I’ve never had much luck with cocktails. The single time I tried to drink martinis, imagining myself to be all lavish and glamorous like a Tamara de Lempicka lady, I ended up throwing up in my dinner and having to be carried back through the streets of El Paso, my hair matted with sick, to the hotel by an obliging (and very strong) gent. A while later, at a conference as the “colleague” of one of the speakers, I tried margaritas to see if I did any better. This time I made it up to my hotel room unaided to throw up in the bath. I spent the next day curled up on a couch in the foyer, the concierge hovering in case I turned out to be a bag lady. I gave soft cocktails a shot, but all that fruit juice is so bad for your teeth and no matter how many maraschino cherries you put in your Shirley Temple, it’ll never have any kick. Probably I should just give up and admit I clearly don’t have the sophistication required to drink cocktails. Or the will power not to drink ten of them.
I persevere, though, in the name of glamour. To avoid injury yet feel like cocktails were a part of my life, I bought Jane Rocca’s book, The Cocktail: 200 Fabulous Drinks. It’s illustrated by Kat Macleod with images of gorgeous (if occasionally a little unhinged) women in dresses of sequins, feathers, origami, and collage. With names like Corinthian Iced Tea, Violent Little Ol’ Lavender Girl, Rum-eo and Juliet, 42 Flying Mules (hopefully not a reference to what you see after drinking one), Misty Bitch, Yemen Fizz, Ms Fanny U Bank, Southern Shag and ingredients like crème de pomme verte, rose petal-infused gin, and honey-infused vodka, it’s very difficult to resist the lure of what those glasses hold. There’s an aloe vera martini with gin, aloe vera water, crème de peche, and a twist of orange to garnish. Aloe vera being renowned for its health properties, I might just get away with it. That said, I think it’s more beneficial for the skin than anything else so I might just have to massage it into my skin and absorb it through my pores. With gin seeping down my decolletage, into my knickers and down my legs, I’m sure to look the very picture of glamour.