February 3, 2011

"Otherwise known as a 'Jump-the-Shark' martini?"

Comment #4 on this NYT food blog item which rhapsodizes insanely about a "grilled cheese and tomato soup martini":
Shawn Soole, a crack bartender from Brisbane, Australia... starts with his own batch of “grilled cheese rum” — dark, viscous Mt. Gay “washed” overnight with a real-live grilled cheese sandwich, a seeping process to extract essential flavors and infuse them into the rum, before adding fresh-muddled tomato and basil, salt, Lillet Blanc and Glenfiddich Scotch whiskey. The effect is extraordinary: the grilled cheese rum leaps off the palate with flavors of cheddar, bread and butter, mingled with a dark sweetness, while the Lillet Blanc prevents the texture from veering into Bloody Mary territory. Topping the cocktail off with a drop of Glenfiddich adds a hint of off-the-grill smoke and evokes sipping, grilling and dunking.
There's a gut-wrenching/laughable recipe at the link.

ADDED: Why not just make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich, heat up some Campbell's Tomato Soup, and pour yourself a big tumbler of rum? Or if you want to be snobby, make a real martini: It's gin + vermouth. That's a martini.

47 comments:

royce.dunbar said...

Not a Martini. A Martini is Vodka or Gin and Dry Vermouth with an Olive. With a pickled onion it's a Gibson.

This - and many other abominations - are simply crap served "up" in a cocktail glass.

ironrailsironweights said...

Ridiculous. A martini has three, and only three, ingredients: gin (not vodka), vermouth, and an olive. Anything else renders it not-a-martini.

Peter

royce.dunbar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
k*thy said...

Why? Because you only dirty one glass.

Chip S. said...

"Anything else renders it not-a-martini."

I must dissent a bit from this otherwise fine sentiment: A twist of lemon is quite acceptable-gives a cleaner taste to good gin than an olive.

Freeman Hunt said...

So gross I didn't finish the pull quote.

What are all these various flavored "martinis?" Aren't they entirely different drinks?

Bob_R said...

At first the craft cocktail movement got us away from all the high fructose corn syrup concoctions. But some of these silly infusions really aren't any better.

traditionalguy said...

The Infused flavors sound great, but why not eat food and drink wine/liquor along with the foods here on the earth? They make this sound like a meal put into a squeeze bag that astronauts are stuck eating. Oh, well, what's the latest drink fad. I'll stick with brandy straight up.

Henry said...

What I like to do is soak a batch of charcoal briquettes in fermented cow piss. I serve that up in a party margarita glass that's been pressed against raw hamburger then carefully rimmed with fireplace ash. I call it the "Grilling Adventure" martini.

KLDAVIS said...

No, a real martini is gin, always gin never vodka, and vermouth with perhaps a dash of orange bitters and always a lemon twist. Olives, onions and pickles should not be placed anywhere near a real martini.

traditionalguy said...

This sneaky Bartender wants to "Ob-fus-cate" the flavors. But if there was no write up and you do a blind taste test, I bet nobody would ever order this drink again.

edutcher said...

No, no, no. A martini is vodka and vermouth, shaken, not stirred.

Actually, it doesn't count as a martini if Dita Von Teese isn't swimming naked in it.

Ann Althouse said...

ADDED: Why not just make yourself a grilled cheese sandwich, heat up some Campbell's Tomato Soup, and pour yourself a big tumbler of rum?

With enough rum, you can forget the grilled cheese and tomato soup.

PS Now that's a masthead.

Ann Althouse said...

"A martini is vodka and vermouth, shaken, not stirred."

People used to say "vodka martini" to indicate that they wanted the substitution of vodka for the traditional gin. Traditionalists don't consider that a martini. In the old days, the only question about a martini -- other than whether you wanted it up or on the rocks (which normally determined whether you got an olive or a twist) -- was how little vermouth to put in. There were many jokes and cartoons about the minimalism of the vermouth. Rinse the glass with a little vermouth and pour it out. Little spray bottles to mist the vermouth into the glass. Wisecracks about how the vermouth was in the next state.

MadisonMan said...

Gin goes in a martini. With vermouth, and a twist of lemon.

'Vodka martinis' (God, it hurts even to type it) are for people with no tastebuds.

B....... said...

What's wrong with a craft cocktail? Craft and Commerce in San Diego makes an "UP In Smoke" cocktail from Beer (Allagash Curieux), Laphroaig (Islay Scotch). Fuji Apples. and Lime. Sounds weird, but tastes great! I'd try that cheese and tomato soup "martini". But yeah, it is a cocktail not a Martini.

Superdad said...

