Sunday, December 11, 2011

If You're Gonna Be a Lush, Be a Proper Lush

You've noticed that cocktails are all the rage. Probably always been all the rage, except during the late 60s, when they were considered mommy drinks. My mommy.
I was one of those hippies who avoided liquor in favor of junky red wine, and didn't have my first martini until I was in my 30s.
At the time, there was a little "cool" revival. Sinatra. Dark bars. Attitude.
Oh, let me tell you about the attitude. Cranky and I went to a hipster waterfront restaurant and ordered martinis.
"Vodka martinis?" growled the bartender.
"No, a martini is made with gin unless I ask for something else," said Cranky, the cranky ex-bartender. "And we like a little vermouth."
Grrr! The bartender hated us now. He turned his back, did a little mixing, and served us the best martini I've ever had. By accident. He wanted to skunk us by following the old formula, which we would surely hate. He didn't understand the reasoning behind the old formula. (And he was flattered and embarrassed when we complimented, and tipped, him. Attitude collapse.)
Look, if you want a dry martini, fine. Leave out the vermouth altogether, if you like, but then you'll just be drinking chilled gin, straight. Gah. Gaseous. And, frankly, a one-booze drink isn't a cocktail.
I have a feeling a lot of the fine young cocktailians have never had a true, decent martini. All those silly tricks about whispering "vermouth" to the shaker, or dampening the glass with vermouth and pouring it off.
Try a real martini.


cookiecrumb said...


Zoomie said...

My parents let us drink with them from age 15 on, and they liked "hard" liquor - actually a very good ploy as we were bored with 3.2 beer when we were in our teens. Who wants weak beer when you can have a martini at home?

My favorites were always gin and tonics, however - loved the lime! Had a mai tai this time in Hawaii and it nearly put me on my ass!

Gingrich is just the next clown in the circus. Not to worry.

Chilebrown said...

I am not old enough to remember gin martinis. I understand vermouth was to hide the flavor of bad gin. I wish I lived in the era when the husband would arrive home and the wife (Ms. Goofy) would have a pitcher of Martini waiting.

Shine said...

Amen Cookie! We were at a five star restaurant last weekend and my friend ordered a martini which the server boasted about being "authentic"...the glass being rinsed with scotch first ect. But, when it came, there was nary a drop of gin or vermouth to be found. I am with Zoomie on the gin and tonic train (espesh that green glowing Tanqueray :)

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: I guess your parents did a good thing, because you're practically a teetotaler now. No wonder that mai tai threw you!
A gin and tonic IS a very good thing. But these cocktalians wouldn't touch one. They want things the bartender has never heard of. It's a game.

Chilebrown: The vermouth is definitely about flavor, but you wouldn't know you were drinking it. It's a magic mixture. I'd make you one, but I don't drink liquor anymore, unless it's well insulated in eggnog or hot chocolate. (This is my month!)

Shine: Wow, see, I'd never even heard of washing the glass with brown hooch. These hot young bartenders with all their recipes; I fear it kills them to make a martini.

Zoomie said...

BTW, I love the term "cocktalians." You are always so darn _apt_! Woot.

namastenancy said...

We had liquor at home as well, a full bars worth as my parents did a lot of entertaining. They allowed us to take sips when we were younger and later, let us have watered wine. None of us ever developed a taste for liquor in any form; in fact, I don't even drink much wine these days. But the articles in the paper about the latest trendy "mixologist" always make me smile. It all seems so very juvenile.

namastenancy said...

OH, BTW gorgeous photo. It would make a lovely watercolor.

Kate said...

I'm too much of a lightweight to drink martinis. I've never, ever had a proper one. My grandfather though was no lightweight. He drank a PITCHER of martinis ever evening after work, and everyone swears he never betrayed any sign whatsoever of intoxication. Unusual for an Irishman. Me, I stick to pansy-assed g&t's.

Don't worry about Gingrich. This country isn't going to elect a fat man. And we've only once elected a Catholic; look how that turned out (for the Catholic). Pity the fundies; they now have the prospect of voting for a Mormon, a Catholic, or someone they believe is a Muslim.

Greg said...

You hit my hot button.In my many years behind the bar the martini was the most provocative drink.If If I never hear another bone head ask for his martini shaken and not stirred my blood pressure will remain at suitable levels. In my book the proper way to make a martini is how the customer wants it. Herb Caen like his vitamin V(vodka not viagra). Since gin makes me think I look better without clothes, I prefer vodka with a gentle splash of Noilly Pratt. :)

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie: Can't take credit for the term (which I misspelled, and corrected). It's the current nomenclature. Cute.

Nancy: You are describing something that bothers me, too. Bar hopping for these kids is like a trip to Disneyland. An umbrella drink here, a crusty cowboy drink there, and the nectar of infinity and beyond, yonder.

Kate: The culture that prides itself in "handling" a lot of booze is unnecessarily macho, and possibly doomed to alcoholism. You stick to your li'l pansy drinks.
I love your nutshell on the fundies!! Love. Thanks.

Greg: As usual, you are the grownup in the room. Of course the customer should have what he wants.
PS, Cranky says I can't offer you a G&T. Ever.

meathenge said...

Amen sister !!! Can we have 15 olives in each martini too? Never had a hankering for the "vodka" version, egads. I knew better even at the ripe old age of 20.
xo, Biggles

EB of SpiceDish said...

Sutton Cellars here in SF makes a fantastic vermouth! Amazing in a martini and with soda and a little grapefruit juice as a cocktail.

Hungry Dog said...

OK, I will! I have never had one. Well, not a really good proper one. I think I sipped one once. I like booze, especially gin. I think I could handle it.

Do you really think Gingrich could get the nom? Would that be better or worse for Obama (as opposed to facing Mitt)? Why are so many people in this country stupid?

cookiecrumb said...

Meathenge: You can have the whole jar of olives. That oughta do ya. :)

EB: Oh, thanks for that info. I don't have much use for vermouth these days, but I'd sure like to check that out.

Dawg: You be careful with that martini. A good one is so good, you want two. Mistake.
Yes, I think Gingrich could win the nom. Lotta stupid people. We often forget that, living in the Bay Area. My guess is Obama's safe.

Food Gal said...

I agree. Sometimes you just need to kick it old-school with a classic martini. None of that fou-fou stuff with chocolate martinis or cocktails with names too embarrassing to say out loud. Nope, sometimes you just need to step back in time and realize if it's lasted this long, there's something to it. ;)

cookiecrumb said...

Food Gal: Very well put, especially the chocolate abomination. Happy seasonal proper drinks to you.

Jay said...

just found your space..
wonderful space you have..
nice presentation with stunning cliks..
happy following you..:)
do stop by mine sometime..
Tasty Appetite

Ms Brown Mouse said...

A 'splish' of V, and a twist of lemon please :)

cookiecrumb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
cookiecrumb said...

Jay: Hello, and thanks.

Mouse: That sounds bracing and comforting at the same time. :)

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Apparently Martinis are like breasts. One is not enough and three, too many :)

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: That old chestnut. (Whoops!) And it's so true.