02 October 2008

In Honor of Janet Adam Smith

Janet Adam Smith: mountaineer, comic versifier, literary critic, and Marcus' granny. Also, a legendary hostess who understood the value of the civilizing institution of cocktail hour. Tonight I raise my glass to her memory as I enjoy her favorite: Canada Dry Ginger Ale and whiskey, ice cold. Without the benefit of her wit to give the drink a name, I have dubbed it Ginger Whiskey. It is delicious; heathens may like to add a lime to it, but I think it superfluous.


To Janet: may your influence on our drinking as well as our reading (she discovered T.S. Eliot) continue forever more.


Jessica said...

That drink sounds fantastic. I challenge you to find something (other than coffee or vodka, of course, that mixes well with amarula, my new favourite). I've just tried amarula for the first time and I cannot imagine it being good on anything but ice.

Recently, I've been thinking of making a cake with it in the batter, or perhaps in the icing on the cake (walnut cake? cookies with caramel and chocolate?)

On a completely separate topic, two weekends ago I spent an un-Godly amount of money on 'Salad Night'. (Though the un-Godly sums might have resulted more from the pre-salad smoked salmon course than the salads themselves).

The challenge: salad which green-hating people liked.

This reminded me of one of your earlier posts about salads and how underrated they are. (Here, I'd like to quote the lovely Ms Delia Smith, 'I think it would be true to say that salads in this country were not all they should have been for a very long time', at the front of her cookbook)

One of the ingredients that made our best two salads (the night included three in total) was the beet. Completely underrated, but when scented with cloves or mixed with stilton, becomes amazingly sweet. I've decided that more must be done with beets and am on the hunt for beet creativity.

The Girls Who Ate Everything said...

I agree: beets are completely underrated. Have you tried the beet recipe from that earlier post? The combo of OJ and red onion brings out the sweet and savory flavors in beets - very complex and delicious. If you want to go all out with your beets, prepare them yourself: peel, quarter, and boil them. Save the cooking water, and turn it into a Polish soup by boiling chunks of potato in it, finished off with dill - very refreshing! I'm not much of a beet and cheese fan yet, though I'm intrigued by your suggestion of stilton. I'll give that a go next.

As to your amarula challenge, I can't wait to try it! I hadn't heard of the stuff before, thanks for the tip... Is it a cousin of amaretto liqueur?

ann said...

Janet may well have drunk Rye when she lived in NY during her time as Visiting Professor at Barnard in the early 60s, but at home in Holland Park, she always drank the whisky of her Scottish homeland.

On Politik said...

Do you happen to remember what here prefered whisky was and what other drinks she might have enjoyed back at Lansdown Road?

ann said...

Janet drank Scotch and dry ginger as an aperitif and sometimes as a nightcap. In summer, she drank vermouth, Dubonnet or Chambery. She drank very dry martinis occasionally. We inherited the contents of her drinks cupboard when she died in 1999 and last week I used the last drop of her Chambery in a dish of pork chops baked with juniper berries and the last apples from our orchard, together with our own potatoes.
In her drawing room she kept a few drinks in an eighteenth century corner wall cupboard, but if you wanted a gin and tonic, it came with a very parsimonious couple of small ice cubes and extremely flat tonic. She bought large bottles of Schweppes tonic water, and would use them steadily until they were finished – but often this would take months. We learned to have a sneak checkup and ordered something else if old bottles languished.

mooks said...


As if dirties weren't enough, you have to go drinking my classic. I've been a jack and ginger girl since before the dawn of time. I also want to make you a dark and stormy, which is dark rum and ginger beer--guaranteed to leave you feeling fine!