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Feb 19, 2008 07:25 AM

Martinis? Is it just me...

or does anyone else get annoyed when the strangest concoctions are called martinis. Most recent case in point is in the following article:

Author describes a drink called the Spicy Pear martini (Sailor Jerry's spice rum, Mathilde pear liqueur, and organic white grape juice, $10). Good or not, I don't know; but a martini it ain't.

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  1. Patricia,

    This is an old and well worn area of discussion and irritation amongst many cocktailians. I, personally would prefer that these end up with the appellation "cocktail" rather than "-tini" but it fits in with so many naming trends. It's become a buzzword, like it or not. I take more offense at a cocktail glass being renamed martini glass.

    Though i would prefer otherwise, as long as they don't go trying to say that anything but Gin (okay... or vodka) and vermouth (with or without bitters) is an actual "Martini", then I don't have all that much of a problem with the names appletini, Spicy Pear Martini, or whatevah-tini, despite the only relationship being the glass. In fact, if the vodka version became ubiquitously the Vodka Martini leaving the singular word "Martini" to describe a gin-based drink... ;-)

    A boy can dream...

    1. I definitely isn't just you.

      What I find interesting is that the creators of most of these drinks don't even bother to give them a real name, instead relying on the completely uninspired combination of flavor+flavor+ingredient+(mar)tini. Which is appropriate as most of these drinks are completely uninspired and won't stand the test of time, and it's as if their creators know this and don't bother (or they just don't care).

      1. I agree with you. A martini really has to be dry, not sweet. Even if your formula is 2:1 gin or vodka to vermouth (which would not qualify as a "dry" martini), it would still be a fairly dry drink. But start adding chocolate, mango, peach, and pear, and it's closer to a lemon drop than a martini. Spice rum? Gettoudddahear!!!

        1 Reply
        1. re: AlbertaHound

          A martini doesn't necessarily have to be dry. It's my understanding that the first martinis were made with sweet (red) vermouth, and you can still find recipes for the "perfect martini" using equal parts sweet and dry vermouth.

          But it does have to be based on gin. A cocktail made with vodka is no more a martini than one made with spiced rum and peach schnapps. I blame James Bond for starting this whole business of calling things "martinis" when they really aren't.

        2. As much as it bothers me to hear everything called a martini or even worse -tini it probably has to do more with the fact they are serving it in a martini glass than anything else.

          A lot of restaurants don't want to stock any more glasses then they have to, so even though Libbey makes a passable cocktail coupe, most people won't stock it.

          Not to mention that consumers tend to like their cocktail served in an oversized glass so they get the perception of value.

          1. it's TiniGate - why not? we add that suffix to any other scandal.

            back when I drank martini's, just having a bottle of vermouth standing next to the gin was enough mixer.

            3 Replies
            1. re: hill food

              That may be how Winston Churchill preferred his martinis (he preferred to glance at the vermouth bottle from across a crowded room), but I say that you aren't ordering a martini either. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, a cocktail is "an alcoholic drink consisting of a spirit mixed with other ingredients, such as fruit juice", or, in the case of martinis, vermouth. Since an extra-dry martini has just the one ingredient, gin, it is no longer a cocktail. Order it as a straight up gin with an olive or twist, as you desire. A savvy bartender will appreciate your candor.

              1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                yes you're right, to cut through all the Cocktail-Nation nonsense I'd just say "Gin, Up, Twist, please" and leave any misinterpretation out of the equation.

                1. re: hill food

                  And put it near (but not touching) the bottle of dry vermouth.