How many ways are there to enjoy a martini? Over at Slate, Troy Patterson has given a lot of thought to this question. He staged a Tournament of Martinis, in the pattern of the NCAA basketball tourney. Starting with 80 recipes (yes, 80), he paired drinks up and let them battle for supremacy. He includes martini variations that I don't think of as such: for example, martinis with Chartreuse, Scotch, elderflower liqueur, or lime juice. Patterson's path is fun to read, but I have no intention of duplicating his work. Instead I want to focus on just a few elements of the martini: the ingredients, the ratio, the preparation, and the presentation, along with a little history.
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There are few recipes in cocktail-dom that inspire as much zealotry as that of the Martini. But before you sharpen your keyboard to type out "heresy!" for other versions of the drink, keep one thing in mind: the Martini is way more flexible than you might think.
You wouldn't know it by looking at the way it's used today, but vermouth was the belle of the mixological ball once upon a time. While vermouth can list details such as "revolutionized the late 19th century cocktail" and "enabled creation of the Manhattan and the martini" on its resume, today it's like the elderly greeters at Wal-Mart, picking up whatever gigs it can get in the years that came after the glory ones.
Do you like herring so much, you're willing to get tipsy from it? After a rough day at the office, nothing says relaxation like a herring juice-spiked Grey Goose drink with a herring garnish and squeeze of lemon juice (to cut the fish oils). Jeremy Lebewohl of the 2nd Avenue Deli conceived of this animal, and will hopefully draw the line at corned beef tini. He somehow makes this gross concept look classy, though. The finger snappy music in the background helps. Video, after the jump....
Dried pork, ground pork, Italian sausage, and Spam: who will win? "The pork Martini serves many needs on many levels!" exclaimed Josh Karpf in his introduction to his search for the perfect pork martini. Such an illustrious quest involved soaking sweet dried pork, pan-sautéed ground pork, boiled sweet Italian dinner sausage, and sautéed Spam in separate glasses of 100-proof Absolut vodka for up to two weeks. Not every pork product was equal—the results put the Italian sausage at the top ("the taste was crisp") and Spam at the way, way bottom ("It's pure salt [...] oily, slimy salt"). Pork and alcohol enthusiasts, you should try this at home. [via Cheap Ass Food] Related: Bacon-Infused Bourbon and Maple Syrup Cocktail...