For all it’s grandeur it’s built to the human scale. While the tangle of streets,alleys and canals form a maze that can confuse even old-timers,the city is small enough to be comprehensible. You will continue to get lost,but in places that are familiar and welcoming.-p. 29 of No Vulgar Hotel

More cocktails I’m afraid. I had a trial monkey over and decided to make the most of it. And as the Venice Biennale has now begun it seemed like a good idea to make a cocktail named after that habitat on the marshes. But let’s be honest; for me Venice is always “top of mind”. It is one of the most magical places on earth. I’ve visited twice and would love to go back, but we’ll see when it happens. Until then there is plenty to read to take me back.

One of my all time favorite books,Jonathan Strange&Mr Norrell, partly takes place in Venice. In Proust’s epic suit A la recherche de temps perdu the narrator makes a visit. I recently read The passion by Jeanette Winterson which also is set partly there. And many many others. I’ve read more then one book purely because it takes place in that decaying city that has been described as a living museum. My tip for getting a genuin feel for the place is to get up early and move around, have breakfast at a cafe to view people who live and work there. Try to get away from the crowds a bit and visit the outskirts of the city, which given the small size of the plan isn’t that difficult.

A fun read, a bit out of the ordinary, that I picked up on one of my visits is No vulgar hotel by Judith Martin. She is a Venetophile and isn’t afraid to say so(nobody is; a love of Venice is a love that totally dares speak it’s name). With a a dark sense of humor Martin tells the story of Venice and how to make the most of your stay. Somewhere between “A Year in France” and “1066 and all that”, but you know, Venice, is how I would describe it. Byron makes an appearance, obviously.  Martin is American and writes from that perspective, just skim the fist chapter or so where she draws parallels between the US and The Venetian Republic. Or read them, rather interesting actually.


But the where is the drink I promised? Ah. Most who have visited Italy are familiar with The Spritz; white wine, Aperol or Campari and soda. Very good stuff on a hot day. So called low ABV i.e. low alcohol but very refreshing. Served with olives or crips. This cocktail, the Ventian, comes from a cocktail book I have somewhere. Iused to make it often and feel it’s time to bring it back into my repertoire as Campari is always a good idea and Amaretto has a bad rep despite being a very nice thing to have on the bar cart.

Venetia-cocktail;yields 1 drink

4 cl dry gin

2 cl dry vermouth

1 cl Campari

1cl Amaretto

for serving;

chilled coupette or other cocktail glass


  1. Stir ingredients in an ice-filled mixer glass until chilled.
  2. Pour into the coupette and add the lemon zest.
  3. Enjoy responsibly.

This is a very nice drink with a mix of bitter and sweet. Very refreshing but also potent. On a hot day a spritz is a better option, and if you find yourself in the actual city you may not find this but then a Martin at Harry’S Bar is a nice substitute. For rainy nights when you wish you were somewhere else? This is just the thing.



The power of a sour

I’ve been working my way through my bar cart, trying to use up odd liqueurs and spirits gathered during my days as a cocktail blogger. My aim is to rebuild my bar to suit less nerdy needs. One thing has become abundantly clear; lemon juice is the great balancer*.

It’s not a panacea but citrus,-floral- and berry liqueurs with some gin and lemon juice makes a great cocktail. It’s been an endless parade with twists on the old White lady. That weird citrus liqueur that you bought on holiday? Brilliant! Old dusty bottle of Amaretto? bring it! Some homemade elderflower liqueur that didn’t end up as intended? Tastes great.


That last one is mine actually; the other year I made elderflower liqueur, and didn’t watch what I was doing and somewhere in-between the rhum I based it on and putting to much of the stems in there, it turned out more herbaceous that floral. Not necessarily bad or anything, just not as intended. So it’s been standing on the back of the bar cart , I can’t really put it in any cocktails as it has a unique flavor. Until now.

Strega,Amaretto,experiments and limoncello. They all work with the same basic concept. Liqueurs are very sweet so they need that dash of gin and the lemon juice but then you are pretty much good to go. Don’t do this with any amaro as they will curdle(I have a trick for that too;it’s called the Café Pushkin flip and well get to it at some point) nor any pastis like substance.

A white lady-twist;yields 1 cocktail 

3 cl of what have you. See above.

2 cl of gin

2 cl lemonjuice

1 egg white

for serving;


  1. Shake ingredients in an ice-filled shaker until cold.
  2. Pour into glass.
  3. Serve and enjoy responsibly.

And it’s as simple as that. If you have any questions let me know in the comments and I’ll help you the best I can.


*Words chosen for effect. I knew this and have know it for a long time. Just haven’t shared my expertise in this forum.