To help you recover from the epic post about Rigs, Pt. I, I'll tell you about what I'm drinking tonight.
Tonight I'm drinking my Facedown Martini.
What's a Facedown Martini, you ask?
You start with a big sized shaker like I have. The cap on top of the shaker holds, no bullshit, about 2-2.5 normal shots. I think it's big so that drunks can pour liquor into it without missing too badly.
You put some ice in the bottom of the shaker. It's a big shaker, but don't overdo it on the ice there Admiral Perry.
I like my martinis about 5:1, with a couple green olives in 'em. Stirred is better than shaken, but I'm in the ManCave tonight, and damned if I'm walking upstairs to get me a spoon. Stirring doesn't bruise the gin, which I guess is a consideration if you're on the Tanqueray or the Bombay Sapphire or some other delicate flower of juniper-inspired rotgut.
Me, I'm on the Beefeater tonight, which is a damn good gin, but it's like God's own diaphonous straight razor to clean the muck out of your mouth and your throat. It's real good at getting the bad taste from your mouth if you just spent the week litigation footsoldiering with the 82nd Chairborne, as I just did after several years mercifully removed from that scene. Beefeater is really sublime in a gin & tonic; it's a bit too broad-shouldered, too Carl Sandburg, for a good martini, but it's all I got right now. Like beef, it's what's for dinner, so that's what I'll use.
Now you put some ice into the shaker.
Because I'm a jackass and went to lawschool to avoid doing math (cue Malibu Barbie: "Math is hard...") I'm not going to do the delicate calculations required to figure out how much vermouth is required to produce a 5:1 ratio when opposing two shots of gin.
No, because I'm a jackass, I'm pouring 5 of those stout shots of gin into the shaker, and 1 shot of dry Vermouth. Yeah, we're going top drawer tonight with the Martini & Rossi. Going top drawer with Vermouth is like asking the barkeep, "Give me a mug of your best draft Schlitz." Frankly Vermouth is a bit of a broken down whore when it comes to martinis. People do drink Vermouth, but they are like absinthe drinkers, without the tasty booze, the high class bohemianism, and the opioid addiction. But it's not about the Vermouth. The martini is all about the gin. What the hell Vermouth is even doing in the drink is a little beyond my kenning, but that's how you make a martini so that's what I'll do.
If you skip the vermouth in your martini, it's probably a signal that you're an alcoholic and so desparate that you are okay with pounding big glasses of straight gin. So I'll put the Vermouth in, in some ratio. Some people like a 9:1 or 12:1 martini. That's where you take the Vermouth, wave it in front of the glass, yell "PSYCH!" at the gin, and then slam whatever's in the glass. 12:1 is a little too dry for my tastes. I still think 12:1 is a feasible argument that you're drinking a martini, at least as feasible if not more feasible than the Straight Martini, which involves drinking the gin straight from the bottle before you get to the cash register at the liquor store. Yep, some people love 'em a 12:1 or similarly dry mix.
But not me, I'm a 5:1 man, which is medium-ish. Plus I've got the big shaker, and a bad case of innumeracy and have trouble even counting to 12. So in go 5 shots of Beefeater, the number 5 is easily counted on my bare foot which I have on the desk in front of me as I write this. That's followed shortly thereafter by a single shot of Vermouth.
Gently shake the mixture. You don't want it really shaken. James Bond is an asshole. If you go and shake a bunch of gin real hard while it's in a bucket of ice, you're probably the kind of guy who shakes your baby, and slaps your wife around just on just for fun. Gin is delicate, alright? It's a flowery drink. So you stir it, the little flower. It's frail. Which is a pretty weird characteristic for a drink that was the 19th century equivalent of Mad Dog mixed with crack, causing one wave after another of ridiculous social problems in the England of that era... but there you go.
After a couple seconds of very mild shaking, you stop shaking. It's better if you never shook but stirred, but like I said, it's 11 steps to the upstairs and I'm boycotting the stairs for now. When you're done shaking, pour some out into a glass.
