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What is a martini?


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#1 tayker

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 06:51 AM

I understand that things "evolve," but, IMO, there are some things that don't evolve because it's pre-defined. For example, a martini started out as a gin and vermouth based drink. Granted, over time some have switched the gin to vodka. But should the ignorance of a lot of people force the drink to change? I'm of the opinion that people should be educated to the world around them, not the other way around.

Crap, there was an article from the recent Psychology Today that had a brilliant quote from a dictionary editor that I feel is appropriate. Unfortunately I don't have my mag with me.

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#2 Brian Robinson

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:09 AM

Being a traditionalist in this respect, a Martini's primary ingredients are Gin and Vermouth. If you change one of the primary ingredients, it ain't the same cocktail. If you used vodka instead of tequila, would it still be a margarita? Nope.

I will concede that if one makes it with vodka, it should be called a 'vodka martini', but that's the only permutation I'd be comfortable with.

Just because a cocktail is served in a martini glass, that doesn't make it a martini.
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#3 Lyrt

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 08:43 AM

Cultural titbit: in France, if you order a Martini, you’ll just get a sweet vermouth.

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#4 ejellest

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 09:09 AM

Well, language evolves, and with no governmental oversight committee, like they have in France, there's not much you can do about it.

To trot out an old saw, the word "cocktail" originally meant a drink composed of spirits, bitters, sugar, and water. That's it. Over time, it came to refer to just about anything served at a bar that wasn't wine, beer, or straight spirits.

For a while it seemed like the term "martini" was going to replace the term "cocktail" as a generic term for just about any mixed drink served in a cocktail glass at a bar.

Maybe I'm just being optimistic, but it seems like the pendulum is maybe swinging away from that turn of events. I still see a lot of "Martini Menus" in restaurants, but less and less among bartenders I'm seeing such and such mixed drink being referred to as a "Martini".

Anyway, to me, a Martini is: Dry Gin, Dry Vermouth, orange bitters, and a lemon twist. I think a vodka Martini is technically a Kangaroo Cocktail or something like that?

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#5 Pan Buh

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:06 AM

What novel topic. I've never thought about this before.

#6 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 10:26 AM

:laf:

Anyway, to me, a Martini is: Dry Gin, Dry Vermouth, orange bitters, and a lemon twist. I think a vodka Martini is technically a Kangaroo Cocktail or something like that?

You are correct, sir! :cheers:

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#7 Helfrich

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 12:42 PM

To me Martini is a vermouth brand created by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi in 1863.

#8 Absomphe

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 03:21 PM

You mean those two created something other than that sophisticated, and ultra-complex Asti Spumanti?

Who knew? :twitchsmile:

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#9 Joe Legate

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 04:22 PM

To me Martini is a vermouth brand created by Alessandro Martini and Luigi Rossi in 1863.

So if I walked into a nice pub in the Netherlands and wanted the US version of a martini, what would I ask for?

#10 peridot

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Posted 03 April 2008 - 04:55 PM

What novel topic. I've never thought about this before.

Yeah, since I've never published my thoughts on that issue before I won't now.

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#11 Rick Andress

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 05:43 AM

But should the ignorance of a lot of people force the drink to change? I'm of the opinion that people should be educated to the world around them, not the other way around.


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#12 Helfrich

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:08 AM

So if I walked into a nice pub in the Netherlands and wanted the US version of a martini, what would I ask for?

I don't have the faintest idea, but I do know that in Europe Martini is just the name of a popular industrial brand that evolved from the vermouth created by Martini and Rossi.

#13 Boggy

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 10:33 AM

And so it stayed here. Unfortunately, Martini Bitter is not available in bars just as Martini d'Oro.
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#14 Flying-V

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 03:38 PM

So if I walked into a nice pub in the Netherlands and wanted the US version of a martini, what would I ask for?


I would suggest to order a Martini Cocktail.

When a friend and I ordered a "Martini" a couple of years ago in NY,
the waiter served something strange.

We insisted that it was no Red Martini, the guy nodded and returned with something even worse.

Indeed we tried to order what we liked as apéritif at that time:
Martini Rosso. ( http://www.martini.com )

A similar surprise happened when I ordered my first beer in the US.

The fluid they served did not have much in common with what I am used to. :)

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#15 baubel

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 03:50 PM

So if I walked into a nice pub in the Netherlands and wanted the US version of a martini, what would I ask for?

I don't have the faintest idea, but I do know that in Europe, Martini is just the name of a popular industrial brand that evolved from the vermouth created by Martini and Rossi.



Sounds pretty hot.

