I've attended many a cocktail masterclass now and they do tend to be aimed at beginners. So it was rather lovely to attend a grown up afternoon at 40 St Pauls, learning about one of my favourite drinks, the martini.
Let's be clear; these were proper martinis. Gin or vodka, vermouth, bitters and a garnish.
We spent the afternoon in the company of cocktail genius Rob Wood and other martini fans.
We started with a modern vodka martini, sweetly served with a little Japanese olive boiled sweet. Sounds bizarre, tasted surprisingly good.
We tried a variety of gin martinis after this, from the early vermouth-heavy ones, up to the drier martinis we expect today. I do like a dry martini but I'd never really thought about having bitters in my martini before.
We were then able to mix our own martini! Rob provided us with a variety of gins, vermouths, bitters and garnishes.
Edd and I worked together to make a dry gin martini, with Plymouth gin, dry vermouth, lemon bitters and a pickled onion. Don't scoff- a pickled onion in a martini is a thing of beauty. It's called a Gibson, look it up. Maybe don't go straight for this if you've never had a martini though.
I learnt lots that afternoon and am looking forward to experimenting with bitters, putting a tad more vermouth in my martinis, keeping my vermouth in the fridge and never-ever wiping the lemon rind round the rim of the glass.
40 St Pauls
Rob's new venture Smultronstalle
Tickets were complimentary in return for Edd's stellar photography.
Photos by Helen and Edd