About Martinis [Split from Ontario Board]
I’ll answer that question. I think it is because apple martinis, kiwi martinis, et al, are such a departure from the actual drink.
People, I think, often want to be associated with things that they perceive as sophisticated or glamorous like dry wines, or in this case the Martini. However, a Martini or dry wines aren’t always immediately approachable. Therefore, for many of us, it will take time and money and most importantly curiosity before real wines or real martinis reveal their pleasures to us.
And through this process we will not only earn the ability to appreciate a truly GREAT cocktail (which is the most important thing) but also the right to refer to ourselves as “Martini drinkers” soaking up any of the glamour and sophistication that is suggested by that name.
An admirable, and much better than me, try at answering the question. I think that the various fruity martinis really dilute the pleasure of an actual martini.
What is the difference between a crantini/apple martini (and their ilk) and any other fruity drink out there (why not just order a fruit juice or a singapore sling). It becomes a means to get intoxicated rather than the pleasure of enjoying the acquired taste of a traditional martini.
I don't drink martini's (or single malt scotch for that matter) because I want to appear sophisticated. I drink it because I enjoy the distinct taste that each offers beyond a fruity generic concoction.
Be careful. If you "drink it because [you] enjoy the distinct taste that each offers beyond a fruity generic concoction" you might appear to be sophisticated.
To me this is part of the marketing of these imitation martini drinks as "Martinis". It appeals to those who want to appear grown up without cultivating truly grown up tastes.
I'm definitely one of those "dry and bitter" snobs who likes to refer to sugary shaker drinks as kids' stuff, barely a step above shots of Goldschlager, Jagermeister, and Butterscotch Schnapps. However, it's worth pointing out that the Cosmopolitan and its ilk have been a good gateway drug to more serious cocktails, forcing more bars and bartenders to improve their shaker skills, and stock better glassware and garnishes.
Faux-tinis have also encouraged drinkers' curiosity about the world beyond beer and highballs. I think that tide of fruity, candy-flavored, and milk-shakey concoctions has risen a few serious-cocktail boats as well. I really would prefer folks call it a cocktail glass, but at least they're taking some baby steps down a much more interesting road. At some point, some of this crowd is going to recognize the virtues of balance and harmony, of more than one note singing in their glass.
I have a very important question that I want to lead into, to give some relation to the thread of "Faux-tinis" (like that term, MC Slim JB).
Had a first anything-tini a few years ago, and it was a fake one (can't remember). After that I was introduced to straight vodka martini's and made those occasionally for some time. Late last summer was having lunch with a friend at a fave restaurant and saw they had classic martinis advertised so I ordered one and loved it. Took that home and made some very straight classic 4-1 martinis with Tanquery. This has become largely a Sunday evening drink for me - nice, solid, measured for a Sunday eve.
I'm now ready to explore more. I can go dirty to different levels with control. I do want to try a Gibson, but more importantly, I want to try different gins with some guidance. What are some good next steps from Tanquery, and what questions do I need to answer to get better guidance?
re: Dennis S
Thanks to the success of premium and super-premium vodkas, every category of liquor is going upmarket with fancy bottlings and packaging and prices. Gin has been at it for awhile. I haven't pursued many of them with vigor, as I don't drink a lot of straight Martinis (when I do, my proportions vary between 4:1 and 5:2). But there are certainly some significant departures from the mostly-samey London Dry styles that dominated the market for many years.
I personally like Hendrick's (from Scotland), which dials down the juniper note in favor of cucumber and rose petal flavors. Plymouth is an old name that's gotten better marketing of late: it's English but not London Dry, significantly less juniper as well, and I quite like it in cocktails. I'm shopping for a newish bottling from PA called Bluecoat, but it doesn't seem to be distributed in MA yet.
Another variable to play with is vermouths, which are also getting more interesting. I personally love a boutique CA product called Vya (both sweet and dry), a very subtle, complexly herbal vermouth. (I have a strong distaste for Martini & Rossi's dry vermouth; Boissiere is probably my favorite of the widely distributed dry vermouths).
I also like to play with non-vermouth aromatized wines like Lillet, and to add small amounts of bitters both potable (e.g., a dash of Becherovka) and non-potable (e.g., orange bitters, an ingredient in most 19th-century Martini recipes).
Take a look at this blog; reviewing various spirits, including gins and vermouths, are two of the writer's interests:
On a side note, you might want to reconsider ordering a Dirty Martini in any bar that doesn't keep a separate squirt bottle of olive brine for that express purpose. Most barmen will tell you the brine in the garnish tray isn't the most hygienic of additives, with all those fingers rooting through it. You don't want a literally dirty Martini.
re: MC Slim JB
Thanks so much for the info. Never thought to try different vermouths. It seems like I'll try a less junipery gin first to see if I like that direction in general or not.
I probably wouldn't go out of my way to order one dirty at a bar, but now I'll be sure not to - I was doing them at home or at a friends house who showed me how to do a vodka martini right, with chilled glass, not cutting out the vermouth, shaking properly, etc.