Saturday 30 August 2014

Gin in the House

Alban, my Seminarian Pretend Son, has come to stay for a week, so naturally I bought a bottle of gin. Should you ever find yourself mentally adopting a young English seminarian, I recommend that you do the same. Agatha Christie's Miss Marple  believed that what a gentleman needed after a journey was a nice stiff scotch-and-soda, but scotch-and-soda is out of fashion. What the young English gentleman of today needs after travelling is a gin-and-tonic. He can have a scotch--single malt, naturally--later in the evening before he goes to bed. 
Baby Gin

I very much like having my Pretend Sons to stay because I grew up in a family of seven, and it seems odd that our big flat is occupied by only B.A. and me, not by parents, children and cats. On the bright side, I am sure it is easier to clean up after two people than after seven-and-a-cat. On the dark side, I have a nagging feeling I ought to be signing permission slips and yelling at recalcitrant children for not eating their lunch apples.  

And thus it is always nice to have twenty-somethings in the house--young enough to inspire maternal sentiment, but not so young as to sneak friends in without permission--especially when they strew their interesting belongings about. Sometimes one leaves an actual trail of intriguing stuff. If I were a real mother, I would probably gather their things up in a wicker basket, but as I am not, I just leave them be and marvel that badger hair shaving brushes still exist, etc. 

As I always thought of gin-and-tonic as a summer drink, and it is summer in Scotland for only eight weeks a year (spring and autumn being rather long), it was a surprise to me to discover that it was the preferred refreshment, balm and solace of my new British friends. When did the gin-and-tonic replace the scotch-and-soda, I wonder. I shall have to consult my U of T classmate Christine Sismondo's charming book Mondo Cocktail to see if she mentions the change. (I bought several copies of her book and gave all but one away as presents to worthy cocktail-drinking men.)

In the meantime, here is an astonishing history of the gin-and-tonic.

It occurs to me, after reading, that the fad for the ice-cold G&T may have something to do with a refusal to apologize for colonialism. Perhaps a G&T is a liquid way of saying, "The sun didn't set on the British Empire until 1997, and I'm damn proud of that"--making it a rather more rebellious and counter-cultural drink than vodka mixed with Red Bull. Punkers are pikers compared to Young Fogeys.

Meanwhile, there is such a thing as a gin-and-tonic perfume. I know because I have some--a tiny tester's tube of the stuff from Penhaglion's on George Street. When I can afford a whole bottle (speed the day!), I will buy it at once.

Penhaglion's on George Street has excellent customer service, by the way. When I went in to see if they had lavender scented drawer liners (part of my perpetual battle against the clothes moth), the saleswoman seemed truly sorry that they didn't. Then she spritzed a few sheets of fine tissue paper with lavender scent and gave them to me, gratis.  Now that's my idea of a posh parfumier.


  1. I like this new blog. Again, you add class to the Internet.

    I hope you live your single blog up for those who need it. There is a lot of good advice there.


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