I like a Martini. I said so here. So crimes against the Martini weigh heavily upon my soul. And I have had two spoiled recently by poor workmanship and baffling product packaging.

Let’s start with the basics. Hancock Tower, on the day of the nuptials of Tim of this parish. A lovely, wonderful day – blisteringly sunny. We all met up on the 106th floor of said tower for a view over Chicago and a bit of dutch courage. Which wasn’t dutch, but in this case was billed as a perfect Tanquerry Martini. Ingredients looked fine, and I asked for it with an olive. And it came back with an olive and the faintest patina of condensation on the outside of the glass. Well, I thought, the room was air-conditioned. Imagine how hot it would have been otherwise. It was 34 degrees on the ground, and we were a hundred storeys closer to the sun*. So a cheers went round and myself and the best man both took a sip of our lovely martini’s. To discover they were more or less at room temperature.

Ever swigged gin from the bottle? There is a reason even men of the street don’t do that.

They should have known better. Indeed nearly everyone in American is born with the innate knowledge of how to make a good martini. Its not hard, but it does need to be COLD. (We have a bottle of gin in the freezer at all times for this reason). Which is why I deferred to my American flatmate when she was making last nights martinis. She had obtained some nice looking feta stuffed olives too, and she asked if I liked my martini dirty. For those of you knew to the martini world, a dirty martini has a bit of the olive juice added to the mix – hence making the mixture look less crystal clear than the classic version. I acquiesced – a slight olive/feta taste sounded like it would nicely round off the gin.

It was made, poured and presented perfectly. Stunningly chilled, and yet. And yet there seemed to be an odd slick forming across the top of the martini. Upon tasting it was nice, and cold, but the hoped for tang of olive oil and feta was not there. Instead a oddly plastic taste. The mixer was not to blame. Instead the blame was squarely put on the shoulders of MR MARKS AND SPENCER. You see these olives were indeed tasty, but unlike a standard cocktail olive M&S had not considered that we might use the feta fellows in a martini. Therefore to save literally two pence of their profit, they had packaged the olives in skanky sunflower oil rather than olive oil. Damn you M&S.

I moved over to gimlets afterwards. And squeezed my own limes.


*This reminds me, whilst up there some of out compatriots marveled at the spiders webs one the corners of the windows. “How”, they mused “did the spiders get there?”

Er, they climbed. Its kind of the USP of the spider.