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A soothing Negroni for la dolce vita

Stephen Bayley celebrates the Second Cocktail Age with three sumptuous new books on the best way to mix spirits

14 November 2015

9:00 AM

14 November 2015

9:00 AM

The Life Negroni Leigh and Nargess Banks

Spinach Publishing, pp.300, £20, ISBN: 9780993334900

The Spirits: A Guide to Modern Cocktailing Richard Godwin

Square Peg, pp.320, £16.99, ISBN: 9780224101189

Rebellious Spirits: The Illicit History of Booze in Britain Ruth Ball

Elliott & Thompson, pp.346, £14.99, ISBN: 9781783961795

The first draft of the famous story was called ‘A Martini as Big as the Ritz’. That’s not true, but F. Scott Fitzgerald was certainly at work in the First Cocktail Age. The Algonquin circle also floated into literary history on a choppy ocean of toxically high-ABV mixed drinks. The quotes and jokes are legend: Robert Benchley says to Ginger Rogers in a 1942 Billy Wilder film ‘Why don’t you get out of that wet coat and into a dry martini?’ (The line is also attributed to Mae West.)

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'The Life Negroni', £17, 'The Spirits', £14.44 and 'Rebellious Spirits', £12.74 are available from the Spectator Bookshop, Tel: 08430 600033

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