This photo is the official portrait of what are very possibly the first two martinis ever to have been prepared and imbibed at the Manse in all its 125-year history. I made them early this week (I am the cocktail-maker in the Sedgwick-Brassard outfit), and they were very good, if I do say so myself. The glasses came from Wilson’s of Madoc, and the beverages made a fine start to a perfect Darren-and-Samantha midcentury supper, to wit: martinis and tuna casserole.
But I have to confess that I feel conflicted. Martinis? In the Manse? The Manse that was built by Methodists for the Methodist minister? In those days, people – 1888, I mean, when the Manse was built – Methodists tended to be very strongly against strong drink. And that was also the way it was when I was growing up at the Manse in the 1960s and ’70s; tea was as strong as drink got at our house back then.
But I have been somewhat encouraged on the cocktail front these past two days as Raymond and I have spent some time with our Stratford (Ont.) friends John and Diana, who have transformed a section of their lofty flat into the coolest (non-commercial) lounge you ever saw, with John behind the bar mixing incredibly complex, obscure, retro – and tasty – cocktails. It makes one realize that properly thought-out cocktails are a very fine art – and, in moderation, a very fine thing.
So I am beginning to think it is eminently possible that there is room for cocktails – and perhaps even a modest replica of John and Diana’s splendid cocktail bar – in the Manse’s future.
If, that is, I can get over my Methodist guilt.
Which, admittedly, is a very big if.