You Say Potahtah

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This morning I opened my door and discovered the wine fairies had left a parcel on my step. The contents are pictured above, and this Gentle Reader, is how we make a dry martini in the 21st Century. (Just writing that makes me feel all Walter Cronkite.) Note the tiny atomizer. Firstly gin is largely gone unless you ask for it. Secondly the glass is spritzed with vermouth from an atomizer, as opposed to rinsing and dumping.

Way back in 1953 an unknown author wrote a book about a bureaucrat with a license to kill. It makes fascinating reading these days, for social tidbits like a 35 horsepower blown Bentley, and for how to prepare for an evening of high stakes card play.

This latter involved drinking about three ounces of liquor, followed by Champage and if I remember correctly (Alas my copy is worn right out.) a bottle of Burgundy. Those were the days!

The interesting thing if you’re a martini lover was a drink included in the book, a variation on the gin martini. It was

3 ounces Gordons gin
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Kina Lillet vermouth
“Serve it in a deep champagne glass with a large thin slice of lemon peel.”

Back in the 1920s when the dry martini ascended to the barstool throne, it was thought the perfect ratio was 5:1, 2 ounces gin to a half ounce of vermouth. By Bond’s era the vermouth content had dropped and the ratio became dropped to 10:1. Today the most popular martini is to swish the glass with vermouth and dump it, then add the gin, a ratio of about 40:1 part vermouth.

Although I am a gin guy when I order my dry martinis in places like Barberian’s on Elm (Toronto) or Carvers (Saskatoon) or The Dip (Regina) – the best dry martinis are made in the last bastion of male security the plush steakhouse – I do occasionally give in to modern custom and have vodka martinis.

The Luksusowa gift pack offered a chance for a serious vodka martini slapdown. Luksusowa is a potato vodka, but most vodkas are primarily grain alcohol. Belvedere on the other hand, another Polish vodka is 100 percent rye mash. Time then for a Vodka Martini Slapdown!
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And my conclusion? Well firstly I’d say a twist or olives are a must. However if you like to drink vodka straight, there is a great deal to be said for potato vodka. I grew up on grain, and am therefore biased. Luksosowa was slightly smoother and sweeter. Belvedere left a bit of an alcohol bite on the finish. Luksosowa was also slightly silkier by texture.

Frankly for both of these I’d recommend forgetting the vermouth all together and drink either after properly shaken. (The clouding visible in the martinis above is due to aeration. Some people say this is “bruising”. I’m with Bond preferring very cold to clear, although the presentation is a bit nicer with the stirred martini.)

BTW the vermouth in the spritzer in Noilly Prat. As a vermouth with the Luksosowa this is the way to go. I really liked it about 4:1 with the vermouth. I’m going to have to go back to adding more vermouth to my Gin martinis. I was amazed how much I liked this.(a drop of orange bitters makes a nice addition too.)

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