People - a Vodka martini is not a martini. It is a Vodkatini. Martini = gin. Claiming vodka can make a martini is as silly as saying you can use Nutella to make a peanut butter sandwich. It might taste good but it is something else.

Freeman Hunt said...

Why would you want to mix all those flavors anyway? Would you whirl your dinner in a blender before eating it?

Chip S. said...

Now, about the abominable practice of shaking a martini vigorously instead of stirring it gently....

I blame Ian Fleming.

D.D. Driver said...

Hmmmmm....a "real live grilled cheese sandwich."

You mean like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFT20cpu9C0

Mark said...

The quote engaged my gag reflex.

The perfect martini is ice-cold gin that has entertained naughty thoughts about a three-way with its partner olive and some willing vermouth.

Will said...

My favorite martini:
3 parts gin (I like Tanqueray 10 or Bombay Sapphire), one part vermouth (Noilly Prat is my favorite at the moment) and a couple dashes of Fee Bros. Orange bitters. Stir with cracked ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist for a clean, fruity flavor. Or use an olive or an onion for a more earthy flavor.
Stirring works just as well as shaking, in my book, the key is to do it long enough for the drink to get really well chilled.

LordSomber said...

Being an Aussie, you'd think he'd prefer Bundaberg over Mt. Gay.

Sigivald said...

Chip: True, but that's a garnish, not an ingredient.

Coketown said...

We have a martini bar in town called V-bar, which I avoided until last weekend because I thought it was a lesbian bar. I'd never had even a gin + vermouth martini before, so trying all the different combinations and styles was fun. I'm not an alcohol snob so "good" is about as descriptive as I get. But I'm always skeptical of people who begin a critique by invoking what the drink did to their palate. That's how amateurs feign pompous expertise. Remember Sofia? "No, no...it lingers on the palate."

Moose said...

Not to mention the god awful things they do to Manhattans.

Cherry juice - urk...

Old N' Cranky said...

...this is why i drink Bourbon...

Dewb said...

I ate a prix fixe dinner at Alan Wong's in Honolulu last winter. The appetizer course included tomato soup, served in a martini glass, with a baked cheese cracker laid over the top. It was delicious.

I wish people would just admit that they like the shape of the glass, and not call anything that ends up in the glass a martini. But we're long past the point of no return.

ironrailsironweights said...

Pictographic symbols outside many New York City parks and playgrounds indicate prohibited activities. There's a radio with a red slash through it (no radio playing), a dog with a red slash through it (no dogs allowed), and so on. The sign for "no alcoholic beverages allowed" is a martini glass with a red slash through it. I mean really, how many people who drink in a public park are going to be drinking martinis??

Peter

ricpic said...

Sounds like upchuck in a glass to me.

William said...

The martini was the drink of choice among high functioning alkies during the golden age boozedom. There was a certain amount of disapproval attached to drinking straight up gin doubles, but you could order a very dry martini and so maintain your status as a sophisticate rather than a lush.

Blair said...

I prefer the lemon twist to the olive. The combination of gin and vermouth, if done in the right ratio, should make it taste slightly salty, so the lemon is complementary. The olive just adds to the saltiness/bitterness of the drink, so you may as well not even have it in there. To my taste buds, it's like drinking sea water.

And yes, it must be gin! The original point of a martini was that gin is a bitter-tasting drink, so the vermouth took the edge off. Vodka doesn't have that problem - you can just drink it straight. Adding vermouth to vodka is a pointless exercise - there are no flavours in the vodka with which the vermouth can merge.

The best gin to use is Tanqueray. Not the No. 10 though - it's too smooth (but great for Churchills). And you stir - never shake. Nothing worse than a frothy martini!

k*thy said...

but you could order a very dry martini and so maintain your status as a sophisticate rather than a lush.

Yeah, that's what they all say.

Coketown said...

All these novelty drinks seem to be the icy hand of post-modernism creeping up on the last vestiges of art: booze, wine, and cuisine. You'll know it succeeded when you find a "martini" made with Hawaiian Punch and Vick's vapo-rub.

Blue@9 said...

Had a martini last night. Dirty.

Triangle Man said...

It's from Australia? Makes sense. You could enjoy it with your pie floater. A meat pie served in a bowl of pea soup, with tomato sauce on top.

Palladian said...

There is only one proper way to make a martini:

4 parts Plymouth gin
1 part dry white French vermouth (Dolin is the best, Noilly Pratt has changed formula and is no longer good for martinis)
Optional: dash of orange bitters

Pour ingredients into a chilled shaker full of ice. Stir (NEVER shake) for 20-30 seconds.

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a piece of lemon zest or a rinsed, brine-cured green olive.

Any other formulation is not a martini. And a martini is a cocktail of gin and vermouth. Anything less than a 4:1 ratio of those ingredients is just chilled gin.

