Hedge commented in my “Seasonal Openings Part II” if I could add something about the martini I had at the Top Side Grill last Tuesday during Oyster Night. The comment box was not big enough for my thoughts on martinis.
What is wrong with the world today: bad martinis
The popularity of the Cosmopolitan and all these other Apple, lemon drop, fruity drinks that use a martini cocktail shaker is what is wrong with the world today. Order a martini and it may arrive looking like a gin/vermouth martini with olives but if the bartender used a shaker which they had previously used on a Cosmopolitan I can do a really good imitation of John Stuart (Daily Show) spraying my drink all over the wait staff. Even a few molecules of apple flavor are enough.
What is right with the world today: good martinis
A place that will dedicate a martini shaker to only gin/vermouth martinis. (Vodka contamination also acceptable.) Top Side Grill obviously does that. The fact that the martini glass is big enough so I don’t have to order two more doesn’t hurt. Three olives is one olive overkill but since they came with a red sword I would remove no points. They also followed the correct recipe:
6 parts gin, 1-2 parts vermouth, olive garnish
Jokes about waving a vermouth cap over the shaker, using a perfume atomizer, or saying the word vermouth while shaking is for idiots. It ain’t a martini if it does not have dry vermouth (Noilly Pratt is good) in it. The “dry” has nothing to do with the amount of vermouth.
Shaken or Stirred?
More nonsense. The molecules of gin and vermouth do not have a sense of direction nor do they get dizzy. But there is ceremony to be made around making a martini and I certainly have mine.
Joey posted about the chrome martini shakers at Bananas far enough in advance of Christmas so that both of my children gave me one. Both are like that one in the middle with the red Bakelite handle vintage 1930-40s before plastic was invented. Bakelite uses cellulose.
1) Fill shaker one third full with ice.
2) Add about one jigger of vermouth directly onto ice so it freezes.
3) Add gin until ice almost floats. (about 6 jiggers)
4) This step 4 is optional and completely opposite of my rant about the flavored drinks but a teaspoon of Rose’s Lime Juice for variety can be added here. (This drink is now named after me in a bar across the street from the Sacramento State House. At least that’s what we were told as they kicked us out.)
5) Replace top, screw on little spout cover also, grasp by spout and handle and swirl vigourosly. Do not hold anywhere near the bottom as that will start to get covered by frost. About 3-5 minutes. When the frost forms your martini is ready to be poured. With the frost on the outside you can leisurely have one martini and freshen it up to twenty minutes later and the amount of water added is still perfect. But finish the shaker by 30 minutes or it becomes too dilute. Hurry hurry.
These shakers have a convenient strainer built in.
That’s it. Oh, Richard Leonard, owner of Bananas also told me how to clean the chrome. Soft Scrub only. I’ve used them daily since Christmas Day and they are still gleaming and have not needed the Soft Scrub yet but heavy usage during the summer might change that. A last photo of one of mine along with two martini glasses also Christmas gifts from my children. I even got to open this one a week before Christmas.