bartender in just such a bar. He’ll make you a Daiquiri. Thanks, Dushan. Cheers!

(287) How to make a Daiquiri Cocktail – – YouTube

mushroom lasagna. cold and sunny. London.

The weather has been glorious all week: cobalt-blue sky, abundant sunshine … and cold! Dropping down to as low as 1° centigrade at night. I love it. Walking to work is sheer joy: few people on the streets because most are working from home. Not me, though. I like going to the office and having the space to myself.

Last Friday I booked a 5-day holiday in London. I have no idea what the Covid or travel-restriction or vaccination situation will be in early June, but I went ahead and did it anyway. Haven’t been to London since August 2019. I miss it. All my fave, familiar and inexpensive hotels are either closed permanently due to Covid (The Penn Club), or closed for the summer of 2021, so it took me awhile to find a centrally-located, reasonably-priced hotel.

Last week I made a delicious mushroom lasagna with spinach, ricotta and sundried tomatoes. I think I’ll make it again. Who doesn’t like lasagna?

Earlier, I was gazing wistfully at my photos and travelogue of my last trip to London in August 2019. COVID hadn’t hit yet and we were blissfully unaware. Here are two blog posts from back then: Leafy London, heatwave and an evening stroll I took from Sloane Square to the Chelsea Bridge and the river Thames:

leafy London, heatwave | Juliet in Paris

Chelsea Bridge and the Battersea Power Station

an evening with Hilary Mantel

My editor in London had just mentioned that she was about to start Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror and the Light, the final instalment in her trilogy.

And then I saw this special online event while reading The Guardian: an evening with Hilary Mantel. I’m going to sign up, it’s only a fiver! (five pounds). Click on the link below for details. See, also, the other events and masterclasses offered by The Guardian (e.g. 100 days of Biden’s presidency; book clubs, Brexit, women’s equality).

This event is being streamed globally.

An evening with Hilary Mantel | The Guardian Members


Etienne Daho

Probably one of the only male French singers that I really like, Daho is admired for his creative ingenuity, his dance moves and his velvet voice. In one word: suave. Born on January 14, 1956 in Oran, French Algeria, the French pop prince is also a songwriter and record producer. He lives in London.

“You have to mix things together, like in a cocktail shaker – not just music but films, books, paintings, pictures,” he says. “That’s how you build your world, you see something and you know that if you delve into it you’re going to learn something about yourself.”

Let’s go back to 1991. Here, we see Daho in New York City. Checker cabs. Times Square and the underground club scene. His big-shouldered jacket.

(262) Etienne Daho – Des attractions désastre (Clip officiel) – YouTube