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Feb 27, 2013 08:34 AM

So I finally get the annoyance behind people calling anything a martini.

I used to be one of those - who didn't get the big deal behind calling any cocktail in a martini glass, a "whatever" martini. Chocolate martini, key lime pie martini, lemon drop martini, etc. Don't get me wrong, I still love those sorts of *cocktails*, but, I agree. They are NOT martinis.

How did I come to this conclusion? After the 14th time I saw various bar cookie recipes on Pinterest labeled as brownies. Snikcerdoodle brownies. Blondie brownies. Lemon square brownies. I actually yelled at my computer screen - "Those are not brownies! Just because they're baked in a pan and cut into squares does not make them all brownies!!"

And then I got it.

Now I just have to get used to calling my favorite frou- frou drinks cocktails!

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  1. Amen. In my own universe, there are 2 drinks that can use martini in its name. The martini (and when I order one don't ask me gin or vodka) and the vodka martini (its called vodka martini because it doesn't use gin - says my PITA self).

    But if you put brownie mix in a martini glass, what would you call it?

    5 Replies
    1. re: Bkeats

      "But if you put brownie mix in a martini glass, what would you call it?"

      Bad judgment?
      A long night of binge drinking?
      All of the above?


      I agree with both of your posts, by the way.

      1. re: Bkeats

        <But if you put brownie mix in a martini glass, what would you call it?>

        Probably "the next big thing." Especially if you throw some bacon in there, along with a quarter cup of quinoa, served over iced bone marrow and garnished with acai berries.

        I will stop now, because I'm grossing myself out.

        1. re: small h

          Sorry to gross you out more, but didn't you forget the hay ash?

          1. re: MrsBridges

            I did, and I'm terribly ashamed to have done so. Please add some sea buckthorn to make up for my inexcusable lapse.

        2. It's too late to reverse a million things I see as serious mistakes, from saying "Gender" instead of "sex," writing "mic" instead of "mike" as short for microphone, and calling any damn thing served in a martini glass a "martini." But we can elect not to go along with any of these. So I don't.

          I'm also careful to make sure my bartender understands that when I say "martini" I'm asking for a gin drink that has vermouth as an actual ingredient, not simply swished around and then discarded. The late great bon vivant Lucius Beebe declared that "Anything drier than five to one is just iced gin!" and five:one is what I usually ask for. At home it'll be four to one, or even one to one with a dash of bitters, the original Dry Martini (so called because it uses dry vermouth instead of sweet, which was what the original martini had).

          17 Replies
          1. re: Will Owen

            The absurdly pretentious ultra-dry "martini" (opening the vermouth and passing it over the glass, anyone?) annoys me even more than the ludicrous profusion of candied so-called martinis.

            1. re: Perilagu Khan

              Technically there is an even drier one, the Murder McGrue version (in which you add the gin the ice and the olives, and drink it while LOOKING at a bottle of vermouth)

              1. re: jumpingmonk

                Hawkeye's version was "looking at a picture of a bottle of vermouth".

                Of course, his was made with homemade hooch. Col. Potter called it "Uncle Ben's perverted rice juice".

                1. re: WNYamateur


                  "You pour six jiggers of gin into a glass and then you drink it while staring at a picture of Lorenzo Schwartz, the inventor of vermouth."


              2. re: Will Owen

                I hafta ask.... what's wrong with writing "mic" as short for microphone? I do it all the time and would find it weird to write "mike" instead.

                1. re: linguafood

                  Up until quite recently (which to me means the late 1970s) "mike" was the standard abbreviation. "Mic" is the abbreviation used in circuit diagrams, and somehow that crept into standard written English.

                  What's wrong about it is that we say "Step up to the mike." We do not say "Step up to the mick." Which is how "mic" MUST be pronounced - English doesn't have many rules linking spelling to pronunciation, but pronouncing "mic" as "mike" breaks a few of them.

