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What's wrong with me?!

As cocktail fan, I know I'm supposed to enjoy a good martini. One problem with that, I loathe olives in all forms. So I decided to make a gibson. Now I consider myself a pretty skilled mixologist. But one sip and it was terrible, one the worst things I've had the misfortune to put in my mouth! Maybe I like my cocktails a little sweet or maybe it was the low quality vermouth.

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  1. Here in our house we drink Vespers, aka James Bond's martini:

    2 parts gin
    1 part vodka
    1 part Lillet
    Lemon peel

    As a side note, I was at a party and I said that I had never had a good Bloody Mary. A woman overheard me, spun around, and said "that's because there isn't one."
    And it hit me, I don't like Bloody Marys.
    Maybe you don't like martinis?

    7 Replies
    1. re: blackpippi

      Vesper purists will substitute for the Lillet because they've changed the formula since Ian Fleming's day (it's now just "Lillet" instead of "Kina Lillet" and is much sweeter). Cocchi Americano is apparently closer to the original flavor of Kina Lillet. Though it sounds like the OP might prefer the current version of Lillet, since he/she apparently likes things a bit on the sweeter side.

      1. re: monopod

        Not sure where I got this recipe from, but I see on Wikipedia that the original has a lot more gin and less Lillet, so yes I'm guessing this is sweeter.
        Sweet of course is relative as this is closer to a martini than say a lemon drop.

        1. re: melpy

          Bloody Marys and chicken wings. 2 things I should like but don't. The ingredients apart are perfectly fine, but when put together, ick.
          And the worst part is everyone looks like their having so much fun. I mean, is there anything more tempting looking than a bloody on a Sunday morning at brunch? It even comes with veggies. Who wouldn't want that (except me).
          And, when I first saw chicken wings I was like, let me at 'em. Then I ate one. Ugh.
          Why am I not invited to the food party?

          1. re: blackpippi

            Any chicken wings, or buffalo wings? If it's all chicken wings, do you like other chicken parts? I totally get someone not liking buffalo style wings.

            I don't like Bloodys. I love tomatoes and nearly all derivative products, except for tomato juice. Vodka does nothing for me either. I'll take a "breakfast martini" (gin, Cointreau, oj) at brunch.

            1. re: rcb4d

              Oops. I meant buffalo wings. It just seems like chicken with a vinegary spiciness should be good.
              Im not sure about tomato juice myself. I do however have a minor obsession with V8 juice which I know a lot of people can't stand. Tried to make a bloody with that and it was just as bad.
              Again, it just seems like the parts are better than the whole which confuses and stymies me.

              1. re: blackpippi

                Campbell's tomato juice is definitely my go to juice. I thoroughly dislike regular V8 but can tolerate the spicy if I have to. If I am buying BM mix I usually get spicy Mrs. T's. I like to use my own ingredient as much as possible. The vodka you use shouldn't be terrible. I prefer to use celery seed and garnish with something other than celery stalk.

      2. The Martini is one of the very few unsweetened cocktails. From your other posts, you gravitate toward fruitier, sweeter drinks. I'd suggest that you shelve the Martini. Try one every 5 years or so. At some point, you may find that your tastes have changed and you appreciate it for what it is. Or maybe it's not your thing.

        www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

        1 Reply
        1. re: EvergreenDan

          Lightly sweetened. Dry vermouth still has sugar but only a 1/3 as much as sweet vermouth such that the herbal bitterness makes it come across as dry. Unless of course you meant a Martini with no vermouth...

          And if you loath olives Yayme, the dash of orange bitters and garnish with a lemon twist is my preferred way. Then again, it's pretty rare that I want to drink a Martini -- it's not for every day in my book whereas as a Manhattan is.


        2. there are no laws in cocktail land -- nobody says you have to drink any particular drink.

          life is too short -- drink what you like!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sunshine842

            Also, be careful what you wish for! I use to feel the way you describe about brown booze in any incarnation. That has changed, um...significantly.

