Breakfast martini

Sunday life: February 2016

We are entering the last month of summer now.

Most of us are back at work, but at least the weather has been questionable, with big storms and rainy days, making the transition from holiday-mode to work-mode a little easier …

Breakfast martini

40ml gin*
15ml Cointreau**
10ml fresh lemon juice***
1 heaped teaspoon of orange marmalade****

Method: combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice, shake and pour. And remember, a breakfast martini is not just for breakfast! Outrageous …

*I prefer Tanquerey gin for my gin-based cocktails.
**Cointreau is my preferred liquor in this cocktail, but other orange liquors can be used.
***The quantity of lemon juice in this cocktail is very much a matter of personal preference. If you like a sweeter cocktail, add less, or no, lemon juice; if you like a sharper taste, you can add another 5ml.
****Getting a good quality marmalade will make this cocktail better. I love a good French marmalade with chunks of orange peel.

While you are enjoying your Breakfast martini, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to.

‘Lazarus’ by David Bowie

During the last few months I selected two David Bowie songs among my favourite music.

One, in September, was ‘Heroes’, performed by David Bowie himself. Another, in December, was Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’, performed by astronaut Chris Hadfield on the International Space Station.

Bowie was an unparalleled cultural icon. His passing last month from cancer at just age 69 was a shock to his fans. His death is a tragic loss to the art, fashion and music worlds.

Just two days before his death he released his final album, titled ‘Blackstar’, which he intended to be his swan song, and a parting gift to his fans. ‘Lazarus’ was his final single and video release …

‘Starman’ by David Bowie

‘Starman’ is a Bowie classic from his ‘Ziggy Stardust’ period in the early 70s. Originally the song was dropped from his fifth studio album, ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’, and was included at the last minute, only at the insistence of RCA Records’ Dennis Katz, who loved the song, and believed it would be a hit. Katz was right – the song became a career milestone for Bowie, his first hit after 1969’s ‘Space Oddity’.

‘There’s a starman waiting in the sky
He’d like to come and meet us
But he thinks he’d blow our minds
There’s a starman waiting in the sky …’

The lyrics of the song revolve around Ziggy Stardust bringing a message of hope to Earth’s youth through a song on the radio, promising salvation by an alien named ‘Starman’.

‘The Passenger’ by Iggy Pop

It’s fitting to follow up those two Bowie songs with a tune from Iggy Pop, Bowie’s lifelong friend and contemporary. While the title track ‘Lust for Life‘ is considered to be a rock and roll anthem, my preference lies with ‘The Passenger’, from his 1977 ‘Lust for Life’ album. Bowie produced this album for Pop, and Pop credited Bowie with saving his life from heroin addiction, and a related downward spiral.

‘The Man Who Tasted Shapes’ by Richard E. Cytowic, M.D.

The Man Who Tasted ShapesIf you prefer a literary journey with your Breakfast martini, my choice this month is ‘The Man Who Tasted Shapes‘.

I first read this book over 20 years ago, and found it fascinating, as it explored a particular mystery of the brain – synesthesia, at a time when neuroscience was still taking baby-steps.

Synesthesia is a unique condition, whereby two senses are connected. For example, some people don’t just hear, but also see sound – this type of synesthesia is known as chromesthesia.

Others perceive letters or numbers as colours, or taste as shapes on their tongue.

The book is a scientific examination of the causes of this fascinating neurological phenomenon and its implications for our understanding of reason and emotion.

‘… synesthesia is actually a normal brain function in every one of us, but its workings reach conscious awareness in only a handful. This has nothing to do with the intensity or degree of synesthesia in some people. Rather, it is that most brain processes operate at a level below consciousness. In synesthesia, a brain process that is normally unconscious becomes bared to consciousness so that synesthetes know they are synesthetic while the rest of us do not.

Synesthesia is a conscious peek at a neural process that happens all the time in everyone.

I call synesthetes cognitive fossils because they are fortunate to retain some awareness, however slight, of something that is so fundamental to what it means not only to be human, but mammalian!’

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