So I’ve been asked many times, “What it the right dinner to go with a Martini?”.
Okay, so I’ve only been asked that a few times. Well, maybe only once.
But it’s a good question. After all, scores of erudite articles are written by self proclaimed wine connoisseurs in the most esteemed wine magazines about the finer subtleties of which wine goes best with Atlantic salmon as opposed to Pacific salmon. Or Kobe beef vs. CAB. Or uni vs ahi. So it seems reasonable to ask what best pairs with a Martini?
My answer is always the same, Cheerios and Milk!!
Okay, maybe not, but there is a lot of Martini Tao in that answer and multiple layers to that onion. And, truth be told, there have been occasions when I’ve had a Martini with cereal and milk. Or left over pizza. Or a simple quesadilla. And the Martini is always excellent and compliments whatever I’m eating.
In all fairness, I haven’t had a Martini with Mac ‘n Cheese. But that’s a consequence of many nights as a college student when all I could afford was Kraft Man ‘n Cheese and a subsequent swearing off of that dish for all eternity. But I’m sure it would be excellent.
Let me digress for a moment. Starting with one of the most esteemed liquors in the known universe, and a personal favorite …. Cognac. When was the last time you heard anyone ask “What pairs well with Cognac”. The answer of course is “You moron, you savor Cognac by itself in all it’s delicate brilliance and decadence”. The point being no one expects Cognac to be subjugated to any mere plate of food, no matter how stunningly prepared.
Similarly Scotch is not tied to a particular culinary preparation. You savor Scotch for it’s own sake. No discussion about venison vs Barramundi vs Pheasant. Scotch is Scotch and an end to itself.
So why must one presume a Martini should be paired with a specific dish? Well, because unlike Scotch and Cognac which are ‘after dinner drinks’ one usually has a Martini with dinner. So the question is valid, though perhaps misguided; What meal pairs best with a Martini??
Unlike wine with it’s historic, if slightly outdated, adage of Red wine with steak and White wine with fish, a Martini transcends dinner variations. I truly love my chilled Martini with a sizzling Rib Eye Steak, medium rare please. But the same Martini compliments Chilean Sea-bass or Cioppino or the afore mentioned Venison as well. In fact I can not think of anything a Martini doesn’t compliment.
Sea Cucumber? Why not!
Escargot? I know personally that it does!
Durian? Hmmm, I’d give it a try.
Sweet breads? Required!
Of course when I’m at a Mexican restaurant I do order a Margarita. A mojito at a Cuban place and a Caiparinha at a Churrascaria. But not because a Martini wouldn’t pair well, only in deference to the ambiance. Sort of a ‘When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do’ philosophy.
The bottom line? A Martini is appropriate anywhere and compliments any meal. Yes!, even Cheerios and milk.
I’m not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube. I’m talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight, comfort; redemption and absolution. I’m talking MARTINI
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** BTW, For those wondering, CAB stands for Certified Angus Beef.