            In general, I think a taste for bitter anything is somewhat related to age.

          2. I thought I didn't like Martinis, either, until I realized I was using the wrong gin and vermouth combination formy personal taste. After multiple attempts at making them with various ratios of tanqueray, MM&R and an olive, I had almost given up. Then I made one with Citadelle gin and noilly prat in a 3:1 ratio, a dash each of Fee's and Regan's orange bitters and a lemon twist, stirred. Suddenly I understood the allure of the Martini. It took the right mix of ingredients for me to "get it".

            Oddly enough, I now enjoy a wide range of Martini recipes, from a very dry Hendricks/Lillet with a twist to a 4:1 Beefeater/M&R with no bitters and two olives, to 3:1 Seagram's/NP Gibson. Part of this i attribute to finding the right gins for my taste, and part i attribute to my tastes changing over time.

            I encourage you to play with ingredients and ratios before giving up, but maybe just not your drink.

            1. You need to Make a "wet" martini. Better and more authentic than a dry martini anyway. Keep those pickles for the charcuterie plate!

              Get a good bottle of vermouth (Vya or Dolin.) and a slightly sweeter than London Dry Gin(Plymouth, Voyager).

              2 oz gin, 1oz vermouth, 1 dash orange bitters, twist of lemon.
              Stir over ice and strain.
              Nothing better.

              8 Replies
              1. re: slabbit

                I totally agree with this advice. Make it wet first until you develop the taste for it. Then you can go progressively drier. ALSO, don't judge by the first taste. To be honest, a Martini is one of those that gets better as you go anyways...

                1. re: FriendOfTheDevil

                  Then again, tastes can be pretty unique. I'm not big on "wet" Martinis or a Martinez because for some reason I've just never cared for the pairing of strong amounts of gin and sweet vermouth. There have been some exceptions, but as a whole, it's like cocktails featuring gin and OJ, which is another pairing that usually doesn't click with me very easily.

                2. re: slabbit

                  I'd agree with this advice but add that I often make friends who don't drink Martinis a variation using Lillet or Dolin Blanc instead of dry vermouth.

                  3:1, stirred well, with a twist. It's a much more approachable drink.

                  1. re: Klunco

                    This is very close to spot-on for my martini tastes. My ideal is 3:1 Plymouth:Dolin Blanc with a expressed lemon twist. My only addition is a couple dashes of Regan's Orange bitters.

                    Minor quibble - Dolin Blanc is dry vermouth. It's just higher quality and more complex than say, the bottom shelf Tribuno.

                    1. re: rcb4d

                      That's interesting. Because they also make "Dolin Dry" I've always assumed the "Blanc" was something else, maybe an aperitif or a "blanc-style" vermouth due to it's higher sugar content.

                      According to this site: http://vermouth101.com/vermouth-style... It appears the Dolin Blanc is it's own style of vermouth rather than a dry vermouth. Either way, it's wonderful on the rocks with a twist of lemon or in the above cocktail!

                      Any cocktail nerds out there to explain this?

                      1. re: Klunco

                        I was dead wrong. I just looked at the sugar content, and the Blanc is closer to the Dolin Rouge than it is the Dry. And here I thought the sweetness was coming all from the Plymouth. So yes, the Blanc is definitely closer to an aperitif/Lillet style. I haven't seen the green label Dry on shelves here; I may have to seek that out.

                        1. re: rcb4d

                          Also, just an interesting aside... All vermouth starts out as white wine. Red Vermouth gets its coloring from a variety of sources. Historically, beet sugar helped contribute to the color, while caramel color has done the chore for quite a while now.

                          1. re: rcb4d

                            I have the Dolin dry and have never seen blanc, so there you go. I wasn't actually aware of the two entities until recently.

                  2. First off, a lemon twist is probably a better way to go than a cocktail onion. Second, the Martini is pretty sharp tasting, especially for someone who prefers sweet things to say, drinking a glass of chilled gin.

