August is here – the last month of the southern winter. It’s a chilly time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, so we still need something to keep us nice and warm. Today I am indulging with a fabulous Espresso Martini.
40ml Vodka (Absolut)
10ml simple syrup**
Method: in a cocktail shaker combine the above ingredients, add ice, shake and strain into a Martini glass.
*For the best quality cocktail, brew the coffee fresh from freshly ground coffee beans and allow to cool before mixing.
**Simple syrup is available from most professional kitchenware or cocktail suppliers. You can also make your own: bring 500ml of water to the boil, dissolve 1kg of caster sugar in the water stirring constantly. Simmer gently for 2-3 minutes, remove from heat, let it cool. Add 30ml of vodka as preservatives and store in a bottle in your bar.
While you are enjoying your Espresso Martini, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to.
‘Honeymoon’ by Lana Del Ray
Lana Del Ray is back at her haunting marvellousness. Five minutes and fifty-four seconds of joyous melancholy. Her voice is like black velvet on a sultry summer night. This single makes me long for her upcoming third album and I can’t wait to see the video that will accompany this single.
There are violets in your eyes
There are guns that blaze around you
There are roses in between my thighs and fire that surrounds you
It’s no wonder every man in town had neither fought nor found you
‘Rolling Stone’ by Hurts
Hurts premiered ‘Rolling Stone’ at the Scala in London on 16 June 2015 from their upcoming third album ‘Surrender.’ ‘Rolling Stone’ is a dark, confronting tale, another masterpiece from this amazing duo.
She said her daddy was an alcoholic
And her mother was an animal
Now she’s living like a rolling stone
‘The 7th Element’ by Витас (Vitas)
Vitas is a Russian artist who clearly defies categorisation, although his style incorporates shades of techno, dance, classical, opera, jazz, folk and a lot of je ne sais quoi. It may surprise you, but he is married with two children. I have no explanation for this particular video, but I am practically mesmerised by it and can’t stop watching it. It is an older performance, and I would be keen to hear from anyone who can explain it …
If you prefer a literary journey with your Espresso Martini, my choice this month is not ‘Go Set a Watchman.’ I hope you are not disappointed. I think that book is getting enough attention without me.
‘Les Miséreables,’ by Victor Hugo
Instead, I decided to go with a classic. Victor Hugo’s ‘Les Misérables’.
I can only hope you are fortunate enough to never have been exposed to a musical, or movie, version of this wonderful story. The idea of Russell Crowe belting out a song as Inspector Javert is enough to fill me with horror. Thankfully I spared myself from that experience.
The book itself is a marvellous journey into history, and the human experience. And don’t be a wuss, go for the full book, not the abridged version.
If you have only experienced the musical or movie version of the story, you will be struck by the immense power of the book. Hugo is a master of words and this story is an eternal tale of human depravity, struggle and triumph.
If you can’t read it in French, we recommend a Norman Denny translation. Some considers his translation less faithful to the original French text, but I feel he captures the drama and poetry of Hugo better. It makes a good first introduction and, if you are game, you can always try different translations later.