Autumn is upon us.
After the hot, humid and wet summer we had in Sydney this year, which was compounded by the #FirstWorldProblem of our air conditioner breaking down and a drawn out repair process, I am actually looking forward to the cooler mornings of autumn and the lovely long strolls on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk, which are so much nicer during the cooler seasons.
Although, this first week of autumn felt more like summer …
Classic dry martini with a twist
I have shared a variety of martini recipes over the past few months, so it is perhaps time to return to the original classic, particularly well-suited for the cooler months, the classic dry martini with (or without) a twist – it’s your choice …
Method: chill your martini glass in the freezer or fridge. Pour the gin into a mixing glass, add ice and stir (you can shake, but James Bond will have to kill you). Pour the chilled vermouth into your martini glass, swish it around to coat the glass, then tip it out. Strain in the gin, add a twist of lemon and enjoy …
*I prefer Tanquerey for my gin-based cocktails.
**Use Noilly Prat, Martini Extra Dry or Cinzano Extra Dry
While you are enjoying your Classic dry martini, here are a few of my favourite tunes I am currently listening to.
‘Formation’ by Beyonce
The day before her spectacular performance at Super Bowl 50, Beyonce released a new single, ‘Formation’. The single created quite a backlash against her from some sections of the community, because it is an unashamedly political song and video.
Beyonce is often looked at as a mainstream pop artist. And while she’s exactly that, that doesn’t prevent her from skilfully foraying into sending a powerful political message and a rallying cry through her music. And that she did …
‘Formation’ is #BlackLivesMatter meets #BlackPower, meets #feminism, meets Beyonce’s unique strength and star-power – all coming together to create a striking and ‘un-ignorable’ message to the people of the United States, and the world, about equality, racism and social justice.
‘Come Home (Cardinal Pell)’ by Tim Minchin
This fascinating and controversial release by Tim Minchin, much-loved comedian, actor, writer, and musician, truly thrown the cat among the pigeons.
Cardinal George Pell, the former Catholic Archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne, was recently given permission by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse to give evidence via video link on 29 February, rather than return to Australia and do so in person, on health grounds. This decision caused outrage among the sexual abuse victims of the Catholic Church, and the general public.
Admittedly, Cardinal Pell had appeared before the Commission in person twice already. However, since his last appearance further serious revelations came to light about his past conduct that require clarification, and explanation.
The song angered Cardinal Pell’s supporters, but topped the Australian iTunes charts within 24 hours, and helped raise over $160,000 toward plane tickets for sexual abuse victims to travel to the Vatican to watch the Cardinal’s testimony in person.
‘Make Me Like You’ by Gwen Stefani
This month I’m finishing off my music selection on a lighter note, with a fabulous new pop and disco-vibe from Gwen Stefani. It’s a thoroughly fun and upbeat ditty, loaded with Hollywood glamour, which is guaranteed to put a smile on your face, and in your heart.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
If you prefer a literary journey with your Classic dry martini, my choice this month is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird‘. Admittedly, this was a last-minute change from my original choice, to honour the passing of Nelle Harper Lee.
My original pick for this month will be featured in the April edition of ‘Sunday Life’.
This quintessential American literary masterpiece was published in 1960 and won its reclusive author the Pulitzer Prize.
The plot of the story and the characters are loosely based on events that occurred near Harper Lee’s hometown in 1936, when she was 10 years old, and observations of her family and community in the Deep South of the United States, in Monroeville, Alabama.
The story revolves around the trial of Tom Robinson, a young black man, falsely accused of raping a young, white woman, and his defence attorney, Atticus Finch. The story is told from the perspective of a young girl witnessing a life-altering injustice, and a grown woman as she reflects on her childhood.
The book holds a mirror to the racist history of the United States, and the horrors a racist, unjust culture can create. It is a classic text, not just on racial injustice and innocence lost, but class struggle, courage, discrimination and historical gender roles.
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is a riveting literary classic that should be on everyone’s bookshelf …