No. It’s Not.

Every time I walk past a branch of Jamie’s Italian, I have this barely resistable urge to reach for the spray can and write “No, he’s not” underneath the sign.

However, when I saw this recipe for a port and rum negroni in today’s Guardian, I could resist no more.

It’s not a fucking negroni.



For the love of Christ.

Don’t get me wrong here: it sounds delicious (unlike the accurséd apple martini). And 10 Greek Street is a lovely place. But this is not a fucking negroni.

It’s a valid drink. It might be a little sweet for my taste, but I bet it will sell like gangbusters.

But, dear bartenders, you are the heirs to such luminaries as Jerry Thomas and Harry MacElhone. Do you think they ponced about naming their creations an XX martini or a YY negroni. No they bloody didn’t. They used their imaginations and came up with great names for their drinks that survive to this day.

Give it a name of its own.

Because it is not a fucking negroni.

What Is And What Is Not A Martini

Let’s kick this off properly with a drink that divides opinion. The Martini.

A wise woman once wrote that a martini is made with gin, a vodka martini is made with vodka, and an apple martini is an abomination. I know this because I’m married to her. And I agree.

Which is probably just as well.

But let’s go further.

The famous “martini” at Duke’s is not a martini. It is a large glass of cold gin. A martini is a mixed drink. It requires dry vermouth. Now, I don’t care if you add the vermouth with an atomiser, but it must be there.

A martini should be small. It should be very, very cold. And the balance of its dilution over the ice must be tight-rope perfect. Which is why the martini should ideally be stirred. As President Bartlett once said of James Bond’s shaken specimens, “He’s ordering a weak martini and being snooty about it.”

And, to go a little further still, a martini is made of two ingredients, chilled over ice, served “up”, and garnished. Just because your drink is served in a martini (or cocktail) glass, it doesn’t mean it’s a fucking martini. All your lychee martinis, espresso martinis, marmalade martinis and (oh kill me now)_ pornstar martinis… they are not martinis. Why? Because a martini is made with gin and a vodka martini is made with vodka.

All these other drinks may be perfectly enjoyable, though many are not, but they’re just scrabbling for attention on the noble martini’s coat tails. And their names display both a paucity of imagination on the part of their inventors, and a cynical piece of marketing.

To put it another way, the Cosmopolitan is not a cranberry martini.

So you can take your “martini lists”, and shove ’em.