occurs to us that the whole Martini phenomena has gotten out of hand. What
was once an integral part of American culture was pushed aside during the
late 1960s and ‘70s by marijuana and drinks like Harvey Wallbangers and
Tequila Sunrises. Despite the current thinking that the Martini has been
rediscovered by a fresh new generation, the cognoscenti have always known
the pleasures of cold gin and vermouth. How did Columbus "discover" America
when the Indians were already there?
movement did a lot of good in promoting good cocktail culture, embracing
the classic and wacky. With the so-called Swing revival, things couldn't
be worse. We know we must sound like a broken record when we declare that
what passes for Swing these days is not what previous generations have
understood to be Swing. Rhythm & Blues or Jump are more appropriate.
We imagine the drink of choice was gin straight out of the bottle, chased
by a bottle of beer and a pigfoot. The current Swing enthusiasts embrace
the Martini and because of their popularity, have changed the classic
Our own classic
instructions for a Martini have withstood the test of time. We urge
you to try this simple yet exact ritual and then experiment from there if
you find yourself unsatisfied. Try increasing or decreasing the amount of
vermouth. Try different brands of gin or vermouth. Try stuffed olives, Myers
lemons or a drop or three of orange bitters.
trend that disturbs us the most is the "shaken, not stirred" rule. We recently
were in a bar in Puerto Vallarta where the cocktail menu listed the Martini,
followed by the line "of course, our martinis are shaken, not stirred."
Until very recently, this was the exception, not the rule. We understand
the science behind shaking. The goal is to chill the drink as fast as possible
without diluting the drink. Metal is a better conductor of cold than glass
and shaking the drink in a container of ice is a quicker method of chilling
the drink, so on paper, the shaker makes sense. The problems are many. Metal
can impart a metallic taste if the liquid is left too long in the shaker.
This isn't likely at home but we've been at bars where the bartender puts
all the ingredients in a shaker and leaves it on the bar. The cocktail waitress
picks up the order at her leisure and then gives the shaker a half-hearted
shake before pouring the drink at your table. Shaking in metal also clouds
the drink, giving it a most unappealing grey look until the aerated liquid
settles down. Worst of all, most bars use small or chipped ice that dilutes
too quickly and small bits escape through the strainer, giving the finished
drink an icy top layer that is disgusting. We find watery martinis much
worse than those that use too much vermouth.
we declare that a martini is a gentle drink and that shaking is just too
violent an action for such a mysterious and gossamer-like creation.
If you must
shake, please insure all your beverages are already cold and the ice is
substantially large to endure the violent shaking.
We have one
friend who makes a fine martini by using the metal container of his shaker
for stirring. It quickly chills the liquid and there are no nauseating specks
of ice floating over the top.
The goal is to have a crisp, clear shot of pleasure. It should be somewhat
dry and it should be very cold. Ice water should not be an ingredient.
If you find the end result just too strong or not to your liking, we gently
suggest that the Martini is not your drink.
don't forget these other fine drinks and cocktails...
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