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  • Debra Palmen

Sorry Mr Bond, but you got it wrong - or did he?

Do you have a favourite cocktail? If not, then you might want to consider exploring a whole new world of flavour. My new book is the first of my Brief History series. It’s called Mixology – A Brief History: From Ancient Elixirs to Modern Mixes. And you're the first to know that it goes on sale today.

Throughout the book, you'll discover ancient elixirs, prohibition-era drinks, and modern mixology techniques, as we trace their evolution from cultural celebrations to craft cocktails.

You'll explore the regional variations of cocktails, from classic concoctions to unique blends, and learn the stories behind your favourite drinks from different cultures.

You'll learn the science of spirits, how to craft cocktails like a pro, and impress your guests with historical recipes and modern techniques. Finally, this book is packed with great retro illustrations of cocktails with their recipes to ensure you make a great drink - or at least have a good idea of what you're ordering next time you're out at a bar.

In this occasional series for the Newsletter, exclusively for you because you subscribe, I’ll give you the brief history of a cocktail featured in the book.


This time, it’s Mr Bond’s favourite, the Martini.


It’s developed significantly since its inception, inspiring many variations that cater to diverse tastes. From the sophisticated classic Martini to the playful Appletini and the bold Espresso Martini, each derivative adds its unique flair to the timeless cocktail tradition.


The Classic Martini

The Martini's origins are shrouded in mystery, but it likely evolved in the late 19th century. One popular theory traces its roots to the Martinez, a cocktail of gin, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and bitters, first mixed in the 1860s. By the early 1900s, the Martini emerged as a simpler blend of gin and dry vermouth, garnished with an olive or a lemon twist. It gained popularity through the 20th century, becoming synonymous with sophistication and elegance. And sorry, James, it’s always meant to be stirred, not shaken. Why? It's simple science. And that's all explained in the book.



The Appletini, or Apple Martini, emerged in the 1990s during the cocktail renaissance that favoured fruity and sweet drinks. Typically made with vodka, apple schnapps, and sometimes a splash of lime juice, the Appletini is a tasty, colourful alternative to the classic Martini.


Espresso Martini

The Espresso Martini was created in the 1980s by British bartender Dick Bradsell at the request of a customer who wanted a drink that would "wake me up, then f**k me up." Combining vodka, espresso coffee, coffee liqueur, and sugar syrup, the Espresso Martini offers a perfect blend of caffeine and alcohol, ideal for a night out. Or to bounce off the walls at home.


Dirty Martini

A Dirty Martini includes a splash of olive brine or olive juice, adding a salty, savoury twist to the classic recipe. This variation has been a favourite for those who enjoy a bit more complexity and a briny edge to their drink.

Vesper Martini

The Vesper Martini gained fame from Ian Fleming’s James Bond novel "Casino Royale." It combines gin, vodka, and Lillet Blanc, garnished with a lemon peel. Bond's famous specification for it to be "shaken, not stirred" was a literary device that Fleming used to establish Bond as an outlier. So, our James was drinking a diluted cocktail all along, while seeming sophisticated and hard drinking. Devilish clever of you, Mr Bond.


Chocolate Martini

The Chocolate Martini is a dessert-like twist on the classic, made with vodka and chocolate liqueur, often garnished with a chocolate rim or cocoa powder. It emerged as a popular choice for those with a sweet tooth, blending the richness of chocolate with the kick of vodka.


French Martini

The French Martini, created in the 1980s, combines vodka, raspberry liqueur, and pineapple juice. This fruity and slightly tart cocktail offers a refreshing alternative to the more spirit-forward classic Martini.

So there's your Brief History of the Martini. There's more in the book, and of course many delicious cocktail recipes to explore and learn about.

And because you subscribe to my Newsletter, if you purchase Mixology - A Brief History I'll also send you a free print copy of my first bestseller, Travel & Shop the World for Free.


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