Adventures in Martinis

      No Comments on Adventures in Martinis

I’m changing up the stuff I write for the site to find stuff I’m more interested in.

The wife and I were out having dinner at a nicer place with a great bar a few weeks ago. I decided, on a whim, to try one of their vodka martinis. The one I got was sufficiently dirty, with a few olives. It was great, but given the cost, I figured I could reproduce it at home much cheaper. Plus, hey, it’s time to learn to make a martini. With that in mind, this weekend I went out and got a simple shaker, some olives, and the following ingredients: Vermouth, vodka, and gin. Being as how I’ve not drank much other than Scotch I tried to spend as little as possible while still maintaining quality.

My first experiment was replicating the vodka martini: Three parts vodka, one part vermouth, shaken with ice, garnished with olives. That was… slightly unpleasant and not nearly as cloudy as what I expected. It turns out, you need to add some of the brine from the olives to the mix.

Simple enough: I poured the entire contents into the mixer again (after discarding the water from melting ice), added some brine, and re-shook. Now that was a nice martini. Unfortunately, I didn’t measure out the brine. Sunday night I tried it again and put far, far too much into the mixer. The result was unpleasant. It tasted like I’d strained my vodka through seawater.

Then, I tried a gin martini. Same ratios, no brine, and it was a good martini. The olives add a nice touch to it. 3:1 seems about right.

Finally, I tried the James Bond Vesper, slightly variated to work with the brands I’d bought: 3 parts gin, 1 part vodka, a half part vermouth. Shaken up with ice until well and cold. Then garnished with a long, thin lemon peel. I cut the length of the lemon from end to end, so it may not have been as long as the kind Bond had in mind.

But it was damned good! So good, in fact, I made another one Saturday night, and tried to make a make-shift one at a friend’s house over the weekend. I’ve never been much for vodka or gin, but this combination is great. The lemon peel adds something it’d otherwise be missing.

Not going to replace Scotch as my favorite alcoholic beverage, but it’s nice to have some variety. Also, given the amounts of vodka, gin, and vermouth, I can make quite a few of these before running out of ingredients. Right now it looks like lemon peels and gin are going to be my limiting factor.

Not bad, given the costs:
– I think the vermouth was $10ish.
– The gin, New Amsterdam, was around $15ish.
– The vodka, Absolut, was under $20.
And it doesn’t look like I’ve made a dent in any of the bottles. I believe only the vermouth will go bad, which is kind of a downer since it’s the one used the least in the mix.

The alcohol content is going to be much less than that of the original Vesper, due to the fact the vodka and gin I selected are both 40% by volume. Also, vermouth has changed since the 50s. But still — it’s a nice drink. I still kind of like the dirty vodka martini, too.