Monday, July 7, 2008

Cocktail of the Week #35: Dry Martini

Hands down, this is my wife’s favorite cocktail. She’s particularly fond of stuffing blue cheese into the olives used to garnish this drink. It’s also a drink with more variations to it than any other - especially if you want to include “martinis” considered martinis only because they are served in the ubiquitous glass. I’m talking about the variations like the “lemon drop” the “chocolate martini” and even Mrs. Wit’s beloved “cosmopolitan.”

A simple recipe: some gin, some dry vermouth, and a garnish - typically an olive, but a twist of lemon is preferred by some (or the “Oliver Twist” incorporating both). There is also my favorite recipe for this drink in terms of humor value: the World’s Driest Martini.
  1. Add 1 & 2/3 oz. dry gin to shaker/glass.
  2. Pick up the bottle of dry vermouth.
  3. Put the bottle back down.
  4. Shake or stir with ice, pour into glass and garnish.
  5. Enjoy!

The truth is, I’ve always had a tempestuous relationships with martinis. A lot of it, I always suspected, had to do with the use of olives. I’m not overly fond of the fruit. I love cooking with the olive oil. I even enjoy drizzling it on bread at Italian, Greek or Middle Eastern restaurants. But the fruit itself? Ugh! I know, call me strange… I’ve tried using a twist of lemon, instead, but I did not find it improved things all that much for me.

Then we drew this card from the deck. It mentions adding a pickled onion as garnish in place of the olive makes this drink a “gibson” instead of a martini. Mrs. Wit tried the martini, I tried the gibson.


Much to my surprise, I loved it! The vinegar from the onion did something almost alchemical in nature to the gin and vermouth, for me. I even had another, that night, right after the first - not something I often do on our “Cocktail of the Week” night!

We’re counting this as two drinks, because the olive versus the onion in this classic mix make all the difference in the world in terms of overall flavor and character. These are truly two different drinks.

Two hits!

Hits: 27
Misses: 14

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