                    If you want to give it another shot, there are some variations besides the Vesper that could help you ease into it. You can replace some or all of the dry vermouth for a perfect or sweet Martini. You can return to the old school proportions and try fifty-fifty vermouth and gin, making sure you use a nice fresh vermouth and add some orange bitters, and perhaps use a gin on the sweeter side (could even try an Old Tom).

                    There are also drinks that add some liqueurs to the basic martini formula, like the Poet's Dream or the Atty. Adding even just a little absinthe or Benedictine can make for a drink that is a lot more palatable. Then there is something like the Fourth Degree, which basically adds in all of the above (equal ratios, sweet vermouth, absinthe).

                    Finally, you may just not be a Martini person, I don't think that means there's anything wrong with you. First Martini I had was a "Vodka Martini" in a bar and I thought it tasted like rubbing alcohol. I did eventually come to appreciate a good Martini, but I wouldn't drink one every day.

                    1. It's not you. I like gin. I like olives. I think combining the two is absolutely revolting. Onions in gin is just as bad.

                      The proper garnish for a martini (IMO, and the way it was originally constructed) is a twist of lemon.

                      The quality of vermouth makes a big difference. First and foremost, how old is it? If it wasn't freshly opened, have you been storing it in a fridge the whole time and vacu-sealing it between use? Vermouth can go bad quickly when opened and just left out with your other bottles.

                      I love my martini, which isn't so much mine as the one Robert Hess has in The Essential Bartender's Guide

                      2.5 oz Gin (I swear by Plymouth)
                      .75 oz. dry vermouth (I swear by Dolin dry)
                      2 dashes of orange bitters.

                      Combine all three, add ice, stir for about 35 seconds, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Peel a large piece of lemon over the glass (a vegetable peeler, like an OXO, is great for this BTW) and then squeeze the peel over the drink (yellow side facing the drink) to express oils. Place peel in cocktail glass and enjoy.

                      1. I'd like to thank everyone for their input. I like the Martinez, so yes I like I my cocktails a bit on the sweet side but not sickly sweet. And I enjoy a good blood Mary or Blood Margaret (that's one with Gin not Vodka).
                        the vermouth was brand spanking new and it's tribuno brand. I keep it in the fridge with the other wine based spirits. I own some fee brothers orange bitters. So I think I'll give this another shot. Maybe later today!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: YAYME

                          Well, there's part of your problem - Tribuno vermouth is pretty much bottom shelf, not very nice stuff. Spring for some Dolin or maybe Vya, and that might help.

                        2. >>> As cocktail fan, I know I'm supposed to enjoy a good martini. <<<


                          1. I had the same issue with scotch. Then I had the full immersion.

                            Fort William, Scotland, 1979. Friend and I stopped at a B&B and hit up a local for grub and a pint. Nottingham Forest beat Malmo for the European football championship. They quickly ascertained we were US, then Army, then both Airborne. Asked the fatal question, " So what is so great about scotch, and what is the difference between them?" A number of wiry tough guys took us for a romp through all things local. Verified our pedigree, and all stories of doing Parachute Landing Falls off of higher and higher roofs is a great exageration I hope.

                            You guessed it. Local training area for the SAS.

                            This was reenforced 18 months later by a wonderful Scotsman and his wife that subsidised a poor trooper at an Antiguan hotel by paying his bar tab as long as it was scotch.

                            I have enjoyed scotch ever since.

                            Arriving in the Normandy town of Ste Maire Eglise at midnight, 5/6 June 1979 is for another thread. We both wore Airborne T shirts.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: INDIANRIVERFL

                              >>> Arriving in the Normandy town of Ste Maire Eglise at midnight, 5/6 June 1979 is for another thread. We both wore Airborne T shirts. <<<

                              An amazing experience, I have NO doubt . . .

                              1. lemon twists. done.

                                you could perhaps try one of the white sweet vermouths.