The Martini

I grew up with parents that drank martinis – made with gin.  I still drink them as does my 91 year old mother.  I love that scene in “The Thin Man” with Nora and the 7 martinis lined up in front of her and Nick  giving the bartender lessons in making the perfect one.  I was very happy to hear this story last weekend on NPR.

Can you imagine James Bond asking for a chocolate butterscotch martini? Or an apple martini, lemon drop martini or prickly pear martini?

Unlikely for the suave superspy.

A martini is certainly more than a drink. It’s long been an embodiment of style and sophistication — and it’s popular again. It’s often served with this sort of unorthodox twist.

Putting a drink in a long-stemmed V-shaped glass does not make it a martini. A martini is this: gin and dry vermouth. And maybe an olive or two. Or a twist of lemon peel. It is ice cold and crystal clear, never green or pink. I don’t begrudge anyone a chocolate-flavored vodka drink. Just don’t call it a martini.


Gin Martini at Bombay Club in Washington, D.C.

I’m not quite a purist:  I like mine on the rocks.   And I’m lucky to have married a man who learned to make a martini at the Ritz.  We did invent the “Dice-K” (substitute sake for vermouth) in honor of Daisuke Matsuzaka’s first season as a Red Sox pitcher.  But I still stick with gin – Plymouth gin.