PDA

View Full Version : Martini: Calling Gary Gillman, et al...



TNbourbon
02-15-2011, 18:24
Kinda odd, really (and I admit to not surfing through ALL 23 pages of 'hits' for the word "martini" -- I leafed through the first and last several pages), but we don't seem to have a thread dedicated precisely to this ubiquitous drink.
As many here know, I'm something of a traditionalist in all things -- which carries over to beverage alcohol -- so, to me, a martini is made with gin, not vodka. That said, I can't abide olives, but love maraschino cherries. You can guess where this is headed...
I recently decided -- because of a dearth of other liquor in the house -- to assay my first martini. I used a c. 5:1 ratio Gordon's gin:dry Noilly Prat/no garnish. I liked it. Thereafter, I added some cherries, and switched to basic Seagram's gin. I still like it, but am out of gin (to be rectified during tomorrow's liquor-store shift).
So, lend me some other takes, with the proviso that I may well ignore them (but others mayn't).

snowrs
02-15-2011, 18:35
You don't like olives as a texture or as a flavor? If a whole olive doesn't strike you add olive brine to your Martini, I think it really gives it a depth. I have done Jalepenos and capers as well, then there is a Gibson with onion.

TNbourbon
02-15-2011, 18:36
You don't like olives as a texture or as a flavor?..
Flavor -- yech! :puke:
I'm okay with the cherries, even if no one else is. Plain is fine, too.

smokinjoe
02-15-2011, 18:44
Ya know, Tim, I've been havin' a hankerin' for martinis, as we've been the beneficiaries of some terrific weather here, of late. I like a good martini, sitting out in the back on a warmish late afternoon. Our buddy, Jeff Yeast, turned me on to a great addition to the standard martini...coat the glass with a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce, before pouring your mixture. Makes it savory and oh, so, delicious. :yum:

BTW, looking forward to experimenting with the Corsairs Gin in a martini. It's much more herbal than most of the junipery ones out there. A nice change of pace, and I think it will make for a good one.

snowrs
02-15-2011, 18:46
I also like No 10 with Noilly at about a 4:1 with a shake of bitters as well.

Gillman
02-15-2011, 19:20
Tim! Many thanks, first, for your generous remarks on the BOTY thread, much appreciated as were Smokeless Joe's and those of all who posted there.

Libby calls Martinis Martoonis, a nomenclature that is second nature to me now.

I agree with your approach to the Martooni except perhaps for the cherry.

Gin is a sine qua non - for me. 4:1 is about exactly right, to the vermouth of course. I find olive a good addition, the slight briny note, similar in its way to Jeff Yeast's Worcestershire addition, fits in well with the dryness of the Martooni.

However a cherry sounds interesting, I will try this before long.

Joe, Corsair makes an excellent Martini. Ask Tony, or Gary Hodder. :) We made one according to the Bond recipe of mixing mostly gin with some vodka and then some white vermouth. Actually, Bond/Fleming called for Lillet, which I couldn't find in Houston, so we used Martini white vermouth. For this one though, we agreed, or Mr. Hodder was so persuaded, that a minimal amount of vermouth won't work - you need more, something like 3:1 liquor to vermouth or even more vermouth than that.

Such was the judgment (using that term relatively) of the Faculty at Randy's that night.

Gary

ratcheer
02-16-2011, 06:14
For me, a martini is a quick and simple affair. I usually just make mine in a measuring cup! I have my olives ready in my cocktail glass. I add the gin and vermouth to the cup, add ice cubes, stir for about 30 seconds, and strain into the glass. That's it.

I prefer regular Beefeater or regular Bombay gin to the fancier types. In the no-man's-land of Alabama, I have to take whatever I can get for vermouth, but it is usually Cinzano. And I like a 4:1 or 3:1 ratio. I used to make them "bone dry" at 6:1, but I have found that more vermouth really opens up the cocktail flavors.

I drink it fairly quickly, too, so it remains cold.

Tim

imbibehour
02-16-2011, 06:52
I am not the much of a fan of martinis but can enjoy them, and as a cocktail purist I agree they should be made with Gin.

