Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ah, Yet Another 
The right mix for the USA
A Cocktail Party

Our executive committee was entertained recently by a newspaper column written by two automotive experts. They were asked if cleaning an engine’s spark plugs with vodka was a good idea, and if so what brand was recommended.

The response to the main question was an emphatic “Yes,” with the observation that any type of alcohol is good for cleaning up accumulated grime and sludge. We have known that for years. It is only logical to believe that a few well-constructed, highly alcoholic, martinis ingested at decent intervals have played a key role in keeping our chairman’s piping in excellent condition for more than five decades.

The mechanical wizards went on to recommend using expensive vodka and avoiding any of the juice and vegetable additives favored by the younger set in what they erroneously claim are martinis. The mechanics were right on the second count, but way wrong on the first.

Their error was in succumbing to what we call the “James Bond Syndrome.” Who has not heard 007 ordering up his favorite drink, a “vodka (pronounced in Bondian British something like vuwadka) martini, shaken, not stirred?” Rubbish, we say. Bond was an exemplary agent, but a total failure as a martini connoisseur.

First, vodka is a tasteless beverage favored by Russian peasants and depressed businessmen who would rather get quickly drunk to forget their woes than have their palates pleasantly tickled. Gin, on the other hand, has a unique taste associated with imperial splendor and fashionable cocktail gatherings around the world. Second, shaking a martini is premature, and thus counter-productive. An excellent martini features two small stuffed olives and a very small amount of vermouth. If you shake the gin and vermouth and pour it over the olives, much is lost. Ice is important. Drinking martinis “straight up” can be disastrous to your equilibrium.

The proper way to make an excellent martini is to fill a glass with ice, add two small olives, pour in two jiggers of gin (large if you really want to get blasted, small if you don’t) and add a dash of vermouth. Stir the liquid gently with a toothpick or swizzle stick upon which the olives are impaled. Stand or sit with a compatible person or persons, sip slowly at intervals, and enjoy the experience.

Never drink only a single martini. That will unbalance your body chemistry and ruin your disposition. Two is the correct number. Three is too many, unless you have a fervent wish for something approaching oblivion.

Two more instructions should be heeded. For the very best martinis, chill the glasses for a half hour before you do anything else. Putting them in the freezer does this nicely. If you have no room, surrounding the glasses with ice cubes or chips in an insulated container is almost as good.

Use any cheap gin and the most expensive vermouth you can find (Martini and Rossi is recommended). This is important for your economic well-being. If you have followed the other steps to successful martini making and ingesting, you will enjoy the result and save a good deal of money in the long run.



Jayhawk23 said...

Many a year has passed since I last had a martini. One memorable year in college, my roommate and I made a habit of downing several of them each evening during final week, rather than studying for finals. It was marvel enough that I still passed all my exams with good grades, but I was a liberal arts type; my roommate's achievement as a chemical engineering student was far more noteworthy, in my opinion.

I must say we did (and I still do) prefer this drink and other cocktails straight up. Fish out the ice that doesn't melt after a short shake, cover the shaker, and if time permits, put it in the freezer for a couple of hours before drinking.

Kay Dennison said...

Unfortunately, I can't drink gin -- not even in my misspent youth. I I bring the stuff, would a Rob Roy be okay? We Scots like our whisky

Dick Klade said...

Rob Roys are just dandy, Kay. And got the stuff.

Kay Dennison said...

I'll be their by eight!!!!

Kay Dennison said...

oops! there -- so much for my English major cred. LOL Can I blame it on Sarah Palin?