DC Drinks

Reviews, rantlets and ribald on all things alcoholic.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

So You Want to be a Martini Drinker? Top Five Rookie Mistakes

The Martini drinker is an enduring image. Poised over the wide rim of a Martini glass, wearing a black tie, women at his side, stirring gently the olives, puffing on a cigar. Maybe even playing roulette. It's romantic. It's sophisticated. It's manly. It's inspired an entire industry.

There are martini bars, "Martini menus", Martini parties and Martini accessories. But Martinis are a kind of accessory. And knowing how to order them is essential if you want to avoid looking like a rookie. I've skipped the gin vs. vodka, shaken vs. stirred, dry vs. wet debate. Order it however you want, just don't look like a tool when ordering it.

Here's the top five rookie mistakes I've seen from behind the bar:

"So, uh, what kind of martinis do you have?" If you're ordering a Martini, it's a Martini, not one of many Martinis. Order it with style and distinction: "I'll have a Bombay Sapphire martini wet, up with a twist."

Martini is a drink served in multiple kinds of glassware depending on your preference. Simple, I know. But the assumption is that a Martini will always be served up and anything in a "Martini glass" is a Martini. I won't touch the latter statement but the former is wrong. You can get a Martini up (chilled and strained in a wide rim glass with a stem) or on the rocks (over ice in a short glass). Hell, you can even get it in a water glass and it's still a Martini.

"Can I get my Martini shaken not stirred?" Are you serious? Even if you truly like your Martinis shaken, you should avoid the whole, uh hem, cliche. Ask for your Martini shaken (stop). If you want to be a priss about it, denote the rhythm, pace and outcome: I'd like it shaken to a Bossa Nova beat, slowly, until it's below 40 degrees farenheit. At least it's original.

You are not the first person to roll your r's on "Dirrrty Martini" or the only person who knows the true story of the Martini. Avoid acting like a jackass and just order what you want without a production. It's fun to swap stories or discuss the particulars of a drink. But sounding like a Martini know-it-all or, worse, being the 50th guy to tell the bartender they like their Martini filthy, pornographic or triple X is trifling.

"I'll take a Belvedere Martini, no vermouth." I'm not a Martini purist per se (or at least I don't get violently angry when people call a cosmopolitan a "Martini") but this shit has got to stop. What you mean to ask for is a "Belvedere up." Save yourself and your bartender time by being a little more precise.


At 8:31 PM, Blogger Washington Cube said...

I liked this piece. I mentioned you on my blog today since I enjoy what you're doing. Hope you don't mind.

At 8:52 PM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Thanks Cube! Glad you like it.

At 4:51 AM, Blogger Washington Cube said...

Congratulations on your mention in DC Blogs

At 5:46 AM, Blogger Isaac Washington said...

Wow, really cool Cube. I'm taking notes on your cocktails.

At 9:12 PM, Blogger Capt. Jack Sparrow said...

Thanks for the info!

At 11:55 PM, Blogger dcbubble said...

I say time to bring back the stirred Martini. Who says you cant sitr it? Come to think of it I never really liked Roger Moore and now I know why.

At 3:16 AM, Blogger Isaac Washington said...

Stir vs. Shake... more to come.

At 4:47 AM, Blogger The Brunette said...

Ahh very nice, thanks for the info!

At 11:49 PM, Blogger bar.mix.master said...

Great site guys... I can see we have a similar mindset. I'll check back often. Cheers!

At 11:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate you pointing out common rookie mistakes. There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to martinis. Check out this great tutorial to learn how to make them at home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-HPazYiYPw


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