I like Plymouth, and occasionaly Bombay Saphirre (junipery). I like about a 4:1 ratio sometimes a little more, 5:1 is too dry for me and I like vermouth.

Noily Prat is what I use also, if you want to really step it up use some Dolin although Prat is fine (Dolin is a little pricey and if you're not a vermouth fan and like dry martinis then don't bother).

A suggestion I have for you is the classic garnish of lemon peel. Channel knife some peel, trim the pith. Twist over your glass and rub the rind around the rim and drop it in.

Also another thing that I have gotten from some cocktail martini fans but haven't tried...

Throw orange bitters in your martini... totally new drink.

imbibehour
02-16-2011, 07:02
The martini is probably one of the most bastardized cocktails on the planet, and there's a bit of a trend now to going back to how it was properly made.

Aside from all the crazy concoctions and vodka inspired stuff "appletini, chocotini etc..." The biggest one was the omiting and less dependence on using vermouth.

So much so that you went to a bar sometimes and saw some guy make a martini, throw a drop of vermouth in a glass, or pretend to then stupidly wave it around like some production, and the fill a drink completely with vodka. So what you got was chilled vodka, and olives.

Now people are starting to realise vermouth has a purpose in a drink and are increasing the measurements and going back to how this was properly made. Also once you open a bottle of vermouth, use it up and store it in your fridge. It's like wine, it doesn't keep once you open it, and also is why you got a lot of bad martinis with vermouth in bars. The stuff sat on the shelf for months and then would get used way past its prime and people wouldn't like it.

pepcycle
02-16-2011, 08:55
I garnish with unbruised rosemary sprig as my favorite.
I don't necessarily need a snack with a martini (olives, stuffed olives, onion, caperberry, pickled cherry tomato, pickled garlic clove) but often do.

I've fallen for Old Raj Gin that has a hint of color and flavor from Saffron.

If shaking "cracks" the gin, I like mine shattered with slivers of ice, served up.

Rimming the glass with various citrus adds an interesting note.

I also add less than a drop of Worcestershire to a shaker of more than one martini. ( I like the briny but not the clovey, tamarindy)

Burnt citrus peel oil sprayed over the finished cocktail is another "twist" on the twist. Lime is my preferred peel.

(see here http://www.thespir.it/articles/bartender-bootcamp/#)

Occasionally I serve them OTR, chilled in the shaker and served over a single large ice thingy (cube, ball, muffin)

I can't say that I do anything all the time,

BourbonJoe
02-16-2011, 10:24
My favorite Martini is a Bombay Sapphire made at 3 to 1 with a good dry Vermouth and 3 large olives. A splash of olive juice sometimes.
Joe :usflag:

Gillman
02-16-2011, 11:26
It's great to see all the expertise displayed here. It's true that the drink can be made quickly and simply, but attention to detail, no matter how simple or complex the recipe, does result in a superior product.

A cold Martini, however made but provided it is well-made, would be a good palate cleanser for any SB gathering.

Gary

SBOmarc
02-16-2011, 12:26
In place of olives you can try a caperberry. That is just a very large stemmed version of the caper and looks great the glass. It has a distinct flavor that you may or may not like.

I also had a button down martini that featured vermouth soaked button mushrooms, 3 to exact skewered as a garnish. Nice sub for the olive.

imbibehour
02-16-2011, 13:25
It's great to see all the expertise displayed here. It's true that the drink can be made quickly and simply, but attention to detail, no matter how simple or complex the recipe, does result in a superior product.

A cold Martini, however made but provided it is well-made, would be a good palate cleanser for any SB gathering.

Gary

One guy I know likes the way he makes his martinis. He calls it his 10-12 minute get home "ritual" of sorts.

squire
02-16-2011, 17:58
Good topic Tim, being a traditionalist here are mine:

1. Plymouth Gin, Noilly Pratt vermouth, 3/1 mixture, shaken with ice (doesn't bruise the gin), poured into a chilled martini glass (best kept in the freezer ready for use) and a green olive garnish.

2. Beefeater Gin, Noilly Pratt, same proportions and prepared as above with lemon peel twist rubbed on the rim and snapped into the glass.

