Saturday, December 19, 2009


Eastside Road, Healdsburg, December 19, 2009—
BEAN SOUP AGAIN tonight for dinner, exactly as last night; also same salad, same wine. That's just fine with me. The concept of never repeating a dinner across two or even three consecutive days doesn't make a lot of sense to me: but then I grew up in the country among people of modest means. (Come to think of it, lots of folks these days probably eat the same thing night after night; that's what keeps the fast-food franchises busy.)
What was different today was the Martini. Actually yesterday's was different too. I read somewhere last week about the really correct way to make a Martini, and decided to put it to the test. In the past I've made them three to one, gin and dry vermouth, shaken with ice cubes fifty-six times.
All wrong, according to the expert. Four to one, or even up to six or seven to one, depending on the brands of gin and vermouth, seems to be the right thing. Ingredients should start out at room temperature, and be stirred, not shaken, with ice cubes, from forty seconds to a full minute, depending on the temperature of the ice.
So today I stirred Lindseys Notini — equal parts gin and vermouth — for forty seconds, in a two-quart Pyrex measuring pitcher; and then I stirred up one for myself, three to one. And, you know, it makes a better drink. Yesterday I thought it was a tad wet, but as Lindsey pointed out it was a lot smoother. Today I thought more about it, and realized that while it seemed wet — I mean watery — at first, a few sips in that quality had disappeared altogether. The drink lasts longer, for some reason. Not that it stays cold longer; it doesn't; next time I'll freeze the glasses ahead, and I'm going to continue to keep the gin bottle in the freezer. It's not that it stays cold longer in the glass; it's that the drink is smoother, better integrated.
It helps, too, that this week we switched to a new vermouth: Donin. I think it's the best I've found. We're still drinking New Amsterdam gin, I almost blush to say; it's bottled by Gallo, and I feel a bit of a traitor, but it's inexpensive and smooth and nicely flavored in the Dutch style, not the English; with a hint of citrus and, I think, another hint, very subtle indeed, of vanilla. In any case, we like our Martinis, and we like them more this way.

1 comment:

Curtis Faville said...

Please read the E.B. White parody of Hemingway, "Across the Street and Into the Grill"--which was a take-off on EH's Across the River and Into the Trees certainly his worst novel by far and--in consequence of its critical reception--probably the instigation for the depressive neurosis which eventually killed him--in which the character standing for EH (Pearly) keeps telling the waiter, over and over again, "99 to one!"

Jon Carroll, reporting once on his trip to Scotland, described a B & B host, who upon opening the door, carried what appeared to be a glass of water, but which later turned out to be straight gin. Apparently, the lady was never without this accompaniment.

I can take certain vodkas straight--not the flavored ones--but straight gin doesn't work that way--it needs a touch of dry astringency.