A while ago, I traced the evolution of the Martini from its ancestral drink -- the Manhattan, believe it or not -- to its current status as the King of Cocktails. So, that done, you'd think that drinkers would leave well enough alone, right?
How little you know people.
In the wake of perfection arose the Cult of Dryness. Keeping in mind that the proportions for a proper Martini range from three parts gin to one part dry vermouth (a wet martini, and perfectly respectable) to six parts gin to one part dry vermouth (an awfully dry Martini, but still one that can be ordered without affectation), you may yet marvel at the following three examples of excess:
Ernest Hemingway, a solid man but one given to overdoing things, was known for ordering his Martinis in sixteen to one proportions. In Venice, for God's sake! He was in Venice abd he was Ernest Hemingway and that STILL wasn't cool enough for him? Cripes.
The Montgomery is a drink that out-Hemingwayed Hemingway. Its proportions were twenty-four parts gin to one part vermouth. Why? Because the diss on General Monty was that he would never attack unless he had a twenty-four to one advantage.
Even more alarmingly, the Dadaists had a version of the Martini which consisted of filling a glass with cold gin, placing it in a slant of sunshine, and passing the bottle of vermouth between the Sun and the gin. This they called the Immaculate Conception.
Dry is good. I myself am an afficionado of the dry, and indeed the extremely dry, Martini. But when I thus specify and the bartender (imported, doubtless, from some parallel world in which this questiom makes even a modicum of sense) asks if I want vermouth in it, I can only shudder.
Because the plain and simple truth is that if there is no discernable amount of vermouth in your cocktail, it is not a Martini at all.
It is simply a glass of gin.
Thus endeth today's sermon. Go thou and sin no more.