Well, I thought you’d never ask.
You don’t drink a Martini, you have a conversation with the spirits.
When I cast my mind back to my first Martini it was at an upmarket Chinese restaurant with some officer cadets who had just graduated and we were celebrating. I had just turned 21, and I had heard of the martini through popular culture, Bond movies most likely, and aspired to be a gentleman.
Drinking a martini was part of the repertoire, along with driving a sports car, dressing well, fencing, being able to cook, and the art of seduction generally. I do recall being knocked sidewards by the drink (or perhaps it was the glass) and I knew one had to man-up, so to speak,if you wanted to drink these things.
That’s where I left them for a bit until a few years back when after some shockingly bad mixing, I finally enjoyed some really well made martinis and finally I got what the fuss was about. It had nothing to do with the booze effect and everything to do with the elegance of the drink- and it was like having another personality at the table, like a very good wine.
I’d also credit Frank Moorehouse’s fine book, Martini- A Memoir, for revealing a deep philosophical appreciation of the cocktail.
It could have been Hemingway (pictured) that observed that you get different drunks from different booze (he’d know), but I also found out that if I only drank quality gin, I’d be fine the next day.
No mixing, no wine afterwards, no seediness (mostly), so I found my optimum way of drinking that worked for me in a health sense.
I also worked out why I drink, and use that to my advantage. The intention behind the act is vital in life, so I aim to ensure I’m not just knocking them back. It may be to find inspiration, or some mojo, or to putt a big fat full-spot to a working week on a Friday evening. It gave me perspective, and its intensity also ensured I was thoughtful of my drinking habits.
If you’re reading this you’ve most likely had a gin or two in your time, perhaps one of the mainstream brands like Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, Tanqueray, Gordons and the like. So like wine appreciation, you start with just a variety, say Chardonnay, and then learn to distinguish types of Chardonnay, regions, years, styles and you can then choose the right one for the right company and meal.
With Gin, we’re living in exciting times, and in the last decade there has an explosion of artisan and boutique gins- mostly in the London Dry style.
Whilst vodka was very 80’s, a resurgence of cocktail bars, jazz, shows like Mad Men saw gin come back to the mainstream.
It also offers mixologists a much better base spirit to create with as it offers a complexity of palette and flavour profile that vodka never can.
The picture above is part of the selection at the wonderful Gin Palace in Melbourne, over 250 gins from around the world. My idea of heaven really. Each of the Gins has a story, a personality and a distinct flavour.
The quality has never been better, along with the understanding of how to make a great drink also in the industry.
So your Gin Martini experience can be as unique as you are, the mood, the company (read about the Four Facets here), so within the one cocktail genre of a Martini, you can have a myriad range of experiences and pleasures that can last a lifetime.