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Discussion in 'The Connoisseur' started by Kimberly, Apr 8, 2007.
Ahhhh....finally got my martini...what a relief.
These days I lean towards a Dirty Martini with three olives.
To Senator Jack,
Cheers to another Wild Wild West and Lost in Space fan!
Pilot for a TV show: My Favorite Martini
James Bond asks for Bourbon and branch water in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. The book or the movie? Maybe both? I can't remember.
I'm not old enough to drink yet but I'm going to vote on a Martini as my favorite martini, on principle.
Heh. But probably better to get two regular sized ones in succession - they stay colder that way!
I'm a sucker for a Lemon Drop. But gotta watch out, they go down oh so quickly!
That's my problem with Cosmos. The first time I had them I was at a posh bar and my friend told me I had to try this new drink. I was already a little buzzed so didn't even bother to ask what was in it. After the first sip I was in bliss. I had three more after that and was more than a little tipsy which is very unlike me. My friend and I realized the condition we were in and asked the bartender to call us a cab and asked if we could keep our car there for the night. I couldn't go back to that bar for 6 months after that. lol
Oh man, those Cosmos can be just as bad as the Lemon Drops. Great story Kimberly.
The whole reason why this site came back to mind this evening, was the Martini...
I've several friends here in town who we all met due to our love of old Series Land Rovers. We also have a penchant for other things off-beat from the typical variant local resident that you would find in their NASCAR shirts at the local Wally-World.... instead of Natty Lite, you would find Guinness or Bass in our fridges, and Ella Fitzgerald in our CD players, as opposed to Gretchen Wilson or whoever the latest darling of the masses is.
I must confess, I am a bit of of a Bond fan. Old Bond, the first few of Connery's. I'd been one who had hopes for Brosnan, being a fan from his Remington Steele days, but fee he peaked and the Dalton delay limited his success. I really feared Craig, but was quite delighted in Casino Royale. So, having received a copy of it when it was available, the Vesper caught my attention.
So last week, I began plotting. The following is the gist of a series of emails I sent, as a rallying hint to converge at my deck (alas, the weather didn't cooperate):
Since college, I have been predominantly a beer fellow (a common theme among geologists... ). I'd originally been a mixed-drink guy, but a bad experience one night back in college involving a bottle of Barcardi 151, I'd shifted to beer, almost exclusively. Wine had also been partaken of, either at wine tastings, served with dinners, and the like. Most places, for "parties", margaritas seem to be the dominant cocktail drink. Scotch is a classic "man's drink", but I must confess, I really haven't been able to acquire a taste for such. Bourbon, mixers, etc, all are acceptable, but have never really held a strong allure.
But then one day I realized... have I ever truly had a martini? I couldn't remember ever having had one, and if I had, I'd evidentially had enough to drink that I don't remember it.
Of course, popular culture has had the martini as a mainstay. Whether Hawkeye Pierce making gin in Korea, or our favorite spy wanting it "shaken, not stirred", imagery built off of society's memories of fat cats in tuxedos at events for patrons of operas and museums, or congressmen and Cuban cigars before they were embargoed, the martini has been a classic.
If you do frequent bars, you are most likely aware that the classic martini is predominantly gin, preferably a London dry gin, with vermouth, usually dry white but perhaps sweet red, with the amount of vermouth added being a subject of much debate. And, the olive holds the reserved spot as the classic garnish, though a twist of citrus or an onion has served in the role many times, such as in the Gibson martini. And, you don't shake a gin martini... connoisseurs state that this bruises the gin, altering the presentation of the juniper in the gin; stirring provides an amount of layering between the gin and the vermouth. When 007 orders his shaken, it is a vodka martini, where the vodka replaces the gin, so you therefore don't have to worry about the gin; and shaking over ice provides for a greater degree of cooling.
But to add to the variety, you have the Vesper, Bond's latest (or is it earliest) drink... it has both gin and vodka, and replaces the vermouth with Lillet, another ap?©ritif wine also infused with botanicals, and quinine, making it a bit more bitter.
