Vodka Martini


Did you know that the notorious “three-martini lunch” has its own wikipedia page with and in-depth explanation along with suggested reasons for its unfortunate demise (In case you’re curious, Jimmy Carter was partly to blame)?  Here’s a small sample:

The three-martini lunch is a term used in the United States to describe a leisurely, indulgent lunch enjoyed by businessmen or executives. It refers to a common belief that many businessmen have enough leisure time and wherewithal to consume more than one martini during the work day. Steaks or lobster are sometimes considered a staple of these lunches.

I am pretty sure I myself do not possess the wherewithal to consume three martinis during the work day, but I’d sure love to work for a company that would allow me to attempt the experiment.  Maybe someday I’ll be that lucky.  In the meantime, I will have to restrain myself to enjoying my absolute favorite alcoholic beverage during evening leisure time, in my favorite reading chair, my Ultra Lounge music collection playing out of my iDock, fat ass cat at my feet, some juicy gourmet burgers cooking up in the kitchen, and MG by my side, watching back video of his animated monkey puppet. (no, that is not a euphemism).

There is no definitive account of the invention of the martini, though it is often attributed to an American bartender named Jerry Thomas, whose book, The Bar-Tender’s Guide was the first cocktail book ever published in the United States, way back in 1863, and helped him earn the title, “Father of American Mixology.”

Thomas tended bar at the Occidental Hotel in San Francisco. The story goes that a prospector on his way to or from the town of Martinez (about 45 miles northeast of San Francisco) visited the Occidental, plopped a gold nugget on the bar and demanded a special concotion from Thomas, who served him up a combination of Old Tom Gin, vermouth, bitters, and maraschino, calling it a “Martinez” in honor of the prospector’s destination (or departure point, depending on what version you’re referencing). Here’s how the recipe for the Martinez appeared in a late 19th century edition of The Bar-Tender’s Guide:

  • Use small bar glass
  • One dash bitters
  • Two dashes Maraschino
  • One wineglass of vermouth
  • Two small lumps of ice
  • One pony of Old Tom gin
  • SHAKE up thoroughly, and strain into a large cocktail glass.
  • Put a quarter of a slice of lemon in the glass, and serve.
  • If the guest prefers it very sweet, add two dashes of gum syrup

The name, along with the recipe has of course morphed through the centuries.  The purest version of the modern-day dry martini seems to be a five-to-one mixture of gin and dry vermouth, stirred over ice in a mixing glass and then strained into a cocktail glass, garnished with an olive or lemon slice.  I steer clear of the gin because to me, a gin martini doesn’t go down nearly as smoothly as a vodka martini.  Mixed properly, it hits the tongue like ice-cold spring water with the alcoholic back kick only arriving after the swallow.

  • 1 2/3 oz. Vodka
  • 1/3 oz. Dry Vermouth

My favorite olive for the martini is one stuffed with a jalapeño.  If you are a regular reader of this site, that probably does not surprise you.  In fact, if you add a spoonful of jalapeño-infused brine from the jar before mixing, you’ll arrive at my own, spicier, revved-up version of the martini, called the Judge Green.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out one of the most enjoyable facets of martini drinking – the traditional long-stemmed martini glass.  They make every drink taste better and every drinker look more sophisticated and fun.  Don’t take my word for it.  Just count the number of neon ones you see hovering over the doorways of drinking establishments on your next drive around town!

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3 thoughts on “Vodka Martini

  1. While the hubs loves a good martini – or a bad one…. I’ve always been a Gin Gimlet fan myself….. Wonder if they’re still around….
    Here, one get get a glass of decent champagne almost anywhere, but order a martini and you’re most likely to get sweet vermouth, ice on request. At one place. the hubs explained that it was meant to be made with gin. They took it back and dutifully added a splash of gin…. reverse measurements as it were…..

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