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8.11.2007

A quick note about the Martini

I HAD HEARD THAT bartenders can be skittish on the subject of vermouth, but, in the last few months, I have discovered a rather startling phenomenon. On two separate occasions, in two separate bars, I had bartenders serve a gin Martini without any vermouth in it at all, and act surprised when I complained. The Martini has only two necessary ingredients (three if you use orange bitters, but few bars carry them); if you leave out the vermouth, you're serving a straight shot of gin. One bartender had to be cajoled into putting the Vermouth in, and then added it in drops, like he was dropping acid into a base and was afraid the whole thing might explode at any second.

"Customers don't like vermouth," he explained. Well, then, they don't like the Martini, and should be steered to another drink. I'm frankly flabbergasted by this. What self-respecting bartender takes a drink order, and then deliberately leaves out the defining ingredient, without even bothering to ask the customer if that's what they want? Here's a hint to area barkeeps: If a customer orders a gin Martini, and even goes so far to specify what gin they want in it, chances are they want a Martini, and not a glass of gin with an olive in it.

You know what else people don't like? Bitters and rye whiskey, so I must assume that when someone orders a Manhattan from these bartenders, they get served a maraschino cherry, and nothing else. (SPARBER)

9 comments:

robert said...

So I consider myself a martini-man. I don't consider vodka cocktails served up to be martinis. I don't consider anything with fruit in it to be a martini -- but I always drink my "martinis" with gin, a little dirt, 2 olives and NO vermouth.

I agree that a bartender should never assume you don't want vermouth.... but am I still drinking a martini?

Chuck Olsen said...

PRAISE YOU, MAXWELL!

steve said...

I had the same happen to me , but only once . lots of times I have taught them how . I like both vodka & gin . At home I use Beefeaters cause it has the highest alcohol % .

Anonymous said...

I mixed a dirty vodkatini for a women at my bar recently and she complained - said it was too bitter and that a dirty martini substituted olive juice for vermouth. I didn't tell her there was no vermouth in the drink.

Anonymous said...

Holy Jesus. Don't you guys still write about cocktails? How could you have run out of material so quickly?

Britt said...

This is a travesty that merits a call for legislation. Let the Holy Crusade begin! Real Martinis!

Steve said...

times are changing! I realize the classic martini calls for vermouth. but I have been bartending for 8 years and when I make martini's WITH vermouth they get sent back. When I make them without they order another. What city are you in? Chicago here.

And fyi...I always use both sweet vermouth and bitters in my manhattan's.

David Foureyes said...

Amen! Seriously, there are definitive recipes for all classic cocktails set forth by the IBA and a martini has two: gin and dry vermouth. I will go so far as to say a vodka martini is vodka and dry vermouth, but outside of that, what's being ordered or served can hardly be considered a martini.

Does putting a drink in a martini glass make it a martini? I don;t think so.

Dirty Dan Sin said...

My rule is that you don't want to add vermouth as a true ingredient, but simply coat the chilled glass with it . I wouldn't want it poured into my blend either.