The Cold Light Martini and Play

img_9361The Idea

I’m not called the Martini Whisperer for nothing, creating and perfecting a Martini for each occasion is what I do.

So when the Street Theatre approached me to create a bespoke cocktail for their new production, Cold Light, naturally I was thrilled!

The play is a landmark Australian production by the theatre, written by playwright Alana Valentine based on the award winning trilogy by Frank Moorhouse.  Longtime followers of my work will know that I’m a huge fan of his work, Martini: A Memoir, and referenced the book in my TEDx talk on the Martini.

In Cold Light, the main character, Edith Campbell Berry, is a singular figure, and the plot lines span several decades of diplomacy and political intrigue (and much more besides) internationally and here in my home town Canberra, being the national capital.

So it was a singular honour to be invited to craft something to mark this art work.

The Test Event

I test ran the Martini at a VIP function which introduced the cast and production crew a few weeks back and happily they went down nicely. Yet again I’m struck by how people have yet to experience a Martini, let alone a good one. Or they love the idea of it, but shy away from its potency, but for those who sampled the Cold Light Martini -they loved it. Phew!

So recently,I was part of a special event at the Museum of Australian Democracy which attracted over 150 people to enjoy my Martini and hear the author and playwright in conversation about their work.

Of course, one can’t make 150 Martinis individually without a very long wait for the guests, so I premixed enough for the first wave of orders, prevailing everything of course, and ensuring the catering staff knew the details of the recipe and service.

I was also invited to speak to the audience on the inspiration behind the cocktail.


The Recipe

The recipe had to be easily replicated for the Theatre and Museum staff, with readily available ingredients, yet still distinctive.

I settled on the dramatic looking London No. 1 Gin with its blue hue (from the Geranium plant used in distillation)  and the main ingredient. The colour was striking like the main character, Edith, and whilst I initially skeptical about a coloured gin, found the No.1 gin an very refined number with sufficient approachability to ensure it would appeal to a wide audience.

I married it in a 1:10 ratio with the austere Dolin Dry Vermouth (noting that French is the language of diplomacy) creating a perfectly dry entente cordiale Martini!  😉

For a garnish I used fresh Rosemary from my garden, as a marker of Canberra, for much of the work is centred here, and locals will have it in almost every garden. Rosemary stands for memory too, another theme in the work.

A thrill on the night for me was to mix one for Mr Moorhouse (pictured left below) before anyone else arrived in the magnificent Members Bar in the Old Parliament House, once the exclusive domain of the Federal MPs, but it still has a great ambience.

I waited as he sipped it expectantly.

‘Perfect.’he said.

Job done.



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