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Old 17-01-2005, 10:07 PM
dan
 
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Default martini question

i've got what is probably a dumb question, but here goes. all the
recipes i've ever seen for martinis call for about 3 oz total of liquor.
yet when i see people order martinis in bars (i don't usually drink
cocktails myself), the cocktail glasses are usually filled to the top,
sometimes forcing the patron to take a careful sip before lifting the
glass.
i understand there is *some* dilution from stirring or shaking, but
certainly it can't be enough to fill the glass, can it?
are these people simply receiving a double or triple size drink? if so,
i never hear them specify "double" or "triple", and i don't recall them
paying two or three times the price of a normal drink.
if i were to make a martini for someone, and measured it carefully
according to the recipe, would they feel cheated if the glass weren't
full? do they come that way in proper bars?

-dan


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Old 18-01-2005, 08:57 AM
Aleksi Kallio
 
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i understand there is *some* dilution from stirring or shaking, but
certainly it can't be enough to fill the glass, can it?


It can, but it shouldn't. There should be very little water in Martini.

So either bars use (too) small Martini glasses or shake/stirr too long
or with too little ice.

if i were to make a martini for someone, and measured it carefully
according to the recipe, would they feel cheated if the glass weren't
full? do they come that way in proper bars?


I am a Martini lover, and I wouldn't feel cheated.

At least in Finland, when it comes to finer details of preparing and
serving liquors, bars are definetely not a good example to look at.

And as Martini is The Drink, there are dozens of different and equally
good ways to prepare them. But diluting with significant amounts of
water is not amoungst them...

Dale DeGroff's book The Craft of the Cocktail has a lot more info on
Martinis, if you are interested.
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Old 18-01-2005, 08:57 AM
Aleksi Kallio
 
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Default

i understand there is *some* dilution from stirring or shaking, but
certainly it can't be enough to fill the glass, can it?


It can, but it shouldn't. There should be very little water in Martini.

So either bars use (too) small Martini glasses or shake/stirr too long
or with too little ice.

if i were to make a martini for someone, and measured it carefully
according to the recipe, would they feel cheated if the glass weren't
full? do they come that way in proper bars?


I am a Martini lover, and I wouldn't feel cheated.

At least in Finland, when it comes to finer details of preparing and
serving liquors, bars are definetely not a good example to look at.

And as Martini is The Drink, there are dozens of different and equally
good ways to prepare them. But diluting with significant amounts of
water is not amoungst them...

Dale DeGroff's book The Craft of the Cocktail has a lot more info on
Martinis, if you are interested.
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Old 20-01-2005, 08:06 AM
Blair P. Houghton
 
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Aleksi Kallio wrote:
i understand there is *some* dilution from stirring or shaking, but
certainly it can't be enough to fill the glass, can it?


It can, but it shouldn't. There should be very little water in Martini.


I don't think it's possible to make a martini that doesn't
get a significant amount of water in it. Alcohol melts
ice, and shaking ice in alcohol melts a lot of ice.

You can stir them instead of shaking them, but if you don't
strain out the ice it just sits there, making water.

Luckily, you want to dilute any 80-proof or stronger
alcohol so you can taste it.

--Blair
"Unless you're just trying to get drunk."
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Old 20-01-2005, 10:05 PM
DrinkBoy
 
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Martini Drinkers Want To Know:

[why does a 3 ounce recipe fill 6+ounce glass?]

-------------------------------

First off, there is the fact that when a bar/resturant sets up their
drink program, they (should) carefully choose their glassware to match
the size of drink that they will be serving, and charging for.

These days it seems even bars are getting into the whole "bigger is
better" concept, and I've been seeing ridiculously sized 10 ounce
cocktail glasses, which are not only too big to drink before they start
getting warm, but they also can hide over (and under) pours, thus
making potential profits from the bar evaporate.

The glasses are so huge these days that there isn't really any need for
people to order a double... it already is. And yes, this is
automatically figured into the price of the drink.

Secondly, while many recipe books will carefully list out a drink in
ounces, this isn't necessarily what the bar is using. Again, they are
focused on pouring a drink that properly fills the glass, and so they
just use whatever it takes. Ideally a Martini would be served in a
slightly smaller glass than a Sidecar, thus allowing both drinks to
have the same amount of "alcohol" in them.

A properly poured cocktail should -never- come up to the rim of the
glass. There should always be a decent "collar" (the space between the
rim of the glass and the top of the liquid) that is not only visually
appealing, but also allows the customer to pick up the drink without
spilling all over the place.


It can, but it shouldn't. There should be very little water in

Martini.
-------------------

While this is a common belief, it is also wrong. The proper amount of
water is actually an important ingredient in any cocktail. The water
helps soften the bite of the alcohol, and since you aren't taking
anything "away" from the drink, it still has the same amount of alcohol
in it.

Let's assume that you are making a Martini with 3 ounces of total
liquid ingredients going into the mixing glass, add a scoop of ice,
stir until well chilled (or shake, if you are one of those types), and
what will come out will be a 4 to 4 1/2 ounce drink. Usually about 1
ounce of water gets added to a properly made cocktail. Essentially the
same amount of water gets added if you stir or shake a cocktail
(Martini's should be stirred, Sidecars should be shaken)


if i were to make a martini for someone, and measured it carefully
according to the recipe, would they feel cheated if the glass weren't
full? do they come that way in proper bars?

