The Saturday Miscellany: How to make the perfect martini; Charles Spencer's bookshelf; Cura TV; Goodhood shopping emporium


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How to: Make the perfect martini

Don't do it like James Bond. Do it like Duncan McRae, Hendrick's gin ambassador to the UK:

'Experiment to find a gin-vermouth ratio and garnish combination that work together for your palate – and then never forget it.'

'Sound practice begins with ice. Store it in quantity. The aim when creating martinis should be to create as cold a temperature as possible outside of lab conditions. Did the ice crack as you poured the gin over it? Good.'

'Never shake martinis. Ian Fleming was a writer, not a bartender, and although Bond has done more than anyone to popularise the drink, shaking results in rapid, uncontrolled dilution. Drink your martini while it's laughing at you. A warm martini is a contradiction in terms.'

Duncan McRae will be at London Cocktail Week in October

Rotating column: Walk on by

By Samuel Muston

Summer is on its way out and the tourists are off from whence they came. Thank God for that. I've nothing against foreigners or people from Bradford or wherever, I should say. It is just I am often late, I live in London, and am compelled by economic necessity to take public transport. And what that means is I am often rushing along train platforms and up escalators.

The problem is, tourists don't rush, they trundle; they don't stand hard against the wall, they stand blocking entire platforms. They compromise the silent covenant which prevents everything coming to a dead stop. Where's your heart, you might say? Well, my heart is with the 7.99 million people trying to get to work. Which is why I propose anyone entering the metropolis be given a prompt card with the following words: 'Shuffle, dodge but KEEP MOVING'.

Instant Ethics

By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. My friend's baby has got a big nose. Do I still have to say "Oh, what a cute baby!"?

A. Mate, haven't you heard? No one is calling babies "cute" any more. It goes against the vogue for non-gendered positive reinforcement. Instead, say "Oh, what an emotionally-grounded baby!" or "Oh, what an aptitude for creative play!"


Four play: Died in a car crash

1. Henry H Bliss*, 1899

2. Jean Bugatti, 1939

3. George S Patton, 1945

4. Albert Camus, 1960

*first person killed by a car in the US

Micro extract: Trouble at Home

"With hindsight, Blunkett's instincts were no more authoritarian than his two immediate predecessors. But when he assumed office in 2001 and was faced with 9/11, he grasped the moment as one of political opportunity."

From 'On Liberty' by Shami Chakrabarti (Allen lane, £17.99, out in October)

Goodhood has opened a several-storey flagship store in east London

All Good Things

By Charlotte Philby

Food for thought

Cura TV is a free new app putting shoppers in contact with some of Britain's best indie food and drink producers, such as L'Emporio Fine Foods and the Rare Tea Company.

And the winner is...

'The Winners' is a bizarre and brilliant new book from photographer Rafal Milach. It documents Belarusian competitions, in categories ranging from beauty to public space maintenance. £40;

Good move

Head to east London (where else?) to find a new shopping emporium from Goodhood, which has opened a several-storey flagship store. Alongside fashion, find accessories, homewares – and the new Goodhood Café.