The Perfect Dinner Pairing to a Martini

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!!

 

Really!

 

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Unlike wine with it’s historic, if slightly outdated, adage of Red wine with steak and White wine with fish, a Martini transcends dinner variations.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.

 

Octupus?  Absolutely!

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
Anonymous

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe.  If not, please post a comment telling us how and why you disagree.

 

** BTW, For those wondering, CAB stands for Certified Angus Beef.

 

Gin Review: Tanqueray Rangpur

My Second Gin Review!

 

Yes, it’s been a long time since I wrote my first Gin review, back in June of 2017 (Monkey 47), a year as it turns out.  I have vowed to step up my Gin reviews, partly because it’s fun to try new Gins, but mostly because there are just soooooooo many new, and often confusing, Gins out there today.

As before I am reviewing this, and future, Gins in a very dry and very cold Martini, so fair warning, my Gin reviews will be in the context of Martini usage.  After all, this blog is about the perfect Martini more than the perfect Gin.

A little more history for you new readers, my preferred Gin for Martinis is Bombay Sapphire.  It is ubiquitous in bars, lounges, and restaurants so I know it is always (almost) available.  It’s a great way to start an evening with a known and dependable Gin.  Thereafter I may experiment a bit and that is where these Gin reviews come in.

Now Bombay Sapphire and Tanqueray are two of the World’s top selling Gins.   For those interested the top 5 are: Seagrams, Beefeater, Tanqueray, Bombay Sapphire, and Gordon’s, in that order, according to “The Spirits Business” June 2017.

Of further amusement is that Tanqueray and Sapphire are owned by Diageo and Barcardi, respectively, two of the world’s largest spirit distributors (1st and 5th respectively) and are therefore, and clearly, heated rivals.  This is clearly borne out when talking to Gin aficionados as they are (almost) always either in the Sapphire camp, like me, or on the “dark side” favoring Tanqueray.  Of course there are a many stragglers out there who are Nolet’s or Hendrick’s, or other Gin, fans, both of which are fine Gins in their own rights …. but I digress.

I am not a fan of Tanqueray in general, it’s a bit too much citrus for me; I prefer the herbals of Sapphire.  Tanqueray 10, having a bit more herbal components that Tanqueray, is more palatable to me for that reason.  So when I was given a bottle of Tanqueray Rangpur, knowing it was the Rangpur Limes that gave this Gin its name, I was a bit dubious.

(Yes, they’re orange.  It’s a hybrid between the mandarin orange and the citron.)

 

But I have a bottle to use and I’m certainly not one to waste Gin.  I started with some Rangpur neat.  The initial impression on the nose is predominately lime with hints of juniper way in the back.  Tasting this gin confirmed the lime forwardness.  But now the juniper decided to show up and shared the limelight with the lime (sorry, I had to do it).  The other herbals come into play on the back end but are mostly muddled together and subdued.   I also would note that when taken neat, it’s almost a bit syrupy.  You almost feel like it coats your tongue.

 

As a martini it is still very lime forward.  The aroma hits you immediately: very sweet citrus.  Even with my martini extremely cold the nose affect is immediate.  The first taste is a beautiful mix of citrus and juniper!  Nothing floral here and almost imperceptible herbal elements.  The juniper fades on the back end, but the citrus carries through to the last moments.  Again the herbals come in at the end but are subdued and remain secondary to the citrus.  I also noted that the syrupy feeling from the neat tasting was completely gone.  I suspect due to the dilution of the Gin while shaking the Martini.

 

In the end I like this Gin!  But I’m not sure how to drink it.  In my opinion it’s a bit sweet and citrusy for a Martini, I prefer a bit more herbal notes.  I think using it in a G&T might be the better choice.  Or even neat, though with some ice to lighten the tongue coating syrupy-ness.  Thinking about it, on ice on a sunny afternoon seems just about perfect.

 

As an aside, I really like lime in my cola and was tempted to add some of this to my Coke.  I did and that was really pretty good!  The acid of the Coke cut the syrupy feeling, though it was still pretty sweet; sort of a more citrus-y Cuba Libre.  One of the reasons I don’t drink sweet cocktails is that they go down so easily and so quickly and this one absolutely would quickly overpower me.

 

Would I recommend Rangpur?  Yes!  Having a bottle in your Gin collection is recommended and I do.  For that sunny afternoon.

 

 

If you like what you’ve read, please subscribe.  If not, please post a comment telling us how and why you disagree.

 

World Gin Day 2018

Happy World Gin Day 2018!

 

 

“I’ve tried Buddhism, Scientology, Numerology, Transcendental Meditation, Qabbala, t’ai chi, feng shui and Deepak Chopra but I find straight gin works best.”
Phyllis Diller

 

I hope you all celebrate with a Martini. But if not, then a Gin & Tonic will do. Whichever you choose, enjoy safely.

 

“There is something about a martini, Ere the dining and dancing begin, And to tell you the truth, It is not the vermouth- I think that perhaps it’s the gin.”
Ogden Nash