As with anything, quality ingredients are and essential part of the end result. Is Gordon's London gin the best for a martini? Or would Beefeaters or Tanqueray be better? Is Martini and Rossi's vermouth acceptable, or is Gallo preferable although half the price? Or should Noilly Prat be the only one considered? Should a vodka be Russian or Polish, or are the others acceptable? Is it true that grain vodkas are superior, is the lowly potato vodka also accepted? Is Smirnoff okay if no longer truly Russian, or should Stolichnaya be demanded? What of Belvedere, or Van Gogh? Are the modern inventions like Absolut or Skyy or Grey Goose deserving of being considered superior?
So which is better? Is the classic Martini the greatest? Is the vodka martini's popularity only because of Bond?
I believe some research is in order.
At the moment, I have, unopened:
A bottle of Gordon's, a bottle of M&R, a bottle of Lillet, and a bottle of Stoli in the fridge, chilling.... I have brand new, never used, martini glasses and a cocktail shaker. And a copy of the NY Bartender's Guide. I have an unopened bottle of pitted Spanish olives.
As I said, I am preparing for research. Or rather, I've done some preliminary research, I now need to collect some field data....
Other relevant bits:
One thing I read said to *NOT* use olives with pimentos in them, that you need them unstuffed, or with something more neutral, like almonds. However, if using vodka instead of gin, something like olives stuffed with blue cheese is a good selection.
Luksusowa is supposed to be the "acceptable" potato vodka; otherwise, stick with grain vodkas (again, based on what I have read). Level, Ketel One, etc., are high-priced, but not necessarily better. Some have nudged me towards Polish, like Belvedere or Wyborowa, but others say to stay Russian (Russian Standard, Ruskova, or even Smirnoff, although not made it Russia, if bought here).
Lemon twists (or orange or lime): are they just a piece of the peel, cut into a spiral? Or just a slice that you can twist? How do you actually cut such? Does it go deeper, more like a wedge, into the meat of the fruit?
I think there needs to be some informal gentlemen's research on my deck one afternoon, if the weather will improve.... it's warming up but the wind is still cutting today.
Isn't zest is just the outer part of the peel, used in cooking, etc; like you use a little grater or a knife to scrape the outer part....???
Most of the fancy-looking ones look like it's the entire peel, but just the peel, cut into a spiral. I *think*, for functionality, a slice of lemon stuck onto the rim, to be twisted as desired, might be best.
Another thing I just read (at http://www.drinkboy.com/), suggested NOT keeping everything in the freezer (like the vodka), or even the vermouth in the fridge (which is where you're supposed to keep it, aren't you?)... it said to let the ice cool it down; in doing so, a certain amount of the ice goes to water, to dampen the alcohol bite. If all of it is pre-chilled, then it's too cold to melt much, and doesn't pick up enough water.
Also, in the same article, it indicated that the older original martini would have used Italian vermouth, or rather, sweet red vermouth. The French are the ones who began using the dry white vermouth instead, which is a dry martini; ie, a dry martini is with white vermouth, not an absence of vermouth.
The same article had an interesting experiment proposed: make three drinks simultaneously: one straight gin, one 8:1, and one the "normal" 4:1 ratio, don't use garnish, just try them each back and forth, paying attention to the difference the vermouth makes....
As I mentioned, the weather did not cooperate. However, having gathered up a selection of the essentials, did I allow my scientific research to be thrown off-track? No! I've had quite the weekend, going through several variants.
I'd spotted a copy of the NY Bartender's guide on sale at the local bookstore the weekend before last, and picked it up, almost without consciously thinking about it. I began collecting ingredients... I brought home a bottle of Gordon's gin, and Martini dry vermouth. On another evening, I brought home Stolichnaya, and sweet vermouth. Olives and a cocktail shaker. Cocktail glasses and a bottle of Lillet (had to special order it, as no one locally stocked it). Lemons and a zester.
