August 25, 2005

Invitation Updated

How about if we get out of these clean clothes and into a dirty martini?

I'm not a snob about liquor brands. I appreciate my Signatory bottling, in 1995, of a single malt distilled at Highland Park in 1975, but I'm perfectly happy with Clan MacGregor in a Rob Roy. The one place where I stickle is on the making of a martini. A martini is to be made with gin, and enough vermouth that you are aware of its presence. You could use vodka, but if so, the drink is to be identified as a vodka martini. Kind of like a home run record with a nastarisk by it.

Being as I am an avid generator of contradictions, I also enjoy one variant martini, and consider it worthy of sharing the name. That's the dirty martini, wherein olive juice stands in the place of vermouth. Merely whispering "olive juice" as you pour the gin doesn't cut it. The disruption of clarity is an important component of the dirty experience.

The brine from those uniform black olives from Jumbo California provide a most elegant dirty, but the taste does nothing for the gin. Green salad olives garnished with an extruded strip of pimento are an improvement, and a couple of them on a toothpick make the minimal garnish for a martini, but the tanginess of anything more than what clings to the ice on a splashthru will take control of the taste.

At the current moment, the Big Lots stores around here are selling pouches of Pescado Pete's Coastal Style Olives, with roasted peppers and garlic, for a good-sized pittance. These olives are not made as martini garnishes, like the ones stuffed with jalapenos or almonds or rhinoceros horn, but to be nibbled upon. The juice in which they are cured complements cold gin quite nicely.

Place your martini glass and cobble in the freezer. Nibble enough of the olives that you begin to sense the heat, and then a couple more. About five, total. Now wander off and accomplish something whilst the equipage chills.

Upon your return, you can nibble a couple more olives. Remove the paraphenalia from the freezer, and place five clear cubes of ice in the cobble. Pour one tablespoon of olive juice over the ice cubes, and swirl to coat. Pour the non-remaining juice into the glass, swirl once, and brutally discard. Now add a second tablespoon of juice, so you actually get to taste it. Pour in two and one half ounces of your Silver Sapphire gin, or your Vawn Cough vodka. I'll stick with my Calvert's. Quite affordable, and with a lovely citrus top note. Shake, briskly but not vehemently, with a slight rotation at the wrist, until your hand is chilled. Pour, and enjoy. The olives are not a suitable garnish because of the pits. The peppers are strikingly red, but almost dry enough to shake over pizza. Privately, I enjoy a clove of the mildly cured olive in my glass. While enjoying, remember, as best you can, the formula for martini enjoyment. The version I first heard is that one is just right, two are two many, and three are not enough.

Posted by triticale at August 25, 2005 01:48 AM | TrackBack

Hmmm. I may try the vodka version of that. I'm afraid I'm incapable of appreciating gin martinis, being allergic (or something) to juniper berries. (I'd rather not describe the reaction in detail - let's just say that gin doesn't go down and stay down for more than a second or two.)

Posted by: Kathy K at August 26, 2005 07:22 PM
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