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Oct 13, 2009 08:04 PM


I'm sitting here drinking my cocktail du jour, a Pear Tree martini (pear vodka, St. Germain, and lime juice... yummy), and I'm wondering about the floaties in martinis. Do they result from the liquid in the cocktail getting so cold that it freezes, or are they just small pieces of ice that chip off during the vigorous shaking?

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    1. re: andytee

      Ps - Just as a suggestion, that sounds like a drink that would do great with a drop or two of orange blossom water. Sounds good as it too, but somehow I have a hunch on this. Let me know if you try it, and seriously, drops not pours.

      Pps - I should warn you that its common practice here to rag on people who use "Martini" where perhaps another name ("Martini" being reserved for gin and vermouth, maybe vodka) might better suffice. I'm not saying anything myself, it's a bit of a tired argument, but thought I'd warn you. "Pear Tree" is a beautiful cocktail name all by itself without a tag on the end.

      1. re: andytee

        An interesting point, and I certainly meant no insult to gin. This is the first time I've posted on the "Spirits" board, so I have not been following its internal politics. I actually did hesitate before calling it a martini. But I used the term because it seems a shortcut for describing a drink that is (a) served in a martini glass, and (b) served strained, and not on the rocks. I'm not aware of any other simple way to connote this sort of drink. I abhor the vulgar practice of slapping the suffex "-tini" on the end of a flavor names (such as "Appletini," or Chocolatetini"). But your point is well taken, and I will be mindful of not using the term "martini" too flagrantly.

        1. re: durhamois

          No offense taken, just a FYI. It's not so much a gin thing as it is about the flagrant overuse of the term for any cocktail served strained and up. "Martini glass" is actually another overuse of the term, you can say "up" if at a bar, and it's best called a cocktail glass.

          Anyhow, welcome to the board. I'm in no way on here enough to be a representative, but glad to have you around, and thanks for sharing what sounds like a good drink.

      2. re: andytee

        To get rid of ice chips, try double-straining your drink: use your hawthorn strainer, and pour the drink through a small strainer into your glass.

        1. re: craigasaurus

          I actually enjoy the icy sheen and consider it a mark of a martini well shaken. Oh, and on the topic of language - it seems that people are being awfully prescriptivist about the use of the term "martini" especially when every other bar on the block uses the term to describe a drink shaken and strained and poured into a "martini glass".and has a "martini menu." Sure, you can say that a martini is, strictly speaking, gin and vermouth, but the bottom line is that most people now use the term "martini" to be more wide-ranging. Language evolves. C'est la vie!

          1. re: suse

            Language evolves, yes, but in this particular instance, something is lost through lack of precision. If it's all a "martini" than what is a martini really? Again, I don't want to make this my pet issue (it's not, really, I honestly wanted to warn the poster about attitudes I frequently see expressed on the boards and also to suggest the addition of a little orange blossom water, which I am currently excited to find good cocktails for), but generally the use of "martini" for all sorts of different cocktails just betrays a level of ignorance of the wide range of types and styles and names of cocktails. Yes, lots of bars and restaurants do it, but that doesn't mean its a good thing. There is a language there that is more precise and descriptive and no reason not to use it.

            I love icy bits in some shaken drinks personally as well. Only one post suggested a way to remove them, I didn't hear the original poster describing them as a problem and only read the response as a "if they bother you" type suggestion.

            The generally accepted guideline on shaken vs. stirred (despite James Bond movies) is that a drink that is all spirits (like a traditional vodka or gin martini) should be stirred, not shaken, to preserve the clear look of the spirits and not dilute them too much, and that a drink that contains juice or milk (like the OP's cocktail with lime juice) is best shaken in order to emulsify the non-alcoholic ingredients with the alcohol.

            Of course, there is plenty of room for exceptions and for personal preference. There is no reason for anyone to drink anything other than what they like. That said, I do feel that it's useful to try and educate oneself as to the history and context of the things we encounter in our daily lives, whether cocktails or otherwise.

            1. re: andytee

              I wasn't suggesting in any way that the double straining to get rid of the icy bits was a bad idea - I just mentioned that I like the icy sheen.

              The thing is this - I'm a linguist and I've studied historical linguistics. Precision and lack thereof are two driving factors in language change. It's just that the word "martini" has evolved to some degree to designate a shaken and strained drink made with either vodka or gin, so we have to add modifiers to be more precise. Don't you now find that if you go to a bar and order a "martini" you'll be asked for specifics? It's not because the bartender is ignorant, but rather because the term has evolved. Sure, it may have evolved in a direction that annoys people who understand that it originally designated gin + vermouth, but language is all about communication and it evolves to make communication as efficient as possible. This isn't intended as a criticism of anyone who choses to be a purist in his/her use of "martini" - I'm just trying to look at this realistically from a linguistic perspective.

              I also think it's amusing that durhamois called the practice of adding "-tini" to a shaken drink "vulgar." We all have our linguistic "allergies", I think. It's really no different than adding "-gate" to any scandal. Sure, it may bug you, but it's just trying to communicate information and that's what language is all about.

              1. re: suse

                I was being half-serious, half-sarcastic in my use of the term "vulgar." Having also studied sociolingistics, I'm on board with the idea that keeping words from changing meaning is an un-winable battle. However, if it is any consolation to the purists, these things are often cyclical, and in 30 years the term "martini" will probably just refer to gin drinks again.