3. Any gin, any white vermouth, made as above and poured into a glass prepared by swirling a small amount of other liquor or liqueur.

TNbourbon
02-16-2011, 22:09
Wow, lots of great responses (many thanks, Gary and others) and food for drink (or, is it thought?:skep:)
Anyway, I'm a slow learner, so tonight, I simply learned that I didn't find the Nieuw Amsterdam/M&R dry vermouth combo superior to Gordon's/Noilly Prat.
I DID swish some Worstecjes'ewoprer (or whatever) sauce around, and it's added some interest -- but I don't think I think I liked it 'better'. Like I said, I'm a traditionalist, and it may be innate, not acquired.
Just let me get some really good ingredients, and watch me go...:grin:

ratcheer
02-17-2011, 06:15
Just let me get some really good ingredients, and watch me go...:grin:

I would like to see that, Tim.

Tim

cowdery
02-18-2011, 16:20
I like a 4:1 ratio, but 5:1 is okay too. I do like to mess around with different gins and have New Amsterdam on the bar now. Noilly is my vermouth of choice. I've been enjoying jalepeno-stuffed olives lately, but garnish-free is okay too. A friend of mine from years ago called martinis "crystal num nums." I only have them up and very cold.

I came up in the era when, for some reason I've never understood, people played all kinds of games with calling gin on the rocks a very dry martini. Why they couldn't just order gin on the rocks is beyond me. There were a million jokes, "he pours the gin in the glass and whispers the word 'vermouth.'" That sort of thing.

imbibehour
02-18-2011, 16:45
I came up in the era when, for some reason I've never understood, people played all kinds of games with calling gin on the rocks a very dry martini. Why they couldn't just order gin on the rocks is beyond me. There were a million jokes, "he pours the gin in the glass and whispers the word 'vermouth.'" That sort of thing.

The classic version on this story is of course my favorite about Winston Churchill. He would enjoy his martinis in the ratio thusly:

Grab a bottle of gin. Place a bottle of French Vermouth on the table in eyesight and glance at it.

Make drink.

Yes I am paraphrasing but you get the idea ;)

smokinjoe
02-18-2011, 16:58
The classic version on this story is of course my favorite about Winston Churchill. He would enjoy his martinis in the ratio thusly:

Grab a bottle of gin. Place a bottle of French Vermouth on the table in eyesight and glance at it.

Make drink.

Yes I am paraphrasing but you get the idea ;)

:D Same here. I've heard a similar story...Again paraphrasing, after pouring the gin in the glass, Churchill turned to face in the direction of France...nodded his head...and drank. Not to get off topic here, but, Churchill is one of those people I'd really like to go back in time, and be a fly on the wall.

jasonh
03-01-2011, 20:42
I think the original recipe for a martini is 2:1 (Maybe 3:1, going off memory here) with a dash of orange bitters and a twist of lemon peel. I don't know when people started adding olives, or personally, why.

Martinis used to be one of those drinks I always wanted to like but just couldn't quite warm up to. Found out it was due to bad vermouth primarily, and secondarily that olives shouldn't go in drinks. M&R Rosso is pretty good stuff, and what I prefer for manhattans if I can't find punt e mes, but M&R dry sucks balls. Noilly Prat is good stuff though. Adding a dash of orange bitters and lemon peel instead of going with an olive totally changes the drink as well. I find now that instead of going easy on the vermouth, I prefer a 3:1 ratio.

One should keep in mind that the flavor profile of gin and vermouth has changed over the years. I think that might explain to some degree why people used to like more vermouth in their drink back before prohibition than people do today.

squire
03-02-2011, 10:21
Taste do change (evolve?) generationally. The drinks served at a cocktail party during my parent's time are different from what would be offered now.

On the other hand we may be seeing a broader training and education among bartenders now than in the last decade or so.

