Friday, May 28, 2010

A Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On

When it comes to doing things around the house, or rather, doing things right around the house, who better to turn to then your mom or grandma? These are the women that have been through it all, so they know exactly what to do and how to do it. You can't put a price on their knowledge. So when I saw the book How to Sew a Button by Erin Bried I quickly started perusing through it. The author, who is a senior staff writer at Self Magazine, has collected a wide variety of tips and tricks for everything from how to unclog a toilet to how to make a pie. I of course immediately went to the chapter on entertaining. With Memorial Day weekend upon us, I decided I would give the classic martini another try. A few years ago I was at Maria's Italian Kitchen in Pasadena waiting for our table at Kabuki, which is next door. I chose to order a classic martini, having seen this stylish drink in movies and TV shows galore. I mean the people that order and drink this cocktail always look so debonnaire and wordly. Hello? James Bond. If so many people swear by this drink, it must be good right? Well for me, quite frankly, it was disgusting. It tasted like rubbing alcohol! I was pretty appalled. I managed to finish about half of it, but only with really small sips. That experience completely turned me off to that cocktail. I do admit I usually prefer much sweeter drinks, but I'll try almost anything once, and now I guess twice. I would like to think that the bartender just didn't know how to mix a good martini. So with that I'm going to give the martini another try. Bried includes ten grandmothers in her book who offer up their hard-earned wisdom. In the chapter on entertaining she covers how to make your own beer, your own dandelion wine and of course how to mix the perfect cocktail. For this martini she uses 2 ounces of gin, 1 ounce of dry vermouth, a dash of orange bitters, and a lemon twist at the end. Of course I shook and did not stir. The result? A potent, aromatic, and refreshing drink. I can't say that I loved it, because even though it wasn't like gulping down a mouthful of rubbing alcohol, it wasn't exactly what I'm used to drinking. I like my drinks sweet. Not sickly sweet, but still with a sweet edge, and this drink is just too intense and sharp for my taste buds. I could detect the layers of flavors within the gin and the orange bitters, but I just needed more sweetness. I do have to say that it packs a punch - not a sissy drink by any means. At the very least I'm ready to watch one of my favorite shows on the big screen again tomorrow, and I won't be wondering how those martinis taste for Samantha, Carrie, Charlotte, and Miranda.

My Classic Martini
From what I've read, this is a classic martini (and by the way there is an endless amount written about the martini, all the different versions, the "rhythm" that should be employed when shaking, the garnishes, the origin of the name, the ratios of gin to vermouth, vodka vs. gin, etc, etc, etc....). There is also a dirty martini, that uses olive juice and olives, but I will definitely have to try that one from a professional. I'll just make sure to get reviews first.
Book Cover Photo: From website

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