My uncle John was responsible for much of my education in matters of cocktails. He gave me my first sip of a martini. (I was seven and reacted with understandable shock and revulsion that I managed to master some years later). He taught me how to make an Old Fashioned and always maintained that the gin content of Pimms No 1 needed boosting.
One of his most memorable legacies is the Tinkle Crunch, a disarmingly simple nerve tonic that, he claimed, he had come across in his naval days. It is one of the few cocktails that lives up to its name, in my experience. It consists of three ingredients – cheap brandy; a slice of lemon; a teaspoon of Demerara sugar.
Pour a measure or two of cheap brandy into a narrow-necked glass.
Place a slice of lemon across the top of the glass.
Put a teaspoon of Demerara sugar on the slice of lemon.
Take the lemon and the sugar in your mouth and chew vigorously until your mouth is suffused with the sweetness and the citric tastes.
Now hurl the cheap brandy back down the hatch as rapidly as possible.