Parkersback
03-02-2011, 13:00
Here's a cool little essay about martinis that comes from a collection of essays from The New Yorker about food and drink:

http://books.google.com/books?id=AOoS04nJ52UC&pg=PA339&lpg=PA339&dq=roger+angell+martini&source=bl&ots=mNet6OY0JP&sig=MPoRd9tM7-Cw9Xv-FTTLz8nJgFg&hl=en&ei=qa9uTaWKCsH98Aa8_O2bBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=roger%20angell%20martini&f=false

ratcheer
03-02-2011, 13:51
Here's a cool little essay about martinis that comes from a collection of essays from The New Yorker about food and drink:

http://books.google.com/books?id=AOoS04nJ52UC&pg=PA339&lpg=PA339&dq=roger+angell+martini&source=bl&ots=mNet6OY0JP&sig=MPoRd9tM7-Cw9Xv-FTTLz8nJgFg&hl=en&ei=qa9uTaWKCsH98Aa8_O2bBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&ved=0CCoQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=roger%20angell%20martini&f=false

Well, dern. I was thoroughly enjoying that when it ended somewhere in the middle.

For those who may not be aware, Roger Angell was one of the premier writers of the mid-20th century.

Tim

craigthom
03-03-2011, 07:06
Well, dern. I was thoroughly enjoying that when it ended somewhere in the middle.

For those who may not be aware, Roger Angell was one of the premier writers of the mid-20th century.

Tim

I was sorry it ended, too. I wanted to keep reading.

One sentence bothered me a little, though: "They are thinking Myrna Loy, they are thinking Nora Charles and Eva Gardner..."

It struck me as odd that he listed an actress, a role that actress played, and different actress. They don't really go together. Maybe "The are thinking Myrna Loy as Nora Charles; they are thinking Eva Gardner..." would have worked.

That's a small thing, though.

SBOmarc
03-03-2011, 08:20
After reading the essay, I am using maximum self control in order to resist a Martini at 11:20 AM EST.

jcg9779
03-05-2011, 17:44
We made one according to the Bond recipe of mixing mostly gin with some vodka and then some white vermouth. Actually, Bond/Fleming called for Lillet, which I couldn't find in Houston, so we used Martini white vermouth. For this one though, we agreed, or Mr. Hodder was so persuaded, that a minimal amount of vermouth won't work - you need more, something like 3:1 liquor to vermouth or even more vermouth than that.

Gary

Gary, I'm a big fan of the Bond martini. Bond requests it with Kina Lillet, which is no longer made. I substitute Lillet Blanc (which I always keep on hand for this drink) and it can be easily found in Atlanta. Kina Lillet had some bitterness to it and the Lillet Blanc has more sweetness.

I think I might be done with bourbon for the night as I just grabbed my cocktail shaker...:grin:

Jack

Gillman
03-06-2011, 07:04
Thanks for that, and doing a little online perambulating, came across this account of the drink:

http://www.tjbd.co.uk/content/drink/kina-lillet.htm

It suggests Fleming may have made an error and intended all along to use Lillet Dry but forgot that the name changed for the version used to mix with gin.

I think I can get Lillet here and may try this tonight. Quinine can be found via tonic water, and perhaps adding some to a Martini might make it closer to the original drink if Ian Fleming did intend Kina Lillet to be the addition. I'd let it get flat first since one thing a Martini shouldn't have is bubbles.

Gary

squire
03-06-2011, 11:15
I haven't tried the Vesper because I haven't come across any Lillet. I have tried drinks that match the rest of the description being very large, very strong and very cold.

imbibehour
03-06-2011, 13:27
From Ted Haigh aka Dr. Cocktail's book Vintage spirits & Forgotten Cocktails.

The Vesper p. 122-123

"Felming's favorite bartender created the drink, and it was a work of genius. Just enough vodka to smooth out the sharpness of the gin, and in lieu of the gamey flavor of vermouth, he used a light quinquina (pronounced ken-kenna) - a quinine, spice, fruit and spirit-fortified wine - by the name of Kina (think Quina) Lillet. This aperitif was smoother, slightly sweeter and more flavorful than most dry vermouths and stands up admirably to the slightly tamed down gin. A lemon twist spraying its oil onto the surface of the drink made it complete. Fleming liked it so much he had James Bond recite the entire recipe to a bartender at the Casino Royale."

