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martini question

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#1 ripper911



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Posted 09 August 2014 - 03:29 AM

I ordered a martini while I was out the other day, and it caused some confusion. I've been making them at home using wet/sweet gins and vermouths i.e. Plymouth and formula antiqua with Regan's orange bitters and a twist of course... I've drifted away for dry gins lately.

I read somewhere that dry martinis are a fairly newer invention and have grown fond of this "wet" recipe after trying it. The bartender didn't have a clue about this type of martini, and I ended up with dry gin and galllo red (shaken!) and had to ask for bitters. After half of the glass it was fine, so no real complaints, but the bartender obviously didn't appreciate my instructions (or my insistence that the other "martinis" he mentioned weren't martinis at all.).

Am I mistaken in my assumption that this is more of a traditional martini recipe? How do I ask for a drink made like this at an average bar?

I went to two well known places. Nobody knew anything about absinthe except that the real stuff is illegal and makes you trip, I finally settled for a martini.

#2 Evan Camomile

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Posted 09 August 2014 - 08:19 AM

There is a reason that Bond had to ask for it to be shaken...

Like many classic cocktails the martini has several different historical recipes but it's basically gin, dry vermouth, and bitters. You can modify and experiment all you want though. I can't find it for the life of me but I remember one historical version actually calling for absinthe rinse in a martini.

Many people think the Martini came from a drink called the Martinez which was gin, vermouth, maraschino, and bitters. I don't think that the type of vermouth was specified early on. From what I understand (and I could totally be mistaken) when the drink evolved to a martini the vermouth was specified as dry.

There's a whole family of Martinez/Martini drinks out there with simple variations like the Margeurite, Martina, Martineau, etc. So it is certainly no crime to try your own spin and sweet martinis are a thing. In the 1930 Savoy Bartending manual both sweet and dry are listed, and calls for the entire family of drinks to be shaken unless the customer asks otherwise.

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#3 TheLoucheyMonster!


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Posted 09 August 2014 - 10:55 AM

...one historical version actually calling for absinthe rinse in a martini.



.Roosevelt liked them that way.


#4 fingerpickinblue


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Posted 09 August 2014 - 11:17 AM

If you want to see a number of historic versions of the Martini, check these out. The Martinez is there as well and you'll see RH's opinion on its place, or not, in the lineage. I once did up a menu for  "The History of the Martini As We Know It" and I included, on the modern end, the Vesper which I think is arguably a legitimate Martini variation.

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#5 ripper911



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Posted 09 August 2014 - 11:47 AM

Wow, that's a great resource!

Thank you.

I still need to educate them about absinthe, especially since one of the establishments was named Hemingway's. I wonder if they would object to me bringing in a bottle and the WWS information sheet for a little chat?

#6 Joe Legate

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Posted 12 August 2014 - 05:27 AM

Would they object?

Much of that depends on your approach: Mr. Know-it-all is rarely welcome anywhere.  A friendly, knowledgeable attitude is your best friend especially when confronted by jaded bartenders.  Next (I'm sure all of this is terribly obvious to you), visit when the bar isn't slammed with thirsty customers. 


Many of us have been waging this battle for a good many years. Good luck! :cheers:

#7 ripper911



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Posted 13 August 2014 - 02:32 PM

I think I'll try to do a little educating this weekend. I printed out some copies of the WWS info flyer, and my local store finally got more pacifique in stock.

I'll certainly approach it civilly, and after ordering a drink. I think it will be fun to get out there and try to get them to try it, even if not they'll know that it's available.

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