The Vesper was first described in Ian Flemings 1953 “Casino Royale” as: “Three measures of Gordon’s, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it’s ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel.”
Why do people mess with the recipe? I was in a very respected restaurant the other day and I noticed the Vesper in the drink menu and that they were using my preferred gin. I thought I’d give it a try but first I asked the barkeep for their recipe (I’d been through this before).
Not surprisingly the barkeep said they mixed equal portions of Gin and Vodka. Why? The original creation of a Vesper is clear as is the IBA Official Cocktail description – 3:1 Gin to Vodka proportions. Reversing the proportions, which I’ve seen, or equalizing the proportions changes the tasted significantly.
I asked that my Vesper be constructed with the correct proportions and, of course, the barkeep was quite happy to oblige. It was excellent.
All I can figure is that Bars change the proportions to appeal to the masses of Vodka drinkers. Such a shame.
Don’t forget to check out @shkn_nt_stirred. There are many gin and martini related posts there. Plus a few of my favorite restaurants. 😉
A few more rambling thoughts on “cold” stemware…….
We know that smaller things warm up quickly and larger object warm up more slowly. Specifically objects with larger thermal masses warm up more slowly. Usually, but not always, thermal mass correlates with object mass.
Additionally some materials are thermal insulators, meaning that heat moves slowly through the material (think Styrofoam cups). Some materials are thermal conductors (think copper frying pans). But restaurants and bars serve Martinis in glass, maybe crystal. We rarely have the option of asking for ‘good’ stem material.
To maximize the time of coldness, I want a Martini with a large thermal mass. But most bars will not give you a pint of Martini. They have one, maybe two, sizes of stems and they pour measured amounts of gin and vermouth. The only other variable is the stem itself. So make mine the largest most massive piece of glass, or lead crystal, available.
Do you have a preference on stemware? Perhaps you haven’t thought too much about it. Many people’s only desire is a clean stem for their drink. That’s clearly a good start.
I do have a preference; I want my Martini in a stem with some heft, some weight, and some significant mass to it. No, not because I’m working my biceps and delts. Because of thermal mass.
You may be asking yourself “What is this guy babbling about”. This may take a bit so bear with me. Or skip this and move on if you’d like.
As I mentioned before, my Perfect Martin is ice cold. Ideally it stays ice cold for the duration of my enjoyment. But we all know that the drink will warm up over time. I want to maximize the time my drink stays cold. The more thermal mass in the glass, the longer it will take to warm up.
Sadly most bars use thin, light weight, and cheap stemware. I understand that they’re running a business and stemware is, unfortunately, disposable. It breaks constantly and has to be replaced regularly. But that frilly little bit of glass warms up just too quickly. That’s why I want a stem with some heft. I want a long lasting cold Martini.