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H I G H A N D D R Y

time to run

Drown the horrible reality of
April's income tax deadline with a martini that's
as dry as your bank account.


glass built by Bob Blumer | the SURREAL gOURMET
PHOTO BY DICK KAISER

for those of you kids too young to remember, a classic martini is made from 2 ounces gin, or vodka, and a splash of dry vermouth. (These days, the word martini has been bastardized to include almost any concoction that is mixed in a shaker and strained into a martini glass.) The classic martini's dryness is defined by the amount of vermouth added. The less vermouth, the drier the drink. Serious martini drinkers are very specific about their desired degree of dryness. As a point of reference, "dry" equals approximately 1/4 ounce, "extra dry" constitutes a few drops, and when someone orders an "extra, extra dry" martini, they are essentially requesting gin or vodka straight from the bottle (just what most doctors prescribe for post-tax trauma).

Bartenders and martini aficionados often attempted to outdo each other with novel approaches in their quest to serve up the "driest" concoction possible. Here are some of the most creative methods I have observed.

  • Pour the gin or vodka in a shaker, then wave the vermouth bottle over the top (Winston Churchill made his martinis by pouring gin into a pitcher, then glancing briefly at a bottle of vermouth across the room).
  • Fill a small perfume mister with vermouth and use it to spritz a fine mist.
  • Take an empty martini glass, add a splash of vermouth. Swirl it around so that the walls of the glass are coated, then toss out the excess vermouth. Add chilled gin or vodka.

and the winner is . . .

  • Fill a shot glass with vermouth, down the shot, then breath heavily on the glass of chilled gin or vodka.


THE CLASSIC MARTINI
(Serves 2 -- because it's always best to have a shoulder to cry on)

Ingredients
4 ounces, gin or vodka
0 - 1 ounce dry vermouth
ice
pimento-stuffed olives and lemon twists.

1. Chill martini glasses in the freezer, or simply fill with ice cubes and water, and let rest for 1 minute.
2. Fill a martini shaker or any large tumbler with ice. Add gin or vodka and vermouth, and shake for 15 seconds. Some people prefer their martini stirred instead of shaken, so as not to "bruise" the gin. It is polite to humor your guest by obliging this request, but impolite to suggest a game of pick-the-bruised-gin-from-the-line-up.
3. Strain liquid into martini glass and garnish with an olive or lemon twist.
4. Repeat entire procedure as necessary.

Bottoms up!


"I like to have a martini
Two at the very most --
After three I'm under the table,
After four, I'm under my host."

-- Dorothy Parker

For another perspective on the art, history and folklore of the classic martini, I highly recommend "The Martini" by Barnaby Conrad III (Chronicle Books).
April 9, 1997


A R C H I V E S

Previous 5 articles:
Glazed Italian chicken -- pronto (04/02/97)
"Faux" Food (03/26/97)
"Big Night" Walnut Pasta (03/19/97)
Hail Caesar Salad! (03/12/97)
Flambéed Pineapple à la Mode (03/05/97)

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