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.

Looking for Dice-K

Yesterday I was minding my own business when I got an email from Florida.  A co-worker on vacation was at the Red Sox spring training game and sent a picture.  Then she said that Dice-K was pitching and Lowell, Pedroia and Youkilis were also playing.  Sent a wave of envy through my end of the floor when I forwarded the picture.

So the word on Daisuke Matsuzaka in his first spring training game is good.  Effective and efficient.  This this a good sign for the spring?  Will having pitched for the winning Japan in the World Baseball Classic hurt or help him in the long run? Hard to say.  But along with the various injuries that appear to be healing and Matsuzaka’s performance yesterday, the Sox look good. 

From the  Boston Globe’s Extra Bases blog

“Seventy-five pitches through five innings is ideally what we were hoping to get through today,” said pitching coach John Farrell after the Sox’ 4-3 loss in 10 innings to the Atlanta Braves.

“I surprised myself,” Matsuzaka said with a mischievous grin, suggesting he is growing tired of the constant questions about his pitch efficiency. “The Red Sox keep reminding me that I was a little bit ahead of schedule, but on the other hand, getting ready for the WBC put me ahead [of everyone else]. I’d like to take that in a positive way.”

There wasn’t much else to report from the clubhouse, where the Sox were eager to depart after two long road trips in two days. Farrell made repeated note of Matsuzaka’s willingness/ability to rely on his two-seam fastball, a pitch designed to quick outs and conserve pitches.

Matsuzaka also made a point of noting that he was working on his “movement,” suggesting he is more focused on, as Farrell said, “pitching to contact.”

The countdown clock to opening day reads 6 days, 7 hours, and 12 minutes.  It’s Spring!