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Mad Men, Martinis and Me
I’ve become a film star. You can too, thanks to YouTube. Of course, most of my films only get a few dozen viewers but occasionally the figure moves into three figures. In fact my most popular- about a Steiff Teddy bear- has been seen by over 500 people. To put this into perspective, YouTube attracts 4 billion views a day but, hey, I haven’t lost $160 million on any of my films, unlike Disney.
I first started making films for YouTube to illustrate the products we sell in our shop but my latest is a bit of a departure. Although I use one of our Dartington crystal glasses as a prop, I was inspired by all the publicity for the new series of Mad Men, which is about a New York advertising agency in the sixties.
Thanks to the marketing guys at BSkyB and the US programme makers, you can hardly open a paper, magazine or social network without reading about the series, the actors, the fashions or the era. There is even an iPhone app featuring Mad Men cocktails. This is today’s equivalent of the Mad Men showing how marketing should be done.
So, carried away by the excitement, I thought I would make a film showing how I make my favourite cocktail- a Dry Martini- a classic from the sixties much enjoyed by Roger Stirling of Mad Men at the end of his working day- and during it actually. (Don Draper himself is more of a fan of a cocktail called an Old Fashioned.) If you want to see my effort on YouTube, search for ‘Make A Perfect Vodka Martini with Your Life Your Style’ or look for the Your Life Your Style channel. If you don’t want to boost my viewing figures but still fancy a martini to get you in the mood for Mad Men, this is how I make it.
Pour a small amount of dry vermouth into the glass (Noilly Prat is my favourite) and swirl it round the inside of the glass until it's coated. To do this properly, you should use your finger. To make a dry martini, pour away any excess. If you want a less dry drink, up to a third of the cocktail can be vermouth.
Add vodka (or gin if you prefer). The spirit should be chilled but ‘straight up’, that is to say no ice added- as opposed to 'on the rocks'. My advice is to keep your bottle of vodka in the freezer. Alternatively add your measure of spirit to a cocktail shaker of ice and stir it. I don’t care what Mr Bond says, it’s a bad idea to shake it because the ice breaks up and makes the spirit watery. Strain it into the glass.
For a garnish, I prefer a twist of lemon peel squeezed in your fist to bring out the flavoursome oil. Others like the traditional olive. For a so-called Dirty Martini, add some of the olive juice.
Follow those instructions and you’ll be serving a cocktail the Mad Men themselves would have been proud to drink. Cheers!
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I co-own Your Life Your Style the home and gifts shop in the Brooks Centre Winchester which also sells online at yourlifeyourstyle.co.uk. I love running a small business. The headlines go to the companies turning over billions of pounds but nearly half the UK economy is powered by small to medium size businesses. Small businesses lead change and offer a huge range of challenges. Having spent my early working life in retailing, I moved into arts marketing including many years as the Head of Marketing and Operations at The Mayflower Theatre. I still provide marketing and PR support to small businesses. Paul Lewis