The beginning of a new year is traditionally a time when one makes personal resolutions to improve one's situation or character. Unhappily, in our hectic modern world all too many people simply lack the leisure needed to craft thoughtful resolutions. Luckily, the American Martini Institute is here to help.
In the coming year, you resolve that . . .
1. This year you will acknowledge at last that simply because something is served up in a martini glass does not make it a martini. The other day, we were offered a "Peppermint Bark Martini," consisting of peppermint schnapps, Godiva White Chocolate liqueur, a dash of cream, and chocolate shavings. This is, one imagines, a perfectly acceptable drink for non-diabetics. But it has not a single ingredient in common with the noble martini. Not one! You might as well fill a beer stein with live frogs and serve it to friends as an India Pale Ale. "Very hoppy," you might then say with a small, greasy smile.
2. You will immediately cease referring to the vodkatini -- an adequate drink in its own right, we're sure -- as a vodka martini. It is no such thing. The martini is such a sensitive drink that merely substituting a pickled onion for the time-hallowed olive or lemon twist turns it into a Gibson. Eschewing gin for an inferior tipple is not only a shocking lapse of taste but a logical fallacy as well.
3. You will continue to form your own opinions as to which gins are best in your martinis, Here, authoritative as the American Martini Institute is, we cannot guide you. Personally, we feel that Boodles is unquestionably the right man for the job; that Bluecoat imparts a flowery quality that almost -- but not quite -- makes its martini an entirely new drink; and that Hendricks, though delicious, is best reserved for the gin and tonic, a drink in which it is unsurpassed. But your mileage may vary. People with the eminent good sense to drink a proper martini can be trusted to choose a proper gin for it.
4. You will restrain your enthusiasm for fetishizing dryness. (Yes, the Dadaists created a drink in which the gin was flavored by passing a bottle of vermouth through a ray of sunshine intersecting the glass, but that was a joke. Anyway, said novelty drink is not a martini but an immaculate conception.) Several times this year, upon ordering a very dry martini, we have been asked by the tappie, "Do you want vermouth in that or not?" Of course we do. Had we desired a glass of cold gin, we would have asked for one. Or better yet, a shot of single malt. Highland Park by preference, or possible Glenmorangie.
5. Finally, you will refrain from snarking at the poor, benighted souls who fail to understand and appreciate the near-spiritual glory of the perfect cocktail commonly known as the martini. That is the responsibility of the American Martini Institute.
This has been a public service announcement. For your own good.
And coming soon . . .
The Not At All Nepotistic Blue Ribbon Panel of Family has been laboring long and hard over this year's Godless Atheist Christmas Card Competition. And it's been a breathtaking year!
The results will appear here soon.
Above: Courtesy of the American Martini Laboratory, a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Martini Institute, a drink consisting of five parts gin, one part vermouth, and a dead fish. It is called, of course, the martuna.