November 25th, 2007


martini madness

One of the random things that happened this weekend at my parents was that my mom really wanted to try a "real" martini.  After a few missteps, we ended up with a bottle of Bombay gin, a bottle of Noilly Prat dry vermouth, some cheap (not Martini & Rossi, but something else) sweet vermouth, a lemon, and some olives.

Now mom is an olive fan, so she wanted to try a martini with dry vermouth - we were having a lot of fun getting the difference between "dry" and "sweet" versus "dry" and "wet".  The synopsis for our conversation, in case (like you would) you care:
  • A dry martini in a bar is one with little vermouth, and thus a wet one is one with vermouth approaching the levels - I was using a standard 3-1 ration of gin to vermouth.  Standard by classic methods, at least, you'd probably have to order a wet martini at a bar to get one approaching that ratio.
  • At my parents' house, when I said "dry" it was with dry vermouth with olive (with the exception below); if I said "sweet" it was with sweet vermouth and a twist of lemon.  The lemon was, unfortunately, sort of small, since they didn't have a channel knife.  They didn't have a proper measuring cup like I use, either, so I was estimating the 3-1 using a jigger (or making "two big 1.5 ounce jigger sides of gin and one 1 ounce vermouth jigger side" for me to drink the rest of the martini).
The first martini: 3 ounces Bombay gin, 1 ounce sweet vermouth, lemon.  Unfortunately, I forgot the bitters - but they only had Angostura bitters, so whatever.  It was liked, but kind of "eh" by mom.

Second martini: 1.5 ounces Bombay gin, 1/2 ounce dry vermouth, two olives on a skewer.  Mom liked that better but was still a bit eh.

At this point she wanted a dirty martini with sweet vermouth but I wasn't certain on that.  Which led to the invention of the night:

The Pickled Asparagus Martini
1 1/2 ounce gin (Bombay)
1/2 ounce dry vermouth (Noilly Prat)
1/3 ounce (approximately) pickled asparagus brine

Stir, garnish with a thin stalk of pickled asparagus

If you haven't had pickled asparagus before, it's, well, pickled asparagus.  It's not as strong as regular asparagus, but it's still pretty tasty and the kind we like - from a berry farm in Chesterfield county, Virginia - but you can get them at Harris Teeter stores near me, and the best I've had came from Columbus, OH, and were much spicier.

Then we made a standard dirty martini - replace the asparagus brine with olive brine.  That was mom's favorite by far, and I have to admit - I like me some dirty martinis.

In a couple of weeks I'll be on martini duty again, so we'll see what people think.