T-How about "firetini"? ;)

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#16 Joe Legate

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 06:45 PM

A similar surprise happened when I ordered my first beer in the US.

Or as H. Allen Smith reportedly said after he drank his first American beer. "Put it back in the horse."
You'll not find too many fans of 'Merican mainstream beer around these parts. :cheers:

Am I to understand that the classic martini (4 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters) is not a common cocktail in Europe? It is undoubtedly my second favorite beverage.

#17 Pan Buh

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 08:26 PM

I'm not from the civilized part of Europe but I can tell you that cocktails are a very recent import to this country. Used to be, not long ago, no matter where you went, if you ordered something as simple as a rum and coke you'd get a glass of coke and a shot of rum on the side. Martini here means a vermouth apertif. If you go to a high-class, progressive drinking establishment and order a martini cocktail you might get what you'd expect in America. Several years ago at a newer up-scale restaurant in Prague a visiting friend had to settle for straight gin after several confusions trying to order a martini.

Just add it to the list of differences between Amerika and Europe. Speaking of differences, I wouldn't suggest giving your sweetie's fanny a loving pat in public if you're anywhere in Britain.

#18 Boggy

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 12:35 AM

Am I to understand that the classic martini (4 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth and a dash of orange bitters) is not a common cocktail in Europe?

Not exactly, since 1982 it was well-known here if only available in restaurants, bars not everyone could afford. However, "Kuchnia warszawska" written by Dr Stanisław Berger (ed.) from 1961 mentions "Martini cocktail" prepared exactly that way as you mention.

Nowadays, Martini: rosso, rose, bianco and extra dry you will find with other aperitifs in their section, whereas Martini Cocktail will be found separately in "Cocktails" section. Cocktails here are unfortunately expensive and you have no warranty that you are not cheated by the bartender. Safer it is to order them alone and mix according to your preferences, just as Pan Buh says, if I have to admit, since 2000 Rum and Coke is a very common drink in Poland.
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#19 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 12:16 PM

in Europe Martini is just the name of a popular industrial brand that evolved from the vermouth created by Martini and Rossi.

I don't care what part of the world you're in, if you go into a cocktail bar and they don't know what a "Dry Martini Cocktail" is, you're in the wrong bar. It's not like that many American bartenders know what a Dry Martini is. Most think it's a glass of cold vodka.

Speaking of differences, I wouldn't suggest giving your sweetie's fanny a loving pat in public if you're anywhere in Britain.

"Fanny pack" takes on a whole new meaning.

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#20 speedle

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 03:28 PM

Alcohol makes communication significantly more difficult.


Only if you drink too much of it. ;)
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#21 Brooks

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 04:13 PM

Speaking of differences, I wouldn't suggest giving your sweetie's fanny a loving pat in public if you're anywhere in Britain.

HA! No one commented, but that didn't slip under my radar.

#22 Butch Onufrak

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 04:53 PM

So what would say your preferred brand of Vermouth is?
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#23 Joe Legate

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 05:44 PM

Speaking of differences, I would suggest giving your sweet fanny a loving pat in public.

Oh. Well, thanks, PB. :blush:

#24 Le Gimp

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 06:47 PM

What happened to Rossi?

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#25 Gwydion Stone

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 06:54 PM

Sleepin' with the fishes.


Brooks, I commented. ;)

Butch, I can use M&R in a pinch, but I prefer Ponti. I don't know how widely available it is, but I get it at Trader Joe's. Their red is better than their white; for white I get Noilly Pratt, which also makes a very nice red, but I still prefer the Ponti when I can get it.

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#26 Le Gimp

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 07:02 PM

I've got Noilly Pratt, I avoid M&R if I can.

#27 Brooks

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Posted 06 April 2008 - 08:28 PM

Brooks, I commented.

So you did! I love watching Brits stifle hilarity when Americans use that word. :shifty:

#28 Boggy

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Posted 07 April 2008 - 02:41 AM

What happened to Rossi?


Since 1922 the company is known as Martini, whereas since 1992 as Bacardi-Martini Group. Noilly Prat as such is a brand owned by Martini as well.

The name "Martini & Rossi" on the front label is said to be seen only on the bottles sold in the U.S. (so as not cause confusion with the Cocktail), in Europe, the front label is "Martini", "Martini & Rossi" or "M&R" is usually on the back.
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#29 Lyrt

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 07:02 PM

I have Tanqueray gin, Noilly Prat dry vermouth. I need suggestions for orange bitter. Thank you.

#30 Joe Legate

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Posted 01 May 2008 - 08:03 PM

Regan's Orange Bitters. If you can't find them locally, you can order them from Amazon.com (but don't tell PB) and probably any number of other places.


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