--------------------

As mentioned before, the amounts printed in recipe books aren't
necessarily designed for the glassware "you" are using. If this is for
home use, and you've got a recipe book you plan on using, and if you
want to (at least in the beginning) try to measure carefully so you get
the drink right, then mix up a drink according to the recipe, stirring
or shaking it with water to get it chilled properly, then pour it into
a measureing cup to determine how much liquid it holds. Now check some
of the other recipes in the book to see if they are relatively
consistantly the same amount (often they aren't!). Now you want to find
some cocktail glasses that will be "appropriate" for that size of
recipe. Let's say you ended up with 4 ounces of liquid when you
measured, then to get a glass that will allow you to provide the right
amount of "collar", you probably want to try to find a 6 ounce glass.

Just for the sake of completeness, here is how I make my Martini's at
home:

dry Martini
3 parts gin
1 part dry vermouth
1 dash orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with a lemon peel.

I've got several different sizes of cocktail glasses, the one I
probably use the most is 8 ounces, and so I make my drink with 3 ounces
of gin and 1 ounce of dry vermouth. Technically, this is a "double".
-Robert Hess
www.Drinkboy.com
www.TheMuseumOfTheAmericanCocktail.org



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Old 21-01-2005, 05:51 PM
dan
 
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thanks all for your replies. i've been experimenting with different
recipes at home, and it just seemed to me that the martinis i've seen out
at bars were huge.
it's nice to see robert uses bitters in his martini, according to my
rather amateur research, this is very old-school. i noticed, robert, that
you call for orange bitters, this reminded me of the other old-school
tradition of using bitter lillet as the "vermouth" (i say bitter lillet
because the amount of quinine was lowered considerably in the 80's to
reduce its bitterness).
anyway i recently discovered salvatore calabrese's book on cocktails, and
he recommends using a 4 oz. cocktail glass in general, and keeping the gin
in the freezer. the photo he shows of his martini does indeed leave some
room near the lip of the glass. so if it's good enough for him, it ought
to be good enough for me and my guests!

thanks again.

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Old 23-01-2005, 09:43 PM
DrinkBoy
 
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Dan,

What you have essentially "re-discovered" in discovery that you like a
"very wet martini, 2 or 3 parts gin to 1 part vermouth", is what is
essentially the "original" dry Martini.

It is the common misconception that the "dry" in "dry Martini" refers
to the lessening the amount of dry vermouth used. This is in fact
incorrect, and is most likely due to Americans forgetting what a
Martini really was through the course of Prohibition (aka. The Great
Cocktail Lobotomy).

Originally, not only was the Martini made with far more vermouth then
you would find most people familiar with today, but it was also
originally made with sweet vermouth, as well as a sweet gin (known as
"Old Tom"). This means that if a customer would rather have their
Martini made with dry vermouth and dry gin (both newcomers in the mid
to late 1800s), they would request a "dry Martini". It would still be
made with basically the same ratios as a normal Martini, which usually
meant a 3 to 1, 2 to 1, or even 1 to 1 ratio. And it would also always
include bitters, usually orange bitters.

A cocktail should be a "balance" of ingredients. The ratios of each
flavor should be carefully selected so that no single ingredient plays
a prodomiant role in the drink. Just using a "whisper" of vermouth in a
Martini does not result in a "balanced" drink, it essentially leaves
you with just a cold glass of gin (or vodka).

So I'm glad that in your own experimentations that you have discovered
this truth for yourself!

-Robert

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Old 24-01-2005, 08:14 AM
Aleksi Kallio
 
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I don't think it's possible to make a martini that doesn't
get a significant amount of water in it. Alcohol melts
ice, and shaking ice in alcohol melts a lot of ice.


Okay, it seems that we have a problem with interpretation of the phrase
"very little". As Drinkboy said, 3 ounce cocktail should have
something like 1 ounce of water. That makes it something about 50-proof,
which I prefer. Martini should not be pure hard liquor, but not a glass
of fortified wine either. Well, "very little" was not too descriptive
choice of words...

Luckily, you want to dilute any 80-proof or stronger
alcohol so you can taste it.


In cocktails this is often the truth, but not generally. For example,
many whisky connoisseurs prefer undiluted cask strength stuff, which is
usually 100-proof and up. After getting used to it, you can taste it
without any difficulties.
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Old 26-01-2005, 01:39 AM
Blair P. Houghton
 
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Aleksi Kallio wrote:
In cocktails this is often the truth, but not generally. For example,
many whisky connoisseurs prefer undiluted cask strength stuff, which is
usually 100-proof and up. After getting used to it, you can taste it
without any difficulties.


I have cask-strength Macallan, and its beauty is in the
purity of its flavor, not the ridiculous punch.

I dilute because I want to taste it, and ice it because
I want to see those unfiltered solutes crystallize and
swirl...

--Blair
"Cloudy is good."
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Old 26-01-2005, 07:58 AM
Aleksi Kallio
 
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I have cask-strength Macallan, and its beauty is in the
purity of its flavor, not the ridiculous punch.
I dilute because I want to taste it,


That's perfectly normal...

and ice it because I want to see those unfiltered solutes crystallize and
swirl...


Well, that isn't!

Everybody has their habits with whisky. My point was that some (not all)
prefer it straight, even when it comes to cask strength.


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