The Four Letter Suffix That Ruins My Day

28 09 2009

I have a very large complaint with bars and restaurants that use the suffix “tini” when describing anything that comes in a martini glass.  I was invited to a seminar given by Steve Olson, founder of AKA: Wine Geek and the captain of the team responsible for creating numerous fine dining cocktail menus worldwide, and when he said “if it doesn’t have vodka or gin and vermouth, you are forbidden to call it a martini.”  I felt like jumping out of my seat and shouting “AMEN BROTHER!”.  Finally, a voice of authority to back up my sentiment on the lost art of making a good martini.

Most bartenders will claim that they make a great martini.  I’d be willing to bet that it will have a clever name that either references a flavor or describes something sexual.  Truth be told, most of these bar folks do make a nice cocktail and, I’m certain that they have the ability to make a great martini.  It’s time we stop confusing the two and call the drink by it’s correct name.

Q:  What is a Martini?f40ac358e405ae1e

A:  A martini, as stated in modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “a cocktail made of gin and dry vermouth”.  A Martini contains unequal portions of gin, or a substitute of vodka, and dry vermouth (somewhere between a 2:1 and 15:1 ratio) served chilled, in a conical stemmed glass, garnished with either a green olive or a lemon twist.  There are many ways to modify as well.  Dirty, bruised, extra dry, etc.  all determine a process that the mixologist will perform to enhance the flavor.



James Bond said that he wanted his martini “shaken, not stirred” because stirring bruises the gin.  Completely FALSE!!! Shaking, in fact, bruises the gin.  Mr. Bond really wanted his martini stirred, but his little mistake bred a whole generation of martini drinkers that liked it shaken and had no idea why.  Trust the man when you are in a dire situation and need an ejection seat, a smoke cloud and a parachute to escape.  But, please, stick with me when it comes to your cocktails!

The only differences are that shaking dilutes the martini more, bruises the spirit which changes the flavor, imparts small shards of ice in the drink and creates a chill haze (the cloudy appearance).  There is no correct answer to “Shaken or Stirred?”  It’s your preference entirely.

Q:  What is a cocktail?7157f3cb45d49060

A:  A cocktail, as stated in modern Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is “an iced drink of wine or distilled liquor mixed with flavoring ingredients”.  The key words are “iced” and “flavoring ingredients”.  Most training programs in restaurants will require the staff to ask a few questions when someone orders a vodka martini.  The same questions are not present if you order an “Apple-tini”.  Cocktails such as these are always shaken and always have flavor agents in them.  Thus, the ice and flavor components are there and, thus, making them all cocktails.

I hope this clears up the misconception about the martini.  It is one of the classic cocktails and we must preserve the history that it has brought to our drinking habits.  There are some great drinks out there, but we have to stop cheapening them with those four little letters that make me think of something very small.





2 responses

1 12 2010
Circuit Breaker

find dining might be expensive but the menu and service is always the best -~’

25 01 2011
Neon Light

*:~ I am really thankful to this topic because it really gives great information `*.

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