Monday, December 26, 2005

Holiday Science

Recently my esteemed colleague Scott posted about the popularity of faxutini’s, which brought to mind the Peppermint Martini I sampled once upon a time. It occurred to me that this would be the perfect excuse to buy myself some decent vodka (I think the only vodka I had at the time was Stolichnaya, which is fine for mixing, but not martini-ing) and a good shaker. But before I did any of this I needed a recipe. Fortunately I knew just the source: I will save singing the praises of Spec’s Liquors for another time, suffice to say they are always my first (and usually my last) stop when I am searching for something related to drinking. A search of their bartender’s guide provided the following recipe:


2.5 parts Stolichnaya
.5 parts Peppermint Schnapps
.5 parts Crème de cacao

Mix ingredients together in a shaker with ice.
Strain into a martini glass.
Garnish with a candy cane.

Shopping list in hand I headed out to Spec’s to do some damage to the old bank account and then do some more damage to the liver. When I got home with my supplies I went ahead and whipped one up using Ketel One vodka rather than Stoli. The first few sips were okay, but it was quickly apparent that something was wrong. The vodka flavor really started to come through when I was about a third of the way through the drink. I had mixed it sufficiently as I shook the drink until a fine layer of frost had accumulated on the shaker. Clearly the ratios were off a little bit. The trick with this drink is to have the peppermint schnapps be the only thing you can taste without the peppermint being over powering. I changed the ratios to:

2 parts vodka
1 part peppermint schnapps
.5 part crème de cacao

Although I wondered why the crème de cacao was included in the original recipe, I wasn’t ready to cut it out entirely as I suspect it helped cut the peppermint flavor. This mixture seemed to be just right. I drank the entire thing without ever being able to taste the vodka and while I knew I was drinking a peppermint drink, but the peppermint was not overpowering.

I think I will play with the recipe a bit more in the future, but for now I feel confident declaring victory and posting my results here. I think my next science experiment will involve putting a twist on the classic Pimm’s Cup, which has been a favorite summer drink of mine for some time.


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