Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day 71 - The Perfect Martini

          There was nothing on the boards worth applying to today. I applied to two postings anyway. I just want to make something happen. I’m not going to be happy with this process until someone somewhere flies me someplace for an interview. I hate to fly, but I need that level of commitment from a prospective employer just to get comfortable with the idea that I am still a marketable commodity. All these young recruiters with ADHD who are telling me that I am marketable do not have any credibility with me. I don’t think some of them even know what marketable means.
          I posted another article with Triond. This one is a recipe for a gin martini. I love a proper gin martini. I used to drink malt scotch, and still do on occasion, but I have a friend in Oklahoma who turned me on to martinis made with Bombay gin and I’ve been hooked ever since. My friend drinks scotch in the winter, switches to martinis in the spring and back to scotch on his birthday in the fall. I did that for a while, but I don’t switch back and forth according to seasonal dictates anymore. I just stick with the martinis year round. I rarely drink more than one; never more than two. I find that anything more than two completely undoes the level of sophistication and civility imparted by just enough martinis—in my case just two. Here is the article I posted:

THE PERFECT MARTINI

A philosophical guide to (and recipes for) the most sophisticated, sublime, and American of cocktails


There are probably as many perfect martini recipes as there are martini drinkers—an unusual state of affairs when you consider that the drink has only two basic ingredients. It is hard to imagine, though still true, that something so simple could have so many and such a wide range of outcomes—from heavenly to truly appalling.

Conceptually the perfect martini is a fairly static and well established thing. In execution however, perfection becomes mercurial, ethereal, elusive…impossible even. Two bartenders with the same recipe, the same utensils, and identical ingredients will invariably produce noticeably different results. I believe that a martini in the making is capable of absorbing the philosophical and cultural sensibilities of the maker, and that the flavor of the finished product is as dependent on these as it is on chemistry. For this reason it is important to make a martini with love in the heart. One should neither build nor drink a martini when one is feeling the slightest tinge of self-loathing. And neither should one ever offer a martini to someone for whom he or she does not feel the highest and purest affection.

Another important point to consider is that the modern martini has lost its cache of sophistication. It has come to be regarded as a catapult to oblivion rather than a culturally refined beverage. For the uninitiated the martini has come to symbolize the problem-drinker’s drink—a brutish concoction whose purpose is to rocket the imbiber to a whole other galaxy of reality. This appears to have started with the misguided attempts of wags and sots to humorously portray vermouth as an enemy of the “dry” martini. In a strange twist of events that have ruined the classic martini and very likely contributed to the decline of civilization, these jokes have, over time, become cocktail gospel.  You’ve no doubt heard them. Here are two:

·        Fill a glass with gin and wave the cork from a bottle of vermouth over the surface
·        Fill a glass with gin and whisper the word “vermouth” to it

Vermouth is not the enemy. In fact the martini is meant to be a marriage of gin and vermouth—a harmonious union that recognizes and celebrates the contributions of both ingredients, the enjoyment of which is greater than the sum of its parts. The gin imparts notes of juniper and pine and strength of character to the drink, while the vermouth refines and civilizes it, knocking the rough edges off the gin and producing a result that a friend of mine once described as “the best thing I ever put in my mouth.” The martini is all about sophisticated flavor, not stupefying potency. That it is ultimately capable of knocking you on your backside is a quality that adds to the drink’s mystique. It should be taken into account and respected, but not surrendered to.

The real secret to a perfect martini: don’t be afraid of the vermouth...and don’t forget the love.

Here are my two favorite recipes:


Martini with Olive


This is my usual martini as I like something a little savory—especially before dinner.

  • Fill a martini glass with cracked ice and water
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice
  • Add 2 oz. of gin (I prefer Bombay—the lower proof white label variety as opposed to the Sapphire) and ½ to 2/3 oz. dry white vermouth. Note this is a ratio between 3 to 1 and 4 to 1.
  • Cap the shaker and shake vigorously until the cold begins to make your hand ache
  • Empty the ice water from the martini glass
  • Spoon three small or one large pimiento stuffed olive(s) into the glass
  • Strain the martini into the glass
  • Enjoy responsibly


Martini with a Twist

I love this one on special occasions. It is nuanced with sweet citrus notes, and has a clean and exceptionally refreshing finish.

  • Prepare sufficient lemon twists to garnish all the martinis you intend to make. I use a potato peeler to get paper thin slabs of peel with none of the white pith that imparts a disagreeable bitterness to the drinks. I then use a sharp paring knife to cut the slab into long thin strips—about 1/16th inch wide and as long as you can make them. This makes an elegant curl of peel in the glass, and does not overpower the drink with lemon oil. You can’t get this kind of twist at most bars, and the result is generally a ruined drink. Once I pointed out to a bartender that if I had wanted lemonade I wouldn’t have ordered a martini. He wasn’t very agreeable after that, but then neither was his martini.
  • Fill a martini glass with cracked ice and water
  • Fill a cocktail shaker with cracked ice
  • Add 2 oz. of gin (I prefer Bombay—the lower proof white label variety as opposed to the Sapphire) and ½ to 2/3 oz. dry white vermouth. Note this is a ratio between 3 to 1 and 4 to 1.
  • Cap the shaker and shake vigorously until the cold begins to make your hand ache
  • Empty the ice water from the martini glass
  • Add splash of Triple Sec, Cointreau, or Grand Marnier to the martini glass, swirl it around to coat the inside of the glass, and discard
  • Strain the martini into the glass
  • Garnish with a twist of lemon peel
  • Enjoy responsibly

Again, we’ll see what happens.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are always welcome. Tell me what you like and what you don't. Information, encouragement, criticism--I don't care. A day where I don't learn something new is a day lost to me.