Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cartoon of the Day: Editor


THE McILVANNEY PRIZE LONGLIST: SCOTTISH CRIME BOOK OF THE YEAR


2018 McIlvanney Prize Longlist: Scottish Crime Book of the Year. The winner will be announced on September 21 at the opening gala at the Church of the Holy Rude in Stirling at Bloody Scotland.

Forty-one years ago, William McIlvanney rocked the British literary world with Laidlaw, a gritty and socially conscious crime novel that brought Glasgow to life more vividly than anything before. This year’s longlistees for the McIlvanney Prize demonstrate how modern Scottish crime writing has flourished from those seeds. From debutants to authors with more than 20 books, spy thrillers to long-running detective series, nineteenth-century mysteries to futuristic space station noir, there’s an amazing range of talent on show. – Craig Sisterson, chair of the 2018 judges  

2018 McIlvanney Prize Longlist

Lin Anderson, Follow the Dead (Macmillan)
Chris Brookmyre, Places in the Darkness (Little, Brown)
Mason Cross, Presumed Dead (Orion)
Charles Cumming, The Man Between (Harper Collins)
Oscar De Muriel, The Loch of the Dead (Michael Joseph)
Helen Fields, Perfect Death (Harper Collins)
Alison James, Now She’s Gone (Bookouture)
Liam McIlvanney, The Quaker (Harper Collins)
James Oswald, No Time to Cry (Headline)
Caro Ramsay, The Suffering of Strangers (Severn House)
Andrew Reid, The Hunter (Headline)
Craig Robertson, The Photographer (Simon & Schuster)

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

SHAKEN NOT STIRRED: James Bond's Vesper Martini

Today is National Martini Day, and perhaps the most iconic Martini is that of James Bond aka 007! The Vodka Martini is as synonymous with 007 as the Walther PPK and the Aston Martin DB5. James Bond first ordered his trademark drink  in Ian Fleming's debut novel Casino Royale (1953):

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'
'Oui, monsieur.'
'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon-peel. Got it?'
'Certainly, monsieur.' The barman seemed pleased with the idea.
'Gosh, that's certainly a drink,' said Leiter.
Bond laughed. 'When I'm . . . er . . . concentrating,' he explained, 'I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad. This drink's my own invention. I'm going to patent it when I can think of a good name.'

Having invented his own signature drink for Bond, Fleming left the reader hanging for the name for the drink until Vesper Lynd entered the novel. Bond thought her name was perfect for his preferred drink:

'Vesper,' she said. 'Vesper Lynd.'... She smiled. 'Some people like it, others don't. I'm just used to it.'
'I think it's a fine name,' said Bond. An idea struck him. 'Can I borrow it?'
He explained about the special martini he had invented and his search for a name for it. 'The Vesper,' he said.
'It sounds perfect and it's very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world. Can I have it?'
'So long as I can try one first,' she promised. 'It sounds a drink to be proud of.'

The 'Vesper' Martini created by Bond in Casino Royale and liked by Fleming:

Add 3 measures Gordon's Gin
Add 1 measure Vodka
Add 1 measure blond Lillet vermouth
Shake very well until it's ice cold
Garnish with a slice of lemon peel

The medium-dry Vodka Martini preferred by James Bond in the films:

4 measures Vodka (use a tbsp or an oz as a measure to fill one cocktail glass)
Add 1 measure dry Vermouth
Shake with ice. Do not stir. (Shaking gives the misty effect and extra chill preferred by Bond)
Add 1 green olive ( James Bond prefers olives)
Garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel
Serve in a cocktail glass

Thanks to MI6-HQ.com for the citations