I would wake up to…

…the sound of wood pigeons and light rain through an open window, and the prospect of a day free to spend pootling around aimlessly. In my official capacity I suppose I’d be obliged to hit the sauce at some point, so the obvious choice is a variation on the Breakfast Martini, made with Chambord, lime and jam, rather than Marmalade, lemon and triple sec.

I’d drink and eat…

…lavishly, of course. I’ve always been partial to the idea of the opulent Victorian multi-course breakfast – who wouldn’t start the day with potted beef and devilled eggs if they could? Lunch would necessarily be a more spartan affair – consommés and perhaps the most modest of lobsters. Dinner is altogether too big a topic to consider – I’d have to appoint someone like as Royal chef and give him free rein. What I’d like to drink changes from minute to minute, but my instincts are going with…well-made Sazeracs.

I’d prioritize…

…travel.I’d love to search the world for unfamiliar flavours – the more I learn, the more pedestrian the majority of menus seem. Why has no one ever offered me a glass of Tepache? Even the number of native, often foragable, fruits and herbs that are rarely utilised is constantly surprising.

I’d make sure everyone knows about…

…aband called the Moulettes. To see them live is to fall in love with them and I’m perpetually irked that their absurd talent doesn’t receive more recognition. Also a pastry shop in Peckham called Southerden, run by one of the nicest ladies you could care to meet. She has an amazing ability to modernise and reinvent classics, and the patisserie always manage to look both elegantly sculptural and like you could happily eat 15 in one sitting.

The national drink would be…

…gin, and I’d make flavouring gin the national pastime. No home should be without a larder of mysterious bottles slowly steeping away with fruits, herbs, spices, flowers and shrubbery. Excluding these refinements I think we could do a lot worse than the Gimlet (Gin, lime cordial, no soda). Suitably no-nonsense and plenty of historic connotations for the traditionalists.

My Royal Palace would be…

…lovecraftian in scale. Giddy turrets, bristling pinnacles, positively swooping buttresses, all surrounded by eldritch forests and treacherous marshes. The stonework would be moldering, the secret passages labyrinthine, the wine cellars immeasurable and the kitchen garden immense.

My people would have to…

…be as pleasant to one another as possible. And try new things. It pains me to see people stick to what they know. Everyone has favourites and likes the comfortingly familiar, but I think these must frequently be tested against the strange and new, if only to confirm their superiority. This is true of so much more than just food and drink.

I would bring back…

…gin palaces and more generally, elegant water taps on bar tops, allowing the patron to dilute their whisky, pastis or absinth as they see fit. Yes, you could ask for a little jug of water, but it’s not the same.

I would travel…

..as widely as possible, and as often as possible by train, boat or foot. I do rather like flying, but given free reign (ha), I’d like to take journeys where changes of plan, impulsive stops and random chance can play a part. However, I feel it would be churlish of me to refuse the assistance of a royal support team, with bodyguards, a well stocked bar and a fresh supply of ice should the need arise.

I would knight…

…Simon Difford. My tattered copy of his Cocktails #6 has, over the years, probably absorbed at least as much alcohol as I have, and has at various times been partially cooked and served as a makeshift chopping board. I was at university when I got it, and every student cookbook I owned had a depressing section on how to make sickly sweet shots and commonplace ‘classics’. The thousands of unheard of cocktails his book contained was a revelation, and have since provided me with more pleasure than I care to (or sometimes can) remember.

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