Friday, December 16, 2005

The Martians Are Coming...

Originally posted by Scott.
“I enjoy a Martini,

Two at the most.

Three, I’m under the table.

Four, I’m under the host.”


I forget who said that, but I’ve seen it happen.

There seems to be a trend that’s been happening over the last few years by which Martinis are seen as a cool and trendy thing to drink. I think this is a good thing.

Why? Because I likes me some Martinis.

And not just because Martinis are a socially acceptable way to drink 2 shots of gin or vodka, without any stigma being attached. Don’t know what I mean? Think about it for a while. If you order a Martini you are viewed as classy and sophisticated. If you order a double vodka straight up, you are viewed as an alcoholic.

It's harsh but true.

Actually, I think that the glasswear goes someway to perpetuating this. The ability to handle a drink in a glass as awkwardly shaped as a Martini glass does give you a certian number of style points. If you can spend all evening drinking Martinis and still handle your booze - and by that I not only mean the ability to still be vertical, but also the ability to not spill your drink every time you move it - you have a certain amount of class. Spilling your drink each time you move it because you're so drunk is not good. It means you can't handle your liquor and means martinis are probably not for you. Quit now, and stick to something lighter. Peach schnapps perhaps.

Anyway, as I said, I like Martinis. I like them because of the way they taste. And by that, I mean that if they are made well, they taste like water.

Of course, from that comment you can tell I am something of a philistine. I drink bone dry Vodka Martinis with a twist. Ketel One by choice, but I’ve been known to stray. Now, there is logic behind this choice. First, I don’t like drinks which taste like Christmas trees, so tend to stay clear of Gin. Second, if I wanted a snack I’d order one, so keep your damn olives out of my vodka, ok? Finally, and this is important, people who drink Dirty Martinis are out of their tiny minds. And drinking more sea water is only going to make it worse.

This is going to be a rant about “Fruitinis”, but let me take a moment to clear something up. A “Dry Martini” is not made more “dry” by adding more dry vermouth. I swear I’m going to do serious injury to the next person who pours a shot of vermouth into my Martini when I ask for a Dry Martini.

Let me give some history.

The original Martinis were made with English dry gin. That’s where the “dry” comes from. Got it? Good. Once you understand that and you understand that when you pour more vermouth in, even dry vermouth, there is less of what makes it "dry". Winston Churchill said it right when he explained how much vermouth to use. He reckoned that if you let sunlight pass through the bottle of vermouth into the glass, then that is about the right amount. If your bar has no sunlight, wave the bottle over the shaker like some sort of voodoo charm (just long enough to scare the alcohol), then put the bottle away.

A place for everything and everything in its place. The place for the bloody vermouth is in its bloody bottle, ok?

Anyway, Fruitinis.

As I said, I’m a something of a philistine, I drink vodka martinis with a twist. But I’m snobbish enough to raise an eyebrow at all the “fruitini’s” that are sold in bars. I get that you can do wonderful things with alcohol, and it’s fun to play with. I also understand that fruitinis give an extra avenue of drinks to those who find the classic Martini too strong. and that’s great. But I’m not sure that “fruitinis" are Martini’s. And I’m definitely not convinced that drinking “Fruitini’s” makes you a Martini drinker. Especially if you can’t stomach a classic martini because “It’s too strong.”

I can understand the Cosmopolitan. But it doesn’t sell itself as a Martini. What makes me pause are drinks like the Apple Martini; the Pineapple Martini; the Kiwi Martini (who the hell thought that up?). I mean, I’m sure they’re good, but are they really Martini’s?

I’m not sure what exactly defines a Martini. It certainly goes beyond pouring your drink into a really awkwardly shaped glass. (I’ll leave my diatribe about bars and their stupidly shaped Martini glasses for another time, suffice to say if it isn’t straight stemmed and clear, it’s a gimmick. And if you have to use a gimmick to sell your drinks, go back to school and learn how to make better a better drink.) For me, and please realize I sat and thought about this definition for at least 30 seconds before writing it down, a Martini is a drink containing predominately gin or vodka, plus whatever you decided to water down your perfectly good liquor with, shaken or stirred and poured into your glass.

And it should be clear.

Now, I know that opens me up to clever questions such as “Whether vodka and coke would be a Martini”, but my witty come-back to that is, “Bite me!” My main point was to say it Martinis should be clear.

Which brings me nicely to “Chocolate Martinis”.

Now I like Chocolate Martini’s. Alcoholic Chocolate. What’s not to like? But the thing is, what most bars serve as Chocolate Martini’s are, in my opinion, no more Martini’s than a glass of Bailey’s Irish Liqueur. Which is frequently what they are. Just because you pour your concoction of Vodka, Kalhua and Godiva liqueur into a Martini glass doesn’t make it a Martini. Its still and Orgasm, and belongs over ice in a highball glass. Probably with a little umbrella and a cherry.

You want a Chocolate Martini, knock yourself out, but keep away from all the cream based drink. Unless, and I’m spitballing here, you use it as a float on top of your drink.

No. Actually, thinking about it, just keep the creamy drinks out of the Martini glass.


Anyway. I’ve said it before, I’m an equal opportunity drinker. I guess if you like what you’re drinking, drink it, and ignore me. But don’t proudly proclaim yourself a Martini Drinker because you can drink twelve of the Strawberry Watermelon Martini your local hostelry serves in an evening without feeling a thing. Sure, they go down as though they were water. With all the fruit juice in them, they probably are, or at least might as well be. For my money, if you can’t drink the classic martini, whether you choose gin or vodka, you are a cocktail drinker, but not really a martini drinker.

However, to show that I am actually a nice person, who does more than just criticize others, here’s a recipe for a Chocolate Martini that I consider a Martini (albeit not one that makes you a Martini drinker. But at least it’s clear.) Try it before you complain that it’s not right. It is right, and it’s actually very good. Chocolatey, but you can still taste the vodka, and it isn’t too sweet.

And best of all, it’s clear.



2 ounces vodka

1 ounce White Crème de Cacao (that’s the clear one)

Crème de Cacao and chocolate powder to rim glass

Chocolate chip, cherry or strawberry as garnish

Pour all liquid into shaker filled with ice. Shake, or stir until desired temperature is reached.

Put a Chocolate rim on the glass. (Place glass upside down on a little Crème de cacao, to moisten rim. Place into a saucer of chocolate powder to coat rim.)

Pour liquid into glass, be careful not to hit the pretty chocolate rim.

Place chocolate chip or strawberry in glass or on rim, according to artistic desire.

Be prepared never to drink a creamy chocolate martini again.


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