Wednesday, June 13, 2018

FROM THE LOUNGE: MARTINIS AND MANHATTANS

     After watching 'actor' Robert DeNero make a fool of himself at the Tony Awards this weekend, I began musing about Old New York. Once upon a time, New York City was 'The Big Apple'; the epitome of culture and, well, cool. In America, all roads led to New York. Broadway, Babe Ruth, the Stork Club, Coney Island---if it wasn't in New York, it wasn't anywhere.

     Today New York City is a depressing, politically-correct urban Banana Republic. Robert DeNero is a specimen of the level to which the city has sunk. While we hold that men should have strong political views, there is an appropriate time and a courteous way to express them. Simply screaming profanity into the first available microphone at a charity even is the act of a jackass and not a man.

     Don't be THAT Guy! Be like the one in the picture below instead.



     Back in the old days, the Martini was the drink of every sophisticated New Yorker. Today, though, you usually have to make them yourself to get a good one. A real Martini is actually a smooth, relaxing drink---not jolting like modern imitations. It's a good drink to make for young lovelies who visit your home after work---which, in the picture, appears to be about to happen.

      Despite its connection with New York, the Martini was invented in 18th Century Paris by a famous composer named J.P. Martin, who went by the name 'Martini'. His original recipe is as follows:

2 oz. of gin. 
1 oz. of Chablis wine
a pinch of ground cinnamon
  
      Mix well and serve ice cold.

   Note that there's no Vermouth used and that the trademark olive is missing. Vermouth is actually a spice-infused wine and was substituted for the Chablis and cinnamon eventually because it is cheaper. As for the olive: that was a New York touch introduced by Brooklyn bartender Robert Agneau. 

    The way that Martinis are made today more closely resemble another old New York classic cocktail, the Manhattan. It was invented in 1876 by Dr. Ian Marshall a member of the swank Manhattan Club. Marshall introduced it at the club during a fundraising dinner for a presidential candidate, NY Governor Samuel Tilden. 

    The Manhattan is a drink that packs a wallop.

2 oz. of bourbon whiskey (personally I prefer Jack Daniels')
1 oz. of sweet vermouth
2-3 drops of Angostura Bitters. 

     The Manhattan is usually garnished with a Maraschino Cherry instead of an olive. 

   A word needs to be said about the 'Black Martini' which is rarely served in the US. It was also invented by J.P. Martin. 

2 oz. gin
1 oz. apple-cider vinegar.

Serve ice cold.

     The Black Martini got its name because Martin served it to his friends when they've imbibed too much. According the LaRousse Dictionary, it would calm down aggressive drunks, stop the DT's, and prevented dry mouth and liver problems. Sort of like a reverse 'Bloody Mary'. I've never used this drink for any of those purposes, but it does have a 'bite' which isn't at all unpleasant. It's not a drink for novices, but for a seasoned drinker, it's a nice change from regular cocktails. 

    At any rate, there's three goodies to sample. Now that it's Summertime nice for your pool parties and other get-togethers at the home.




   

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