TNbourbon
03-06-2011, 18:51
So, I guess the martini's pretty popular then, huh?:cool:
Really, I didn't 'troll' this thread -- just start it in order to watch everyone else take part! But, I've not experimented enough to come to any final conclusions about my martini explorations (though I'm nonetheless gratified to see the interest others have taken in the subject, too).
So far, I can state these general sentiments:

I like martinis
I'll stick with the cherries over olives, or garnish with nothing at all
my favorite combo so far has been (happily, inexpensive) Seagram's lime gin with Martini & Rossi dry vermouth, about 3.5:1 (but, I haven't tried the lime with Noilly Prat or other vermouth yet, so that's subject to immediate change upon, well, change...). The lime, of course, leads me to think I'll eventually experiment with lime garnish -- but the lime gin is a good 'cheat'
I'm on the lookout for Lillet (enjoyed the Fleming/Bond discussions); I'm pretty sure I've seen it somewhere around, but exactly where may be months in discovery:skep:

Please keep the ideas rolling...

squire
03-06-2011, 19:00
Any prize worth pursuing Tim is, well, worth pursuing.

TNbourbon
03-06-2011, 19:15
As for the much-welcomed literary bent this thread has undertaken, I'll add a couple of apropos examples I've run across recently:

From Ogden Nash, whom I admire for demonstrating humor need not be complex to be entertaining:

"There is something about a Martini,
A tingle remarkably pleasant;
A yellow, a mellow Martini;
I wish I had one at present.
There is something about a Martini,
Ere the dining and dancing begin,
And to tell you the truth,
It is not the vermouth--
I think that perhaps it's the gin."

And the inimitable Dorothy Parker:

"I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under the host."

EDIT: Ah, I see that the Nash verse is part of Roger Angell's essay, which I just now got around to reading. See, great minds, and all that rot...
By the way, my most frequent association with Angell's writing was through our shared birthright of baseball, about which he wrote some of the best prose of the late 20th Century.

squire
03-06-2011, 19:46
Tim both of those are in the book Martini which I pulled out for some bedtime reading when you started this thread.

Gillman
03-07-2011, 09:46
And so the Martini personified might have crooned, "They call me mellow yellow". Was Donovan an admirer of Ogden Nash? If so this would be an inversion of the usual rock and roll disdain for established drinks or anything. Pete Townshend wrote, "Sub-sti-tute my Coke for gin", meaning the soft drink not the drug although I think the lyric was later misunderstood by some.

Why was Nash's Martini yellow though? Because a lot of gin was, at the time. Seagram's was the exemplar. I think that type is still available, it was until about 20 years ago, then Seagram substituted (sorry) a white gin, but I think later it brought the mellow yellow back. (It was yeller from a bit of barrel aging).

Gary

ratcheer
03-07-2011, 12:51
I haven't had any in two or three years, but I thought Seagram's gin was still yellow.

Tim

Gillman
03-07-2011, 12:54
I think it is, but as I recall, there was a time when it wasn't.

Gary

craigthom
03-07-2011, 14:59
And I think it's made and aged at LDI, isn't it?

We just can't get enough LDI these days.

Edit: it says Lawrenceburg in this picture (http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://liquorama.biz/images/27.jpg&imgrefurl=http://liquorama.biz/seagrams-gin-175-ltr-p-805.html&usg=__XOZC6sB3k2qgBv4ZlPy7uajqJs4=&h=504&w=432&sz=207&hl=en&start=0&sig2=leTldyfFpOOvQJLFdBJXcg&zoom=1&tbnid=9lsH4GlQOQWg7M:&tbnh=135&tbnw=116&ei=6GN1TdXQF9GatwfjxOSvDA&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dseagram%2527s%2Bgin%26um%3D1%26hl%3De n%26safe%3Doff%26biw%3D1115%26bih%3D619%26tbs%3Dis ch:1&um=1&itbs=1&iact=hc&vpx=646&vpy=104&dur=1067&hovh=243&hovw=208&tx=123&ty=174&oei=6GN1TdXQF9GatwfjxOSvDA&page=1&ndsp=23&ved=1t:429,r:5,s:0), but it's also clear, not yellow.

