Poetry in a Glass: The Classic Martini
Here is a small tribute to the fun, flavor and celebration of drinking, from the English theologian and philosopher Henry Aldrich (1647 - 1710):
Reasons For Drinking
If all be true that I do think,
There are five reasons we should drink:
Good wine -- a friend -- or being dry --
O lest we should be by and by --
Or any other reason why.
With thank to A.J. Rathbun, Editor of In Their Cups: An Anthology of Poems About Drinking Places, Drinks and Drinkers (Harvard Common Press, 2010).
If such poetry inspires, here is how to make a classic dry martini. This formula makes two 4-ounce martinis in your choice of gin, which many consider the true classic, or my preference, vodka.
1 tablespoon dry vermouth (store at room temperature; its fragile herbs and spices can deteriorate if chilled for too long)
8 ounces chilled vodka or gin (I keep my vodka in the freezer)
2 large caper berries with their stems or brine-cured green olives stuffed with pimentos (I always add 3 olives per glass)
2 stemmed martini glasses, chilled
1 or 2 cup glass measuring cup, chilled
- If your martini glasses aren't already chilled or frosted by keeping them in your freezer, fill each of them with a few ice cubes while you mix the martinis. Pouring a cold cocktail into a cold glass helps keep the drink cold longer.
- Pour the dry vermouth into the empty measuring cup and swirl to coat the insides. Discard the vermouth.
- Pour the gin or vodka into the measuring cup.
- Fill a cocktail shaker with about 2 cups of ice cubes. Pour in the vermouth-tinged gin or vodka, cover the shaker, and shake hard until the shaker and everything in it is ice cold, about 30 seconds or until your arm gets tired.
- If you've put ice cubes in your martini glasses, discard the ice.
- Pour the mixed cocktail into the chilled glasses and add the caper berries or olives.
- Serve immediately.
And as you raise your glass, remember this martini wisdom from the great James Thurber: "One is alright. Two is too many. Three is not enough."