Friday, March 10, 2006

Cocktail of the Week - Martini

The Drying of the American Martini

In looking for this week's cocktail, I stumbled upon not 1 but 2 podcasts dedicated to cocktails. These will be poping my podcasting cherry and I'm quite excited. The first podcast is from Soused, the Society for the Orderly Uptake of Spiritously Enhanced Drinks. I look forward to hearing the discussion of the Molecular Mixology Movement. Unfortunately, the blog part of their site didn't move me toward a cocktail for this week. They did point me toward Martiniplace, where I learned 2 new things about martinis. First, I learned how to flame a twist:

Before you drop a lemon or orange twist in a cocktail as a garnish, take an extremely fresh twist and hold it about 2 to 3 inches above the glass. Light a match. Then crisply and quickly twist the twist across the flame toward the drink. If done correctly, there will be a brief but spectacular "poof" of flame and a little smoke. Immediately drop the twist into the cocktail. This adds a very subtle yet distinctive smoky aroma to the drink.

I prefer twists to olives and have seen a bartender heat the lemon rind before dropping it into one of the most memorable martinis I've had the pleasure to sip. Now, I'll have to see if I can add this little trick. Seems like I'd need 3 hands though.

The second thing I learned is that you should keep your vermouth in the fridge. I never thought about it before, but vermouth is a wine and leaving wine out for extended periods is not a good thing. In the blog post, linked above, the folks at Martiniplace suggest that the American Martini has gotten drier over time because we leave our vermouth out in the bar and it goes bad, making our martinis bad, so we keep putting less and less vermouth in to make them taste better. Hmm....

Whether that's true or not, it's an interesting theory, and I'll be putting my vermouth in the fridge from now on. I'll trust that you already know how to make a martini and forgo the recipe, but I suggest you buy some fresh vermouth, put it in the fridge when you're done, and try to flame your twist.


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