Part of the fun of being an adult is getting to make your own rules, for the most part. So, if I want to try something new and I have the stuff, I can do that. If I want to go into a full blown cocktail at 10 AM, who is gonna stop me? You? Societal conventions? Propriety? D. None of the above? I’ll tell you that a cocktail before breakfast is terribly efficient, getting that alcohol down your gullet early, pre-coffee, with no annoying foods to get in the way of your weekend buzz. So how do we do that? Easy, you start the day with a classic Martinez.
Don’t grab your tins! As much as I love shaking it up, baby now, this is a stirred drink. So, grab that fancy mixing pitcher you ordered off Amazon way back when this pandemic was gonna be over in a few weeks and toss in 2 ounces of gin, I went with that awesome Mahon Xoriguer we discovered in Spain, 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth and 1/4 ounce of maraschino cherry liqueur, I used Luxardo cause it is the one. 2 dashes of angostura bitters and you are ready to stir, well after adding ice of course. Let’s talk about ice for a moment. Even though our amazing monolithic refrigerator has an ice maker that will happily dispense cubes, let’s be honest, they are half moons, or crushed half moons, for this cocktail stuff you want to have additional options. So, in spite of the fact that our refrigerator is constantly making ice, I also make my own artisanal, hand crafted ice cubes, using silicon molds in a variety of sizes. The thing is when you are making a cocktail, the ice isn’t just for chilling the drink, it is also for diluting the mixture by adding water. Sometimes you want a lot of dilution and sometimes you want to just chill the drink. Easy shorthand, big cubes chill, small pieces Netflix, I mean dilute. In this case, we want both, so instead of using the stuff from the dispenser I went with my smallest square cubes. Lots of surface area to both chill and dilute the drink. Where were we, oh yeah, stirring, being careful to keep the back of the barspoon to the outside of the glass, marveling that with practice this has become second nature. Although, education is never a waste, practice makes something close enough to perfect that we are gonna call it that way. Stir for 15-20 seconds, I figured when the ice begins to break down we are good, and use your julep strainer to pour this into a chilled cocktail glass. Peel off a lemon twist, express it over the drink to get those oils in and garnish.
There you go, the classic Martinez. A drink that preceded the gin martini and in my book is more interesting with the sweetness from the vermouth and cherry liqueur. Still, I’m not crazy about it. Don’t get me wrong, it is good, just not my thing. Just close enough to a martini that my spirit rails against it. Would I send it back? No, like I said it is good. Plus, it is all alcohol, which makes for a nice, mostly bearable lightness of being on an empty stomach, on a weekend, which, let’s be honest, doesn’t really mean all that much from quarantine where days and weeks run into each other without so much as a “by your leave”. That said, it could be worse, in fact in many places it is. So count your blessings, I know I am. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.