The Martini Mystery: What’s the secret message in Shaken Not Stirred?


I cannot guess the size of the Venn Diagram overlap of cocktail enthusiasts and codebreakers, but it’s safe to say it includes alcohol historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller.

One evening (it could have been afternoon) I was enjoying a drink (or two) at Comstock (that part is beyond dispute). In conversation with bartender Zach, I mentioned attending a talk that Jared Brown had given at Cafe du Nord in his capacity as a distiller of Sipsmith Gin.

“He’s stopped in here before, and he left a message in one of our books,” said Zach (who may have said something entirely different, but this is the gist). “Want to see it?”

I did!

Brown signed Shaken Not Stirred: A Celebration of the Martini (one of many books Comstock keeps handy at the bar) and left a breadcrumb:


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A Sacred Undertaking

Sacred Gin (and more) handsomely arrayed at Whitechapel for Sacred’s tasting and event. A wonderful night of rare flavors.

Above all, your humble narrator loves gin.

Sacred Gin hit my radar in London a few years ago, where the excellent history Gin Glorious Gin: How Mother’s Ruin Became the Spirit of London upended my itinerary and sent me instead in search of Sacred Gin at Gerry’s and cocktails at Artesian, Nightjar, and Callooh Callay.

Nestled in my checked luggage, a bottle of Sacred’s London Dry survived the return voyage to California where it now holds a place of honor among my bottles. American markets don’t offer the London Dry so cocktails made from it are few and far between in my home.

Therefore, Sacred’s event at renowned gin palace Whitechapel required a pilgrimage.

The Cardamom G&T using Sacred’s Cardamom Gin

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