Gillman
03-07-2011, 15:37
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eswQl-hcvU0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLFGnP_EPpQ&feature=fvwrel

For Tim S.

Gary

Gillman
03-07-2011, 15:58
http://www.slashfood.com/2008/02/27/gin-notes-seagrams-distillers-reserve-gin/

This account of a Distiller's Reserve version refers to a pale yellow color; maybe only this iteration has it, today.

Gary

TNbourbon
03-12-2011, 20:23
Was tickled to find Lillet locally today (in two versions, marked identically. I guess they figure we're bright enough to establish which is Lillet blanc. I think I was...) -- only to be disappointed to discover, when reviewing this thread, that Fleming used vodka, too. Vodka! How dare he?! I NEVER keep vodka in the house (except when Gary leaves me some:grin:)!
So, rather than surrender, I just split the vodka portion between the gin and Lillet. I realized later I should, rather, have split it proportionally -- making something like 3/4 part Lillet and 3-3/4 part gin -- but I wasn't that astute in my disappointment.
Still, stirred with an ice cube thereafter dropped in the glass -- a la 'Ay-ed' :lol: (you miss the South, really, don't you?!) -- it's pretty darned good!

TNbourbon
03-12-2011, 20:48
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eswQl-hcvU0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLFGnP_EPpQ&feature=fvwrel

For Tim S.

Gary
Gary, sometimes my life is an enigma even to me: the Seventies spanned my high school and college years, and yet I never was able to muster much (any?) passion for them, even while I was living it. Little has changed since. Absent the 'rock opera', "Tommy", I might never have heard of The Who.
On the other hand, my 4-year-older brother once upon a time had a 2-track (yes, TWO-track, with four songs per tape), hand-held tape player, and "Mellow Yellow" was featured on his Donovan tracks. I've heard it posited that he was singing about smoked banana skins, female sexual stimulating devices, or James Joyce-referenced buttocks (see pg. 719 of the first American version), but this is my first exposure to the suggestion -- however tongue-in-cheek -- that it might have been gin. Makes as good sense as the others, frankly...
Interesting that Paul McCartney reputedly played the bass (but did NOT do vocals, as commonly believed) on these tracks, and that Donovan -- a friendly acquaintance to the Beatles -- played a bit part in writing the song, "Yellow Submarine" (also from 1966), contributing the "sky of blue, and sea of green" line.

Gillman
03-13-2011, 07:07
Thanks Tim! Donovan, whose real name is Donovan Leitch, is a talented singer-songwriter from Scotland. He still tours and performs his famous songs, of which Mellow Yellow is just one. I never thought much about the lyrics, it just seemed a typically spacey 1960's word play of some kind, but loved the music. The bassist was John Paul Jones, later famous as bass player for Led Zeppelin. Paul McCartney did play some bass on the album on which Mellow Yellow appeared I think, but not that song. The bass helped make the song what it is.

Tim, how were those two kinds of Lillet identified and which did you get? Does this mean the original version is again available?

Gary

TNbourbon
03-13-2011, 15:37
...Tim, how were those two kinds of Lillet identified and which did you get? Does this mean the original version is again available?

Gary
11953
Gary, this is the label like that on the bottle I purchased, and on the bottle of 'rouge' beside it -- but neither bottle (nor label) had any designation, a la 'blanc', 'rouge', et al, on it.
I bought the yellow wine, figuring it to be the 'dry', the red the 'sweet'. As I noted earlier, I guess they just figure we ought to be smart enough to figure it out.

Gillman
03-13-2011, 17:34
Okay thanks, you definitely bought the right one for the Martini!

Gary

craigthom
03-13-2011, 20:07
How does the "new old" Noilly Prat work in a martini? I haven't needed a bottle since they changed.

ratcheer
03-14-2011, 06:49
How does the "new old" Noilly Prat work in a martini? I haven't needed a bottle since they changed.

From everything I recall about the change, the new formula will be sweeter and more floral. The old one was specially formulated for the 20th century American demand for the dry martini - "dry" meaning not sweet. The new one is aimed at the aperitif wine market.

Tim

squire
03-15-2011, 18:14
I can't keep up with all these changes. At least Bourbon tastes the same for the most part.