Martini ®


The brand name of a bitter, herb-flavoured vermouth apéritif. May be sweet or dry. When my father came home from work, when I was a child, smelling slightly of ether and the surgery, he would have a bath and then make the cocktails.For him a pink gin, which put him briefly back in the mess of HMS Malaya and his glory gory days of war. For my mother it was either 'gin and French' or 'gin and It' (gin and Italian). 'Gin and French' was made with sweet, dark vermouth and 'Gin and It' with pale dry vermouth. The bright Martini bottles stood alongside the Gordon's Gin and tins of 50 Player's untipped cigarettes in a corner cupboard in the den. As the children grew older the cigarettes had to be raised higher and then hidden altogether, though that still did not stop us secreting the odd one out of the tin and disappearing up a tree in the garden for a quiet smoke. When the tins were empty, we would throw away the lids. Then we took cotton wool and great swathes of wide sellotape to make a pad at the unopened end of the tin. With one in each hand we would bend over and canter round the concrete yard by the wood and coal sheds, clip-clopping like real horses.