The Martini: Traditional 2-to-1 (p. 117)

Chris doesn’t like martinis. This confuses and hurts me, and is a schism in an otherwise near perfect marriage. Old Mr. Boston, though, is a man after my own heart. He likes martinis so much he devoted two pages to their preparation, but we disagree strongly on how to make a perfect one. He does, however, have NINE varieties. Poor Chris will have to, at least, sip each one. Maybe he’ll finally see the light. 20170717_195623

Here’s this recipe as written:

  • 1 1/2 oz. Old Mr. Boston Dry Gin
  • 3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth

Serve with an olive. 

Old Mr. B also writes a long paragraph on martini mixing. The key points are:

  • Chill your glass to the point of frost
  • Use cracked (not crushed) ice; it should be dry and hard
  • Measure out the exact ingredients for the number of drinks required (gin should go in first and “‘smoke’ as it settles over the cold ice”)
  • Strain at once into frosty glass

He also provides instructions for martinis on ice in Old-Fashioned glasses. I often sneak some ice into mine, so I like this idea.

Notes on prep: As we learned yesterday, a booze forward cocktail needs good booze. Chris did me a solid and bought me Hendricks, which is my favorite gin. It has notes of cucumber,  and advertises “11 botanicals.” I can’t taste all of them individually, but it’s herbacious and stands on its own quite nicely. The Martini & Rossi Dry Vermouth will have to stand in until I get home from vacation with a bottle of Channing Daughters’ superior stuff. I used some old Goya green olives. Someday, maybe, I’ll get my shit together and stuff some decent olives with blue cheese like the master bartender Jukebox Jodi did at Motor City back in the day. I shook and didn’t stir. I’ve had the stirred variety, and it’s never cold enough. Martinis must be ICE COLD to be amazing. Also, I like my martinis dirty as hell, but I listened to Old Mr. B. and left out the olive brine… at least to taste it first. We don’t have glass martini glasses… but we do have a classy plastic one, purchased years ago from Target’s brilliant Halloween collection. I chilled it for about an hour in the freezer. You can totally cheat and just put a bunch of ice in the glass for a few minutes before prepping.

20170717_195847Liz’s Take: I’ve had two perfect martinis. Jodi’s at Motor City (those blue cheese olives are MAGIC) and the ones at the late, great Mercer Kitchen. The Mercer added cucumber and either mint or basil, and I’ve never been able to get the metric quite right. Anyway, this martini is pretty solid. I’ve been using Old Mr. B’s recipe to make these at home since I was old enough to buy myself gin. I sip them faster than I should and always get drunker than I intend, so I only make these a few times a year. I’m eager to try some of the other recipes, since they seem a little less heavy.  After dutifully taking a few sips of this martini clean, I wanted to dirty it up. I like the salty, vinegary bite the brine adds. Again, better olives might make this an even better drink.

Chris’s Take: (Liz note– don’t listen to him. He’s just wrong about these.) Martinis are gross. They taste like battery acid and almost always end in a bad time. That being said, I wholeheartedly endorse blue cheese stuffed olives.

Our Ratings:

Prep:  Easy

Ingredient Accessibility: Easy

Price: Expensive-ish. There’s no cheap mixers filling this one out! 750 mL of Hendricks runs us $32 in Brooklyn, and you shouldn’t really make this with your mixing gin. Sometimes Plymouth or Bombay are cheaper- you can try those. But don’t make this with the Seagram’s. That’s well stuff- mix it with tonic.

Taste: Briney, bracing, herbacious.

Final VerdictLiz would order this at most bars with a decent gin selection before an enormous celebratory meal or at the end of a special night (the kind where we’re taking a cab home, and can fall into bed almost immediately). Bartenders almost always can make these competently, and to your specifications. Liz always asks for hers with gin, shaken and dirty. She’ll have to try this vodka crap, but she’s dubious. Chris never asks for them because they’re gross.


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