Friday, October 10, 2014

The Evolution of the Martini (Part 4)


The Dry Martini

The Twentieth Century was fast approaching and a new age required a new drink.  The Martini -- though not yet a drink you or I would acknowledge as such -- already existed.  Sweet vermouth had been replaced by dry vermouth.  And now, in a crucial step into the future, Old Tom Gin (a lovely tipple, but sweet) was replaced by London Gin.

This new drink was dubbed the Dry Martini.  Or perhaps we should say the "Dry" Martini.

Here's the recipe:

The Dry Martini
1 part London Gin
1 part Dry Vermouth
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Shake over ice
Strain into cocktail glasses
Garnish with an olive or a lemon twist

Excitement was high at the American Martini Laboratory as this first true Martini was chilled, poured, and given its defining bit of fruity color.  We hoisted the glasses.  We toasted the occasion ("For Science!").  We tasted.  And...

The result was one wet mess.  This was a Martini mixed by your well-meaning teetotaler aunt on hearsay.  Chiefly, it was wet, wet, wet.  Which is to say that the vermouth, rather than modulating the flavor, dominated it.  Anyone who has ever drunk down a glass of dry vermouth (as I once did; out of politeness; and regretted it upon first sip; but I will spare you the story) will tell you that this is Not a Good Thing.

Luckily, there are those who will drink anything.  And bartenders who will tinker with that Anything hoping to make the best of a soggy drink.

At this stage of evolution, there was no indication that a Terrible Beauty was a-borning.  Nor how little change would be required to achieve it.

And for those who came in late . . .

Part 1:  Click here to discover the Ur-ancestor of the Martini.

Part 2:  Click here to witness the miracle that was the Martinez.

Part 3:  Click here to discover the first, not-entirely-convincing Martini.



Ken Houghton said...

"Sex is best when it's one on one"--but vermouth is not sex.

Joe Stillman said...

I always thought that Martini's existed so that bartenders could have a way of getting rid of all that vermouth.