Monday, 20 August 2018 Contact us


Cocktails, Alice Lascelles, Blenheim Literary Festival, Oxford

*********** It’s not big and it’s not clever but today, because it IS Saturday, I have decided to forgo attending the ‘Faith In Conflict’ talk given by George Carey at St Mary Magdalene’s church in Woodstock for something infinitely more shallow, inconsequential and yes, frivolous.
Instead, and I hold my head high, I’ve opted for Alice Lascelles talk on ‘Ten Cocktails: The Art of Convivial Drinking’.
Well maybe for starters because I too am shallow, inconsequential and frivolous, but also, hell it is the weekend and I just don’t fancy stretching my grey matter any more than I need to.
So having ditched Faith in favour of Daiquiris and Coladas, has it lifted my spirits as intended?
And why (again)?
Because in addition to the charming presence of Ms Lascelles, tastings were on offer, and let’s face it, could anything anything be more gleefully decadent than sipping a glass of Pol Roger White Label (Winston Churchill’s favourite) in the Indian Room at Blenheim Palace?
I do of course now regret I didn’t dress more appropriately - I ditched my waistcoat and tie once I’d made up my mind to ditch Mr Carey - but in hindsight realise this attire would have been infinitely more suitable for the challenge ahead.
Not that there was any whiff of a challenge. The Pol Roger was stunning, the martinis sublime and the audience a casting call for ‘The Real Housewives of Woodstock’.
Ms Lascelles made the perfect host, capably armed with a great stable of booze-related anecdotes. For instance, any Martini aficionado will, apparently, tell you that if your plane should crash in the African bush, instead of setting off a flare or writing ‘Help’ in the sand with large stones, you should simply mix yourself a Martini because sooner or later someone will emerge from the dense foliage to tell you you’re doing it wrong…
I also liked the woman who, introducing Lascelles, said by way of introduction: “Any stragglers who do come in will just have to drink less than the rest of us”. Brilliant.
Informative and genuinely convivial, it’s proved the ideal weekend aperitif.

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