Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Martini

Ok, the very last request. This one came in late and in secret from Teri. Actually, there's nothing covert about it...she just missed the post request I had originally used to get them and sent me an email request. The subject? The Martini...


Unless you are a monk that lives here you would know that a martini is an alcohol cocktail that is made from either gin or vodka and contains some kind of vermouth. See, already we need a definitions section:

Cocktail – Well now; mine certainly never had a tail. No, bring your mind out of the gutter people; I’m referring to the fowl, not anatomy. Not that I’ve owned a fowl though. A cocktail is simply a mixed drink using alcohol.

Vermouth – No, this isn’t a Russian referring to their mouth. This is a special fortified wine that can be sweet or not. I have no idea why they came up with this. Apparently the recipes are closely guarded. Think Coca-Cola or Kentucky Fried Chicken…

The drink goes back to the just after the Civil war and was primarily a gin concoction that contained a cherry. It became popular with celebrities of all kinds and the cherry made way for the olive later on.

Probably the most famous association to a martini was James Bond’s vodka martini “shaken, not stirred”. Of course, Bond was a bit more ruthless than many of the movies give him credit. He was actually misquoted. He was really speaking to a fellow agent in regards to an adversary: “Would ya drag Martini on the rocks until he’s shaken, understand?” to which the slightly hard of hearing bartender then made him his famous drink.

As to shaken vs stirred, supposedly adding air bubbles from shaking makes this a more healthy drink. That’s a little like putting whole wheat in a twinkie and calling it more healthy. But I digress…

Martini’s were popular with high society and then ultimately became a drink of choice for business people having lunch hence the “3 martini lunch”. But by the 70s people were doing crazy things like drinking Annie Greenspring and Wine Coolers and their popularity waned.

Switching more to vodka and then introducing various other ingredients brought the drink back into popularity in the late 1980s and it’s been that way ever since. Not everyone would agree with all the novelties the martini drink is being used for though.

There are a bazillion names for various martini concoctions out there. It seems that every drink must have a fancy name. Somewhere along the way we went from “Whiskey” to “Sex on the Beach”. I think back in the old west the only place you could order Sex on the Beach would be a brothel on the California coast!

I don’t really know where the concoctions of martini varieties will end. I’m sure somewhere you can get a vodka martini with prune juice and a baby dill pickle stuck in it! And that is just wrong!

Now a dirty martini might sound either like they didn’t take the time to wash out the glass it came in or they’ve added something I don’t even want to mention to the mixture but in reality it is simply put an olive brine either in place of the vermouth. Now I have no idea why you’d want an olive brine but there you have it. I guess given enough of any drink I’d probably start to see the logic of using a brine…

Perhaps the other most famous reference to martinis come from MASH. That’s what Hawkeye and Trapper John were making in their tent. Well; other than the nurses that is…

Yes, the martini will probably always be one of the most recognized and popular drinks out there.

28 comments:

Sunshine said...

I love me some martinis. The cappucino martinis at Red Square in Vegas are to die for.

However, when I want to be a cheap date I'll order a fuzzy navel every time. It's old school but I like it.

PracticallyJoe said...

How about a Saketini
Mix gin, sake and orange curacao.
Shake - rattle- and roll!
Sock-it-to-me Saketini!

VE said...

sunshine - Sometimes you want to be a cheap date? Oh, and I have a fuzzy navel but I rarely drink from it...

I've heard this is the latest popular concoction. I've been to Japan and can say from experience, too much sake make one feel yucky!

Kanrei said...

As a nondrinker let me say thanks for the info. I honestly did not know exactly what was in a martini. My only reference was, as you pointed out, James Bond. I come for the laughs, but stay for the edumication

RED MOJO said...

I like martinis, but I'm going through a mojito phase right now.

cathouse teri said...

Now ya made me want to go out and order a martini! And I always say, I like 'em like I like my men! Strong and dirty! Very dirty. As for shaken, yeah, I'll take it shaken, but I prefer to have it served to me by a (tall!) sexy man who is wearing nothing but chaps. That's where we get the stirring... in my loins.