Now it just so happens that I have these 10 ounce frickin' Margarita / Martini glasses that I got from Ikea for a buck a piece, or maybe 99 cents. It doesn't really matter how much they cost, that price difference, unless you're buying a couple thousand of them or something, just isn't relevant. The salient point about these glasses is that they are big, they have the appropriate triangular sort of shape on top of a long stem and small round base, and they are stout. Stout enough to withstand getting damn near dropped on the coffee table. They are a serious drunk's martini glass.
After you pour the glass to about 93% full, drop a couple green olives in. Now I go with the green olives because that's just how I roll. Some people like those tiny little cocktail onions. I'm cool with that, but these cocktail onion people... man, they just can't leave it alone. It's like a religious thing or something. An olives-in-the-martini guy will just talk about martinis. It's implicit that martini = martini with an olive or two, no big thing. It's like getting cheese and tomato sauce on a pizza. Okay, there's such a thing as White Pizza, but it isn't really pizza 'cuz there's no sauce and thus it isn't really pizza, so the name's different. To us, a martini has an olive, and if it doesn't, it should have a special name reflecting that fact, like, "olive-free martini."
Wait, did I just write, "free martini?"
Okay, thanks. Don't mind if I do.
Where were we? Oh yes, the onion people... they can't help themselves. They're like PeeWee Herman in the adult theater, skulking around furtively. You say, "I'd kill for a good martini" and they seem to be required to say, "I love a martini with onions." They are the kind of people who get upset about white pizza being called white pizza. They'll tell you this too.
At this point you can just look at them and send a telepathic message, "Shut the fuck up about the onions before I kill you." Right about then they say, "Ever had a martini with onions? Damn, it's good." At this point, you're free to take up bourbon drinking. If you really need to shut them up you can take a small jar full of cocktail onions, gently soak it in warm water for 15 minutes, then cram it down their onion-lovin' throat.
Whoa. That was an epic digression. Now where was I again? Oh yeah, pouring the drink. You pour it into the big-ass glass, sit at the computer, and tell your friends about it. Watch out - you don't want to spill any of it. Granted, with a 5:1 ratio of gin, any you spill will evaporate pretty quickly. And it's not like you're going to notice. But you don't want to stink like gin the next day and give people the (probably correct) impression that you are a drunk.
The first few sips will be pretty raw. You didn't shake much (right?) so there isn't a lot of water in the drink. The flavor of the olives hasn't really infused the drink (Have you tried it with onions? A martini with onions totally kicks ass man! I'm telling you. It...) so it's a bit raw on that count too. You can really truly taste the gin. (Hope you didn't use Gordons here... that stuff is really kind of nasty).
After the first couple sips, your lips go pleasantly numb. You can check in a mirror and notice your lips are still there. But mentally they're in Ipanema, dancing with a local girl who is wearing a fruit basket for a hat and nothing else.
About two thirds of the way through the glass, the drink will become inexplicably smooth. Actually, it's pretty explicable; you've drunk 6 ounces of gin in about 10 minutes, and your taste buds just shot out your ears along with your good judgment. As it warms, you'll notice the taste of liquorice. That taste is either coming from the Vermouth, or from your medium hot Quoleum embrocation, which you are spooning into your mouth like peanut butter.
You get down to the bottom of the glass, munch on the olives and pause for a second. You realize, life is pretty damn good. You chuck out the pits, and take a peek in the shaker. Holy schmoley, it looks like there's a whole 'nother glass of martini in that shaker. This one is lightly watered thanks to your modest dosing of ice, and it promises to go down real, real easy.
And this is the point where I'm going to retire from martini blogging for the evening while I'm still capable of typing. Seriously - fingies are numb, lips are numb, brain is slowly disengaging.
As I'm passing from semi-functional into oblivion, it occurs to me that the legendary three martini lunch explains a lot of the things that went down in this country in the 50s and 60's. A lot of things that rate as clinically insane probably seemed like good ideas after the second or third martini.
And there we are. That's what my famous Facedown Martini is all about. In case you wondered, I enjoy having guests over for Martini Night from time to time. It's not really Martini Night until somebody is sitting in the rocking chair, snoring as if they were suffering from a grade 3 concussion. That's going to be me in about 5 minutes. Right after I finish this next one.