Eighty years ago, on December 5th, 1933 the United States ratified the 21st Amendment, thus repealing the Prohibition of alcohol. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Anniversary! Thanks to President Franklin D. Roosevelt we can "Eat, Drink, and Be Merry." Baseball is referred to as America's Pastime, but in my opinion sharing meals, drink and laughter should be. I think this is a great time to feature the classic martini to celebrate this day in history.
The martini is one of the most widely known cocktails though it has seen many changes over the years with the addition of the fun and fruity variations. H.L. Mencken said the martini was "the only American invention as perfect as the sonnet." and E.B. White referred to a classic martini as "the elixir of quietude." The classic martini was made with gin, not vodka, and vermouth. One of the questions I am asked frequently is "what is vermouth?" Well, vermouth is an aromatic fortified wine. Fortified wine is wine with a spirit added to it. In the case of vermouth, an aromatic fortified wine is said to be flavored with botanical such as roots, bark, herbs, and flowers. Gin is a spirit that is flavored from botanical, such as juniper berries, lemon peel, and herbs. Knowing that both vermouth and gin are "flavored" with botanicals you can see why they were paired together to make this smooth cocktail. Martinis are to be served straight (up), on the rocks, with a lemon twist or an olive. With the fresh herbal nuances of botanical added to both spirits, combined into a martini, I feel that a lemon peel is the best addition to this cocktail. But people sure do love their olives.
Dear James Bond, martinis are meant to be stirred, not shaken! A martini should be stirred with a few ice cubes to chill it, but not diminish the botanical forward spirit, then it should be strained into a martini glass. Over time bartenders have chilled the martini glasses, but back in the day the spirits were chilled slightly and then just poured into the martini glass. Somerset Maugham is quoted in saying "a martini should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of one another."
So, in honor of this special day in the history of Prohibition, I give you the recipe for the
CLASSIC (GIN) MARTINI:
Start with a cocktail shaker, place 5 ice cubes in the metal tin, add 1 oz of dry vermouth, and 3 oz of Utica, NY made ADK Gin, swirl around for 30 seconds, strain into martini glass. Cut off the rind of a lemon and twist over glass so the juice of the zest is captured in martini, then glide the rind over the lip of the martini glass, finally placing rind in glass.