Drink of the Day: The Martini
May 2, 2007
Sadly, Yesterday’s Salad seems to have gotten away from its proud mixological tradition in favor of more pedestrian pursuits such as the ability to get from place to place, and fancy words associated with vampires. Also, since my only skills at alcohol are drinking the stuff and a penchant for being kicked out of the Dartmouth Club, I feel it hasn’t been my place to post recipes. But I do still read them. Today’s Times has a wonderful feature on the Martini with accompanying multimedia in the Dining In/Dining Out section. They conducted an extended martini tasting, testing Gins not in their native state but in their Sunday best. Perhaps because they were not evaluating the Gin propre, Plymouth Gin took the prize, followed by Junipero and Old Raj (over 100 proof). As the article puts it, “We discovered that while great martinis require great gins, great gins don’t necessarily make great martinis.”
The biggest surprise in the article is the claim by the mixologist that a great martini should be stirred and not shaken, as a stirred gin remains clear. As someone who has grown up in the post-Bond world (and sadly not someone who grew up in the era of unchecked British Imperialism), this almost sounds like heresy. It seems, perhaps, that even though British secret agents may have a real licence to kill, Fleming may have been mistaken in his choice of a shaken cocktail. Then again, considering that Fleming’s Bond made terrible scrambled eggs (in the Fleming story, “Bond in New York,” Bond just sort of wanders around New York bemoaning the decline of the city and, amongst little else, makes some scrambled eggs), perhaps one shouldn’t be too shaken by his mistake.