The Maximal Dryness Effect
At DC Drinks, we love the rituals surrounding the consumption of alcohol. But none is more absurd or funny as the fetishes that surround adding as little vermouth as possible when mixing a dry Martini. Lowell Edmunds' excellent book, "Martini, Striaght Up", has some great accounts of what the author calls the "Martini-rite" which developed in the early 1950s:
"The proportion of vermouth to gin could be further reduced if one placed the vermouth bottle next to the gin and turned the bottle slowly so that the label, with the word 'vermouth,' was exposed to the gin for perhaps a second."
"In the 1960s Hammacher Schlemmer introduced the vermouth dropper, a long, calibrated eyedropper designed to fit into a vermouth bottle."
"The fetishist might keep his vermouth in storage and merely whisper 'vermouth' over the gin or salute in the direction of France."
"Lyman Metal Products invented the Martini scale, a device with a jigger for vermouth and a larger one for gin suspended at either end of a crossbeam that could be adjusted to secure proportions up to 25:1."
"Between 1967 and 1970, Mr. Fred Pool invented the Martini stones. These were marble stones to be soaked in vermouth and then placed in the gin. Mr. Pool told me that these stones were not mere gimmickry. They made the vermouth taste better by neutralizing its acid."
This foolishness sticks with us today. It's gotten to the point that all Martinis are assumed to be dry. But people forget that vermouth is actually a decent beverage and should be added liberally to the gin.
But more on the Martini later ...