Initially, I started with a classic Martini, gin and vermouth. Must confess, a "dry" Martini, mostly as gin, wasn't quite as lovely as I'd hoped. More vermouth, and it was much more palatable.
A vodka martini, or rather, a Kangaroo, was a lot easier to consume. I'm just not acclimated to the juniper flavor of the gin yet.
The Vesper was quite lovely, the Lillet, lemon, and vodka tamed the juniper of the gin.
The dirty martini, with four olives, I found really palatable.
I need to return to the classic martini, and need to try some different gins, I do believe I should come around with more familiarity.
I also need to broaden some of my bar's stock. I need to locate bitters and grenadine, maraschinos, I need to pick up some other gins, and I need some other liquors, like triple-sec and what-not, to widen my ability to mix some different cocktails.
I still have a lot to learn, all above is what a novice has quickly gleaned, and may or may not be factual.
Thoughts, opinions, suggestions, comments, criticisms? ? ?
An aging purist; my Martini for past 35-40 years, whenever possible.
These brands have stood the test of time:
Tanqueray London Dry Gin, launched in 1830.
Boissiere have been producing vermouth since 1854.
I can always find the gin whilst away
from my abode and not all joints
carry the vermouth, but I make do...
I buy 6 cases of gin and one of the
Boissiere from my purveyor.
appletini please - easy on the tini
I have been enjoying mocha tini lately
1oz crem de caco
.5 oz kaluah
3.5 oz of pure alcaholic bliss. you got to watch out for these. 2 of these and I am done for the night.
Have you ever had a Black Russian? This sounds like it might be quite similar? The coffee liqueur used seems to vary from place to place.
Boissiere have been producing vermouth since 1854.
Is it safe to assume you use the dry vermouth?
was chatting with a friend who is a consumate bartender regarding the Vesper. He mentioned that the Vesper originally called for Kina Lillet, which unfortunately is no longer available. Using the Lillet that we can still buy make a darn fine drink, but he recommended using either Peychaud or orange bitters, not Angostura, as a suitable replacement. Let me tell you, the difference was enough for me to run out a buy my own bottle of Peychaud's. And cheaper than Lillet. Bonus score!
Let me look around...
:drum: :deadhorse :drum:
It's most assuredly so. I can't even imagine what a case of sweet vermouth would even look like !!!
I will be sure to try your concotion. My gin is set, but my vermouth is flexible!
Actually.... Kina was dropped from the name long before Bond was written... Fleming, in having Bond specify Kina, was anachronistic. (Kina was used up into the 20's, but was dropped by the 50's.)
However, he is correct that the amount of quinine in Lillet has been reduced since 1986 when it was made less syrupy.
I agree, $20 for a bottle of Lillet, when there are a lot of other bottle of good wine for half that amount that would suffice, seems steep (heck, a decent vermouth can be had for half that again). But, the Lillet is enjoyable by itself, or in a Vesper, too....
Angostura bitters are easy to find; orange bitters aren't as easy. I've not located any locally (yet; but, I had to have Lillet ordered, too....). But, I've got an eye open....
Interesting, going back through the thread, that the term 'Vodkatini' is found objectionable...I'd always heard and used the word, although not being a Martini afficianado I've recently been concerned about offending those who are. However, I was reading my 1965 edition of the Savoy Cocktail Book and found the recipe for a Vodkatini. It's comforting to know that the terminology pre-dates my birth by quite a few years at least!
Gary Regan, the master cocktailian, has his own line of bitters as do Fee brothers. In the past I was only able to find some cheap orange bitters down south, but since Regan's and Fee's are now stocked at gourmet shops around the city, my Pegu Clubs are far better. Funny how I come across a few posts that say, 'I like to add orange bitters to my Martini.' THEY WERE IN THE ORIGINAL RECIPE!!!! Somehow, that ingredient got lost over the years.
Sorry about the objection to Vodkatini, Mojito. But just to let you know, I also object to Saleathons and Laffalypmics.