Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New York Times, Let Me In - Not By The Hair Of My Gin-ey Gin Gin

I read a NY Times article in 2007 called, No, Really, It Was Tough: 4 People, 80 Martinis, by Eric Asimov. The article itself was good, informative, not mind-blowing, but that title(great title), and the subject matter(GREAT subject matter), and the fact that he got paid for putting this delightful article together really got me. I mean, I fell in love at that moment with the idea that maybe, one day you or I or anyone could do something that we love(and get paid for it)...like being invited to have a 20 martini lunch with 3 friends, write about your experience(if you can remember it) and walk out with a big fat check for your "trouble". Yup, I was smitten. So recently, when I was taking my weekly, leisurely stroll through my neighborhood liquor store and spotted Pennsylvania's OFFICIAL Wine and Spirits Quarterly with this issue's headliner, "Gin Classics" it caught my eye. Now, I'm certainly no writer for the NY Times, and I'm anything but close to getting paid for writing my blog, but I know my way around a martini, and I've sampled my fair share(ok, who are we kidding, and YOUR share) of gin. So in the spirit of spirits, and with high hopes that one day I might be paid to have a 20 martini lunch, here is my Drink of the Month post...NY Times, let me in - not by the hair of my Gin-ey Gin Gin

This month I'm going to post a recipe(if you can even call it that) that is close to my heart...and on most nights my lips, gums and belly as well. It's a martini recipe, and about as simple as they come. But it's less about the recipe as it is about gin in general. I remember when I first fell in love with gin. I was at a gala filled with, well, lets call them "older than me" folks. I was easily the youngest person there. This was a classy shin-dig with an open bar and the only thing I could think to order at the time in my life(that wasn't a Jager Bomb or something along those lines) was a Cosmopolitan. Good choice. Classy and feminine. Then all of the sudden I witnessed a gentleman mosey(or maybe amble...no! saunter...yes...saunter!) up to the bar and order a, and I quote, "Beefeater on the rocks with a couple of olives". Ahhhhh! I had no idea you could order something without a "name". I didn't know you could just ask for something that you wanted...specifically wanted...that didn't have any sort of cute moniker. I was floored! So I ordered one(or 4) of them. Then I was in heaven...and then back to being floored again(more specifically on the floor later that night). But it grew on me, and now gin is most likely one of my great loves and yes, at times, great enemies. I think Eric Asimov called gin a "thinking person's spirit". It's vodka that took a year to study abroad and absorb all sorts of foreign ideas. It's a drink that was the ruin of many a great mind...but I'm sure that mind loved it while it lasted. I still love my gin(Bombay - not Bombay Sapphire - good 'ol Bombay w/the red and white label - but I drink Seagram's most often as it's most likely the best tasting gin for the money) on the rocks with a couple of olives. But I love martinis as well. My martini is often made to the liking of those who feel that a good martini is when you shake gin over ice, walk by the shaker with an open bottle of vermouth, then without adding said vermouth just pour the gin into a martini glass and add a few olives. There are may who feel this way. But if you want the best martini that actually follows the guidelines set by our martini creating forefathers, then this is the recipe for you. It's my husband's recipe(I think made especially for me but he'll never admit it), and it's wonderful.


-Enough gin to almost fill whatever martini glass you have(must be gin...a martini with vodka is a "vodkatini"...still good...but I have to go with tradition...not a "martini")
-About a half cap-full of vermouth
-3 olives(pitted)
-1 toothpick(I mean come on...if you're going to "class it up" and drink a martini you sure as hell don't want to be digging into your glass with your grubby little hands to fish out those olives)

Put a few ice cubes in shaker. Add the vermouth. Swish vermouth in shaker. Pour vermouth out(you just wanted to coat the cubes in vermouth). Add gin. Shake well. Pour in glass(straight up - sans ice). Add olive. Repeat...because you know you want to.

So I said "enough gin to almost fill whatever martini glass you have" right? But I didn't say what gin. Here is a rundown of many of the gin I've tried(not nearly all) that I think will be easy to find and are most certainly worth trying:

Beefeater - what I would consider to be a "mild" gin - not overly flowery - I've even been a few sheets to the wind and thought it was vodka(not one of my finer moments)

- A Philly produced gin - delicious au-natural or in a martini - it's got a great balance(something I adore in a gin) - I don't recommend for mixing with tonic though

Bombay - My favorite gin of all time - perfect mix(in my mind) of mild flavor and botanical essence

Sapphire - Heavy on the botanicals - I think it's overpriced

Citadelle - Perfect specimen of a French gin - they say they use 19 botanicals but it's not overpowering in the least - I would definitely try this if you're a gin-virgin

- Decent priced bar staple type gin - great for mixing - not flowery in the least

Hendrick's gin
- not for the faint of heart - this puppy packs a crazy punch of spices - I don't know what to recommend doing with it - but you should definitely try it once(buy a small bottle if you can find one)

Plymouth gin - This gin won the 4 people 80 martini taste test in the NY Times article I wrote about - they said it made the perfect martini - I like it as well and it does go well with a bit of vermouth(not every gin does) - I would most likely only use this gin for martinis

Seagram's Gin
- Good substitute for Bombay for the price and an all around winner - I use it in everything from martinis to tonics to on the rocks - very versatile - and from Canada you hosers

Tanqueray - I know a lot of people drink Tanqueray and Tonics and I have to admit, I'd rather have it with tonic than in a martini - but it's good in it's own right

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