                  1. re: Will Owen

                    I'm with linguafood on the "mic" abbreviation. Not that I expect you'll change your mind, but here's an interesting column on this very conundrum, which includes at the end a mention of the pronunciation problem:

                    As far as the martini debate, Luis Bunuel, another late great bon vivant, preferred a dry martini. Check out this passage from his highly entertaining autobiography, My Last Sigh (I find the comparison of martini-making to the Immaculate Conception especially amusing):

                    'To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of the dry martini. To be frank, given the primordial role in my life played by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at least a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in America it was said that the making of a dry martini should resemble the Immaculate Conception, for, as Saint Thomas Aquinas once noted, the generative power of the Holy Ghost pierced the Virgin’s hymen “like a ray of sunlight through a window-leaving it unbroken.”

                    ‘Another crucial recommendation is that the ice be so cold and hard that it won’t melt, since nothing’s worse than a watery martini. For those who are still with me, let me give you my personal recipe, the fruit of long experimentation and guaranteed to produce perfect results. The day before your guests arrive, put all the ingredients-glasses, gin, and shaker-in the refrigerator. Use a thermometer to make sure the ice is about twenty degrees below zero (centigrade). Don’t take anything out until your friends arrive; then pour a few drops of Noilly Prat and half a demitasse spoon of Angostura bitters over the ice. Stir it, then pour it out, keeping only the ice, which retains a faint taste of both. Then pour straight gin over the ice, stir it again, and serve.

                    ‘(During the 1940s, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York taught me a curious variation. Instead of Angostura, he used a dash of Pernod. Frankly, it seemed heretical to me, but apparently it was only a fad.)

                    1. re: wasny

                      Good article about mic/mike, especially since the writer agrees with me ;-) I still find it impossible to reconcile that spelling with this pronunciation. As for his notes about veg and Reg, Reginald can spell his nickname anyway he wants - it's a proper name, after all - but on those rare occasions when I see some need to write a shorter word for vegetable, I spell it vedge.

                      1. re: Will Owen

                        "step up to the mīc, Mike, 'cause you know you eat shellfish"

                        Beastie Boys, circa 1983

                  2. re: linguafood

                    Went to a party whose caterer did that. It really does sound a hell of a lot better than it works … or tastes. The only party at which mashed potatoes should be served is a dinner party, I think.

                    The real boo-boo here was that the idiot KNEW it would be potatoes in those glasses, but was thinking "glasses" instead of "food receptacles" and didn't put out any utensils!

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Laughing about the no utensils. This is a good, inexpensive and fun thing to do for a large group. I had it first at a large cocktail reception (business, in a hotel). The last time was at a wedding -- the groom (my nephew) is an exec chef at a hotel, but his reception was at the country club back home where he worked while going to culinary school. His bride had worked there too as a server. The CC chef and staff decided to throw in the potato bar as their "gift" as a surprise and a kind of tribute to the groom's humble culinary beginnings. Since the reception was a nice mix of standard country club and casual, it worked and was a big hit.

                  3. re: Will Owen

                    When I first read your post, I thought you were in favor of using the word 'gender' instead of 'sex' and 'mic' instead of 'mike'. Mic is an abbreviation of the word microphone. There is no 'k' in the root word. Abbreviations do not need to be spelled how they are pronounced.

                    I always use 'mic' (I got into the broadcasting business in the 70s) and I find it annoying when news media use 'sex' when clearly they are referring to gender (as in same sex marriage should be same gender marriage).

                    1. re: John E.

                      The gender/sex misunderstanding certainly is widespread. However, I think your "same gender marriage" complaint is off target. "Same-sex marriage" is the correct term. Gender is a social construct--societies have developed definitions of "masculine" and "feminine" behaviors--while sex is biology. Same-sex marriage is a union between two (biological) men or two (biological) women, but each individual can identify his or her gender as male, female, both or neither. We can think about the difference between cross-dressing and sex reassignment surgery to help clarify the confusion.

