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10/7/2008

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shaken, not stirred . . . a brief

A STANDARD MARTINI DOESN’T REALLY EXIST ANYMORE. The original martini cocktail was mixed as a five-to-one ratio— made by combining 2-1/2 ounces of gin and one-half ounce of sweet or dry vermouth with ice, which was then stirred, strained, and served with an olive garnish. This mythical drink has enjoyed an explosion of renewed popularity in the last 20 years, but today’s martini recipes barely resemble the cocktail of lore. Purists cringe at the modern apple- or chocolatini, but the truth is, the ingredients, mixology, and method of serving the “perfect martini” have always been subjective matters—people seem to agree only on the ubiquitous stemmed glass.

history

The first major variation had to do with the so-called dryness of the cocktail. Exactly how much vermouth was the right amount? Winston Churchill famously chose to forgo vermouth completely.

of the martini

Film director Alfred Hitchcock’s recipe called for five parts gin and “a quick glance at the vermouth bottle” while General George Patton suggested pointing the gin bottle in the general direction of Italy (where sweet vermouth is made) while pouring. This comic attitude toward drinking raw gin was further advanced by the characters of Captains Hawkeye Pierce and Trapper John McIntyre of M*A*S*H*, whose personal still in “The Swamp” provided an endless supply of gin, while their single bottle of vermouth lasted “for the entire war.”

WRITTEN AND PHOTOGRAPHED BY Greta Messner

Another fictional character forever changed the way a martini is mixed. Bartenders insist that a cocktail shaker dulls the taste of vermouth, or that it sharpens the taste of the gin by “bruising” the liquid, releasing the aroma of the juniper from which gin is made. Either way, shaking a martini was a big no-no until secret agent James Bond famously asked for his martini “dry, shaken, not stirred.” (Of course, Bond was not ordering a gin martini at all, but a vodka concoction traditionally called a “Bradford.”) Eventually, most differences of opinion faded as the martini went out of fashion in the ’70s, which saw the end of the so-called threemartini lunch. The martini renaissance, which began in the 1990s, is still raging today, but vodka martinis have supplanted the ginbased cocktails in popularity, and today’s martini drinker very likely has a vodka-based libation in mind when he hails the bartender. The use of vodka, with its incredible versatility, has ushered in a new era of flavored beverages, whose only resemblance to the original martini is the name—and the awesomely cool glass. ) ) )

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a season APPLETINI • 1 1/2 oz. vodka • 1 1/2 oz. sour apple schnapps • dash of triple sec

Combine all ingredients. Shake with ice and strain into a chilled glass.

PUMPKIN PIE MARTINI • • • •

2 oz. vanilla vodka 2 oz. crème de cacao 1 /4 cup heavy cream 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

• ice cubes • whipped cream for garnish, optional

Fill a cocktail shaker half way with ice cubes. Add all ingredients (except whipped cream) and shake well. Strain the cocktail into two glasses. Garnish with whipped cream, if desired.

CHRISTMAS MINT MARTINI • 3 oz. vodka • 1/2 oz. dry vermouth • 6-10 fresh mint leaves or 1 tsp. peppermint schnapps

Muddle the mint leaves lightly with the back of a spoon, or use one teaspoon of peppermint schnapps. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and allow to sit for a minute. Add ice cubes, shake, and strain into chilled glass.


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of martinis OATMEAL COOKIE MARTINI • 1 oz. Bailey’s® Irish Cream • 1 oz. butterscotch schnapps • cinnamon for garnish

Shake liqueurs with ice and strain into chilled glass. Garnish with cinnamon.

SNOWSTORM MARTINI • • • •

2 oz. vodka 1 oz. white chocolate liqueur 1 oz. white crème de cacao crushed ice

Combine all ingredients and stir to chill. Serve with the crushed ice.

CHAMPAGNE MARTINI • 2 parts champagne • 1 part Grand Marnier®

Combine to serve.


Shaken ... not stirred