MadisonMan said...

Chilled gin is a-ok too.

LordSomber said...

Always enjoyed the Gibson variation (cocktail onions replace olives).

Paddy O said...

I'm a gimlet guy myself, but certainly do appreciate a good example of an authentic martini.

Basically, my thought is that all these specialty approaches are for people who don't actually like alcohol. It's the college binge drinking style, where it's all for the effect or craziness of it, rather than delight in the tastes for what they are. Some bars feed into that, and those aren't places I'd want to go, because they get the sorts of crowd that want the enjoyment of the atmosphere of alcohol more than the enjoyment of the good taste of alcohol.

Some places do it right. Like the Teardrop Lounge in Portland. If you like alcohol, in all its various splendor and guises, they not only serve great drinks but appreciate the history. One of the best times I had there was when we went and asked for recommendations. We'd give a brief description of some flavor, or mood, or whatever and they'd put together something that more often than not tasted great and as they served it they'd give the history of that drink, often from pre-prohibition days. They are historians as well as connoisseurs of cocktails.

That's my plug for the day. Now off to pour some gin and Rose's.

Kiru said...

A flavored martini is a shooter for someone who thinks they're too good for shooters.

(and a vodka martini has it's own name... that's a Bradford)

Nora said...

I like a dash of Curacao or Cointreau in my martini.

Nora said...

I like a dash of Curacao or Cointreau in my martini.

Bob_R said...

I don't think the "not a martini" crowd has a leg to stand on. Certainly can't stand on history. The 19th century Martini is very different than what we drink today (lots of sweet white vermouth). I think that you just have to live with the fact that you can't just order a Martini and expect to get your favorite drink any more than you can order a "steak" and know what to expect. Judge a drink by its taste not how someone chooses to market it.

I'm pretty ecumenical on Martinis. I like just about any gin Martini with a good dry vermouth from about 6-1 to 12-1 garnished with olives. (But if someone puts in a twist or an onion I'm not going to turn it down.) One really nice recipe I read in a Charles McCarry novel (I think) calls for 8-1 Bombay Safire and Noilly Pratt (old formula) and exactly one drop of Pernod. (Use a medicine dropper. Two drops is too much.) Good drink.

KLDAVIS said...

The Martini never contained sweet vermouth, however it's precursor the Martinez did. The Martinez also called for Old Tom Gin (as opposed to London Dry). Old Tom is a sweetened gin, mostly a lost art these days. However, there's a very interesting one from Ransom Spirits in Oregon that's aged in Pinot Noir barrels.

Adding a drop or dash of sweet liqueur (Curacao, Cointreau, Maraschino) and/or absinthe or absinthe substitute (Pernod) to an existing drink formula is a very old tradition. It's old enough, and respected enough that the process turns any "X Cocktail" into an "Improved X Cocktail".

Old N' Cranky said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawn said...

It's amazing how this has spread. Read the article and you will see that it is in fact called a "Cold Night In" NOT a "martini" of any kind.

Oh and by the way a "vodka martini" is called a "Kangaroo" and a proper "classic" (because it seems everyone wants their two cents) martini has a dash of orange bitters.

Hayford Peirce said...

Bob_R -- I was glad to see your reference to the Charles McCarry novel. It means I'm not losing my mind. I've been a big fan of the McCarry books for years now, and own all of them. I vividly remember a scene in one of them in which one of the characters who appears in most of the books, the Old Gentleman, I think, the head of McCarry's version of the CIA (McCarry actually was a CIA agent in Africa for a number of years), instructs a bartender in an upscale Manhattan watering hole how to prepare a martini for him. I forget the actual gin and proportions, but OG (the Old Gentleman) hands the bartender a medicine dropper and tells him to add ONE drop of Pernod. And to keep the dropper for his next visit. According to the book, OG had left droppers all over town....

Crazy, but I have been unable to flip through the books and find the exact reference. Some of them are LONG books....

I came to martini-drinking *after* reading the book, which is why I didn't fully focus on it at the time. My own recipe:

1.) Keep a bottle of Plymouth gin in the freezer.

2.) Use Boissiere vermouth at room temperature.

3.) Keep martini glasses in the freezer.

4.) Put a lot of ice into a shaker (which has NOT been in the freezer -- that makes the martinis TOO icy), then measure in 5 parts gin to 1 part vermouth.

5.) Shake VERY vigorously.

6.) Strain into the glass taken directly from the freezer. There should be a little slush on the top of the liquid.

7.) Don't insult the martini with olives, onions, lemons, or other rabbit food.

8.) Keep the shaker and its ice and strainer handy -- there will be a little bit of semi-frozen martini lurking within that can be poured into the glass in five minutes or so....