                      1. re: wasny

                        You can explain it any way you wish, but I don't go along with it. It should not be 'sex reassignment' surgery. It should be 'gender reassignment' surgery. They can have sex any way they wish to. Gender is the term that differentiates us. The sex is all over the place.

                        1. re: John E.

                          Like many words, "sex" has more than one definition. In the term "same-sex marriage" it means the biological state of being male or female, not sexual intercourse. And unless we're talking about grammar, gender usually refers to behavior and social roles, not sex organs and chromosomes, so "gender reassignment surgery" would be pretty difficult for a medical doctor to perform.

                          To keep the discussion vaguely food-related, some gender stereotypes: Ladies lunch in tea rooms, real men prefer steakhouses.

                          1. re: wasny

                            Folks, we know this is the Not About Food board, but if you could, please try to keep the discussion at least vaguely related to food, rather than getting into things like mic/mike and sex/gender. They're a little too not about food, even for NAF.


                  4. And anything baked in a pan and cut into squares isn't a brownie!

                    Heh. I mean, if I start seeing "lasagna brownies", well, I just don't know what...

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Violatp

                      Viola - I've actually considered that, using filo instead of pasta, stewed cherries instead of tomato sauce and crumbled brownies instead of meat. cream cheese in lieu of ricotta.

                      the preceding dinner would look like a dessert.

                      but re: a strict definition of what qualifies as a Martini - welcome to the club. the rest are all valid cocktails, but deserve their own names without the suffix of -tini.

                    2. And "white chocolate" isn't chocolate.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rockandroller1

                        No, it's not. But "white cocoa butter" doesn't sound nearly as appetizing if you want dessert.

                      2. ...and what about the current trend of totally leaving out vermouth from a martini (without vermouth, it's just chilled gin), or ruining highly distilled gin with olive contaminated brine (to make a "dirty martini") or even using vodka to make a martini (originally only gin was used) or G-d forbid making a classic martini (original recipes called for gin:vermouth ratios of anywhere from 3:1 to 5:1)! My point is that times change, tastes change, and who's to say that putting any alcoholic concoction into a martini glass shouldn't be called a martini.

                        9 Replies
                        1. re: josephnl

                          Why does it have to be alcoholic ? Or even liquid ? Or even consumable ?

                          1. re: josephnl

                            I thought it was originally 1:1?

                            1. re: josephnl

                              I'm 57 years old , and clearly recall my father ordering a 'vodka martini with a twist' whenever we went out to dinner when I was a little kid. The 'current trends' of substituting vodka or waving the vermouth bottle over the glass for a dry martini have been firmly in place for at least 50 years.
                              That said, I agree with you completely that serving a cocktail in a martini glass doesn't make it a martini.

                              1. re: jmcarthur8

                                The martini cocktail dates back way before either you or your dad came onto this least as far back as the late 1800's. Indeed, jgg13 is correct, it was originally 1:1, and always made with gin. The trend has been towards gradually decreasing the amount of vermouth from 1:1, to 3 or 4:1, to a whisper of vermouth to none at all (which was my original point...without vermouth should it even be called a martini? True, martinis have been made with vodka for some time, nevertheless the classic has always been made with gin, and yes, with vermouth.

                                1. re: josephnl

                                  back in the mid-90's when I was a card-carrying member of Cocktail Nation (Purist Division), at one point I stopped ordering ultra-dry martinis and began asking for a "gin up, twist" as calling it anything else would have been treason to the cause.

                                    1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                      well you saw what happened to Trotsky...

                                      1. re: hill food

                                        Yes, however in an obviously failed attempt to be clever, my Or.......was in reference to "gin up, twist" Or....... "BeefeaterRocks"

                                        1. re: BeefeaterRocks

                                          HA! Beefeater's is good. I just never 'call' the liquor as the best martinis I've ever had were made by a total crab with the cheapest gin he could find to abuse and if that wasn't good enough, you were welcome to take your business elsewhere and advised you might even be happier (" 'cause I'm semi-retired and I don't need to take this shit...") he'd been 50 years behind the rail at that point, so who was I to judge.