Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book, first published 1930
When I was eighteen, my father was extremely generous about all that male-bonding "rites of passage" stuff. This included a pint of warm bitter at our local Buckinghamshire pub, The White Hart, where by chance, a troupe of bearded civil servants from Slough, masquerading as Morris Men in skin hugging white breeches, pranced around to the strains of "zummer-is-a-cummin-in".
More promising, was my first visit to The Savoy Hotel, where my father introduced me to the legendary Peter Dorelli, then head man at The American Bar. We had Dry Martinis- of course we did. And Dry Martinis, mixed properly; none of that bizarre Fleming "shaken not stirred" piffle. Instead, the iced gin was poured into a pitcher with ice, stirred around with a few drops of Noilly Pratt, and then strained out into a small iced tumbler, with a twist of lemon. If you want to learn more, the bible of choice is "Stirred not Shaken, the History of the Dry Martini", written by my father's old colleague, John Doxat, with an introduction by Kingsley Amies.
For those of you fascinated by cocktails, the best book on the subject is "The Savoy Cocktail Book". This was first published in 1930, with recipes compiled by Harry Craddock, and the "decorations" by Gilbert Rumbold. The first edition's got a fabulously striking Art Deco cover with foil embellishments, and for antiquarian book nuts, is eminently collectable. The 1999 revised edition has a number of new cocktails by Peter Dorelli. If you come across a first edition in a second hand book shop, buy it immediately, as the grander rare book dealers sell it for big bucks. Over and Out.
The legendary Peter Dorelli mixes a Dry Martini.