- Dennis Sep 7, 2002 02:36 PM
Please accept my apologies if this topic is somewhat "off topic", as it pertains to an alcoholic beverage instead of food. However, it is a topic that has been driving me a bit crazy.
Last month, I went to a restaurant. While perusing the martini menu, one of the speciality martinis caught my eye. It was the Thai Martini. I love just about anything that is Thai, so I ordered one.
A little bit of background before I go on. I am fairly new to martinis. For years, my cocktail of choice has been a Double Tanqueray & Tonic. However, I am finding that a lot of bartenders don't know how to make a decent one. All too often, what I get tastes like gin flavored ice water.
It was only recently that I started experimenting with martinis. My reason for being such a "late bloomer" with martinis is that I have always associated them with olives. For some reason, I have always disliked olives. In fact, I can hardly stand to look at them.
So, when I saw somebody order a martini with a twist instead of an olive, I decided to try one myself.
The Thai martini that I ordered was wonderful. Instead of an olive or a twist, however, there was a chunk of shredded pickled ginger at the bottom. I love pickled ginger, so this was a nice climax to my martini. I liked it so much that I ordered two more.
I went back to this restaurant two weeks later, for only one reason. I had an urge for one of those Thai martinis. To my disappointment, however, I was informed that they no longer make them. When I asked why not, the reason given was that "hardly anybody was ordering them."
I asked if maybe they can make me one anyway. The waitress went back to the bartender to ask. She came back and said: "We do have a little bit of sake and lemongrass left, but we're almost out of the ginger. We have enough to make maybe one or two more."
So........I ordered two Thai martinis and loved them.
Now then. Based upon what the waitress said, some of the prime ingredients used in making their Thai martinis are sake, lemongrass, and ginger.
I know how the ginger is used, as a substitute for the olive or the lemon at the bottom of the glass. But I have been trying to figure out how the lemongrass is used. Any ideas?
Also, would I be correct in presuming that the sake is being used as a substitute for the vermouth?
I'm pretty sure that gin was used for the main alcoholic content. But I've never heard of gin and sake being used together before.
I did a Google search on "Thai martinis" and came across a few hits, but none of them sounded like the Thai martinis that I enjoyed. Most of them were sweet and fruity, and I dislike sweet and fruity drinks. Mine was anything but sweet and fruity. Also, none of them used pickled ginger.
I'm just curious if anybody here knows anything about Thai martinis. Have you ever tried or made one?
re: the rogue
>>Ask the bartender.<<
If I go back there, I will. However, since they no longer offer their Thai martini, coupled with the fact that the food at this restaurant is not that good, I am not exactly inspired to go back any time soon.
I did, however, write an e-mail message to this restaurant asking for the recipe. However, I have had no response.
I have been to three different bars in my area since then and asked about Thai martinis. Not a one of them had ever heard of them.
RE: lemongrass. I'm speculating here, as I have no experience with the Thai martini, but I'd guess they infuse the gin with it before making the martini. Peel and roughly chop a stalk of lemon grass, then, bruise the pieces and add it to your gin. The longer it soaks, the more flavor the gin will pick up.
re: david in NOLa
I agree with your methodology, David, but the Thai restaurant that I frequent does a lichee martini, and they use the lichees to infuse the sake..Therefore, I think you'd use the lemongrass to infuse the sake,(for a week or so) not the gin..Also, in the one that they make, there is definitely more of the lichee infused sake than one would ordinarily use of vermouth...It's a very light tasting drink, I told them they should call it a Lichee Cloud :)
Here's a link to info about infusing liquors.
But the more I think about it, the more I'm thinking there wasn't an infusion. If the server mentioned that lemongrass was one of the ingrediants, it's highly unlikly that you could quickly infuse a drink and get any flavor out of it. Infusions seem to need a minimum of a day at the very least.
I don't understand why every drink served in a martini glass is now called a martini. It is not. The only martini I know of consists of gin and vermouth with a twist of lemon or an olive. If it has an onion in it instead it's called a gibson. Even when it's made with vodka instead of gin I guess it can be called a martini but beyond that it's a different drink altogether.
Your Thai martini sounds interesting and I'm sure a good bartender would be able to explain exactly how to make that concoction.
re: christina z
When it's made with vodka, of course, it's a VODKA martini.
But really, the reason they make all these syrupy sweet drinks, call them "martinis" and serve them in martini glasses is because there are unsophisticated people out there who find it makes them feel sophisticated to drink something out of a martini glass which is called a "_____Martini", even if they can't stand the taste of Martinis.
re: christina z
Thank you for bringing this up. I totally agree with you. A serious pet peeve of mine, especially when I was working in the restaurant industry, is when chefs or whoever label something that it's not, i.e. .. Anything with layers nowadays is either a "Napoleon" or "Free Form Lasagna."
I think the issue, as previously stated, is one of marketing to the lowest common denominator. Give people something they recognize. Me like martini, martini is fancy! Uggg!
The real reason fruity martinis really took off is because they kept ordering them in the "Sex in the City" show. Sarah Jessica Parker always had a Cosmopolitan. After that, everyone had to have them just like her $500 a pair shoes. My girlfriend is killing me with those! Restaurants love martinis because they can sell a glass of juice and a little vodka for $10 opposed to a full glass of only vodka.