HeyJoe said...

Several years ago I worked for a man who was very old school. We used to have drinks at lunch every day and spent many an afternoon seeking out the "perfect" martini.

My head still hurts.

HeyJoe said...

Oh, and here's a tip for the bartenders out there. When someone orders a martini, unless they specify a VODKA martini then just make it with gin. Is not a traditional martini made with gin? Why do you ask vodka or gin?

cathouse teri said...

Actually, when I order a martini, the bartenders now almost always assume I mean vodka. They ask if I have a preference on which kind of vodka (which, of course, I do). So I believe it's kinda flipped.

Kurt said...

I avoid the liquor myself. I prefer wine.

VE said...

kan - Glad I could be of some education. I'm constantly amazed at obvious stuff I don't know too.

red mojo - I went through one of those last summer. Mojito's in the Dominican Republic...aaah.

teri - Ha ha. I'm always out on the town wearing nothing but chaps...

heyjoe - Old school martinis would be gin. They use vodka more now because vodka is a nuetral taste alcohol and it allows for more types of fruity martini concoctions than gin does.

teri - You are right; they have flipped. It's for the reasons I told Joe. There is a lot of debate on what a proper old school martini is...lots of two parts this, etc. I think the recipe is personal preference; there is no right or wrong.

kurt - Wine is even good for you; in moderation. I find if I have too much wine it wipes me out. I have to drink a lot of water or I get dehydrated and end up with a splitting headache.

Megan said...

I am one of those lucky people that turns into a raving lunatic when I drink gin. Juniper berries = bad Megan.

I usually have gin at weddings. People are usually sorry they invited me.

Lori said...

I am such a puss - Give me something fruity!!

Quickroute said...

I love a martini before dinner, during dinner, after dinner and it has no effect no em soeverwhat - hic!

Serena Joy said...

I've never been a great fan of martinis, maybe because I don't like gin. That has to do with high school and a dare, but we don't want to go there. Just give me some vodka with a little tonic and I'm happy.:)

Queen Goob said...

Me no like martini; me like marBIGGIE

Queen Goob said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VE said...

lori - They have many fruity martinis now. I'm with you though, give me a nice foo foo fruity rum drink.

quickroute - Of course it doesn't have an effect on you...you're IRISH!!!

sj - We wanna hear the story, we wanna hear the story

queen goob - Now you're talking!

Bee said...

I love LOVE martinis! Oh wait, I just like the olives. I'm a Beer/Tequila kind of girl.

Jacki said...

I am not a fan of martinis, but give me anything mixed with vodka. My favorite this time of year is vodka lemonade. Yummm...

Alex L said...

Never had a martini, the thought of an olive and alcohol just makes me dry reach.

NYD said...

I jus stick to me own back yard brew.

Dont need no glass. Don't need no olives. Just need a jug and a rifle to keep the revenuers away.

colbymarshall said...

Imagine if cocktails did have tails...would they be furry tails? Rat tails? I'm intrigued...

The Offended Blogger said...

Thank you for clearing that up, I honestly had no idea what a dirty martini was.

I still prefer a cowboy cocksucker anyday. ;)

Carla said...

Happy 4th, and have another drink. Cheers.

VE said...

megan - Somehow I missed your comment reply. I had it but it's not here. Sounds like you make weddings so much more entertaining!

bee - Tequila? Now why does that not surprise me... ;)

jacki - But you can make martinis with vodka and put juices in them...and you don't even have to have the olive!

alex - Thanks for that visual. We won't be giving you any olives...

nyd - Ha ha. I wish I could keep those revenuers away from my paycheck too!

colby - Maybe fairy tails?

offended - Come on now, you thought you'd need permission from your parents to have a dirty martini, didn't you?

carla - Thanks...I think I will! I'd wish you the same, but you're Canadian...you've already had your day this year!

MJ said...

Mmmmm. Martini.

Dry, no olive, shaken please.

VE said...

mj - I always thought a dry martini was like that powdered gator aid or something. Like something you'd take camping to get toasted later on...