Tuesday, 19 December 2006

Christmas Drinks: The Perfect Martini

T'was the week before Christmas and all through the house, all the creatures were stirring .... and tension did mount.

Stress? Tension? Reasons to kick back and to savour life? Time then for a Martini or two (for the perfect Martini usually has a Second Act). Mencken declared the Martini to be "the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet." Mencken was perfectly right.

There is dissension as to the perfect Martini. The perfection of Martinis shows the contextual nature of value judgements, you see. This man prefers a gin martini. This woman a vodka. James Bond, naturally, prefers his shaken, not stirred -- and he prefers his Martinis the same way. Everyone has their own view of perfection, but unlike other forms of Holy writ, these scriptures are not kept secret -- such pleasant fruits of hours of indulgence are freely shouted forth to the winds.

Owen prefers a gin Martini, and has the perfect description.

Personally, I prefer a vodka Martini, and I have the perfect recipe.

Tom likes a gin martini, but he prefers to drink out in search of perfection. If you're in Wellington, you can take advantage of his spadework in the pursuit of the perfect gin Martini. [Deadtree format here]

Shaken or stirred? Advice on that here.

The perfect Martini needs the perfect accompaniment. Good friends, good stories, and good friends telling their own Martini stories are always acceptable. If some of the stories are true, that's okay as well -- after the second Martini.

The ideal serving accompaniments for mine are at least one friend (or nearly sane person), and the Benny Goodman Small Groups CD on your player. The Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack or something by Nina Rota provides a very acceptable alternative.

Enjoy! (And in case you're wondering, the perfect present for a Martini-drinking friend (if they're not already in possession of the Goodman, that is) is a set of small Martini glasses -- small because the perfect Martini needs to be filled to the brim, and because you really want that first one to start the party, not to kill it.)

LINKS: The Martini gospel according to McShane - Straight Thinking (Owen McShane)
The perfect Martini does exist - Not PC
Wellingtini - Well Urban (Tom Beard)

Beer & Elsewhere


  1. Ah yes, H.L. Mencken. I love his quote:

    "The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind."

    So true.

    Merry Xmas

  2. That's now three Menckenisms within a calender day, putting us over the Mencken quota.


    Here's a fourth, his definition of Puritanism: "...the haunting fear that, somewhere, someone might be having a good time."

    There are wowsers about who should have those words nailed to their chest.

  3. Tabasco bottle packaging used to, and may still, include a recipe for chilli martini. Involves pricking fresh chillies with a pin and steeping them in vermouth for a day or three. Not classic, but most acceptable.


1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.