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Thursday, March 03, 2005

Martini 101

True martini nirvana consists of three distinct layers. The top layer is mostly aromatic, and comes from the oils from a twist of lemon peel. The oils float upon the middle layer, which is the gin/vermouth/water mixture. The bottom, and final layer is the domain of the olive. The olive adds a positive tactile experience with its smooth skin and chewy texture. But the flavor, especially the saltiness, is important too.

The large surface area at the top of the martini glass allows the lemon oil to dissipate in a very thin layer across the surface of the liquid. It also helps to promote perception of the lemon oil, as it forces the drinker’s nose to be centered over the glass. It also serves as a “trap’ to contain as the volatile aroma, and exclude outside air currents.

The small cone at the bottom of the glass holds the olive in place. Brine from the olive leaches into the martini liquid over time. The brine is heavier than the martini liquid, and the cone shape contains the brine flavored liquid in the bottom of the glass, so that it may be enjoyed last.

To maximize the contrast between the layers, it is best to follow a certain construction method. First, mix the liquids as described earlier, and strain into the glass. Then drop in the olive. If the olive is added first, the splashing of the liquid over it can disperse the brine throughout the drink. After the olive has been added, the lemon peel is twisted above the surface of the liquid, and the spray is allowed to settle on the surface. The peel is thrown away.

The experience of the transitions between layers is not exactly binary. But it can be fun experimenting with your construction (and drinking) process, trying to keep the transition region as distinct as humanly possible.

One of the great joys of true martini nirvana is in experiencing the change in flavors, textures, and aromas as one moves between the layers.

The lemony hit is strong at first, and the oily mixture is bitter sweet. As the lemon oil is consumed, the martini mid-range is entered. Here, you’ll observe mostly pure gin/vermouth flavor, with an occasional remembrance of lemon, and maybe a tease of salt and olive aroma that hints at what’s to come. As the end approaches, the olive flavor becomes more intense, and the texture more robust. Finally, the glass is tipped, and the olive is consumed. The chewing sensation and the burst of salty brine serves as a climactic ending to the experience, while your entire mouth is left a bit parched and puckered. In other words, perfectly primed for another…."

From commenter jmaster, via vodkapundit:


delftsman3 said...

DAMN Dave! I hope you make it to the Texas Blogfest so I can sample one of your concoctions!

You make it sound a lot better than sex.

curmudgeon said...

I get wood every time I read it...

Hydrocodone said...

kfh7H4 The best blog you have!