Friday, October 17, 2008

The elixir of quietude


Each bartender puts his or her own twist on a martini – a drink that E.B. White once called “the elixir of quietude.”

One night at Central Station, a bartender poured a dab of vermouth in the glass and then covered it with gin that had been shaken in ice and then strained into the glass. I wouldn’t call this method incorrect, but it has a clunky, amateur quality to it.

You don’t just pour vermouth in and mix it with gin like you would with booze in other cocktails. The vermouth is simply there as a flavoring agent.

The preferred method, from what I can tell, is to pour vermouth in a martini glass, swirl it around so that the glass is thoroughly coated, and then dump it out. Strain in the icy gin and toss in an olive on a toothpick, and you’re good to go.

That’s the method the bartender at Toby & Jack’s used last night. But when it came time for my second drink, he got downright artistic. The olive was placed on the toothpick and then placed in the glass. Then the vermouth was poured in and swirled around. Both the olive and the glass were flavored before the vermouth was dumped and the gin introduced. It was a perfect martini and made me appreciate the bartender’s attention to detail.

But my martini experience is about to reach a whole new level. It turns out that I have the good fortune of dating a woman who is a veteran cocktail waitress. She can make any drink I ask for! Oh, what a lucky man I am!

When I told her last night that I had enjoyed the best martini ever at Toby & Jack’s, she corrected me – I haven’t had the best martini until I have the one she makes. Her twist is that she shakes the hell out of the gin so that there are lots of tiny ice crystals in it. That sounds refreshingly delicious.

She suggested that I purchase the ingredients and bring them to her beach house. When I come over, a martini will be awaiting me, she said. Coming from a Sicilian, this sounds like an offer I can’t refuse.



Blogger Indie said...

Congratulations, your blog wins the award for "Most Martini Photos in a Blog"!

The runners up are The Martini Diva ( and this one with a recipe for a Blood Orange Martini:

Have fun flogging Molly tonight.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Indie said...

I was a bartender too, once upon a time. I remember being taught not to "bruise the vermouth."

2:38 PM  

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