Random Martini Quote of the Day

Sinatra: “Let me fix you a Martini that’s pure magic.”
Martin:  “It may not make life’s problems disappear, but it’ll certainly reduce their size.”

 

Dean Martin     sinatra

Looking for more outstanding “Martini Quotes”?  I believe we have the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in, please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.     😉

The Gambling Cowboy, Temecula, CA

gambling-cowboy

So you’ve trekked down to Temecula in Riverside County and had a wonderful day in the sun sampling a myriad of local wines at the multitude of wineries that line the valley and now you want to kick back someplace and cap the day with a Martini and a steak.   I have a suggestion for you, The Gambling Cowboy Chophouse and Saloon!

It is located on 5th street in “Old Town” Temecula, just off Interstate 15.   It is just off the street on the third floor of a rustic building that looks a lot like an old barn.   The inside of the restaurant is spacious, warm, and inviting.  The decor is, exactly as you would expect…. a cowboy saloon.

I will note one feature that I really like …. their etched glass panel cutting through the dining hall.  It is beautiful.  Sadly its also a bit of a challenge to photograph.  You’ll have to enhance the photo with your imagination … or go take a look!

gambling-cowboy-etched-glass

The food is indeed very good with a definite emphasis on, as you might guess, steaks.  But there are also seafood and chicken choices as well an assortment of salads.  Their Martinis are also very good: well chilled, ample, and served quickly.  After a day in the sun their Martini was very much needed and hit the spot perfectly.

The Martini stem the Gambling Cowboy uses is a bit unusual, as you can see in the photo above.  Those of you who know me would expect me to blast this based on my prior posts such as Thoughts on Stemware, Part Three and To Stem or Not to Stem.  But this one I sort of like.  Certainly not traditional but, more importantly, it is not trendy.

Martini Glass Upright  Overall the Gambling Cowboy gets one stem for its very good Martini that is most welcome after a hot day in Temecula!

For Gin selection The Gambling Cowboy only gets a C.  Their selection includes the “Big 5” as I like to call it: Tanqueray, Tanqueray Ten, Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Hendricks and also Beefeater.

For more information:  http://www.ilovethecowboy.com/

The Perfect Martini “How To”s Collected

martini-with-twist

Over the course of the almost two years that I’ve been writing this blog I’ve posted many random martini quotes, several reviews of restaurant and bars, made opinionated comments about stemware, and expounded on my pet peeves.  And, of course, I’ve also written extensively on what I believe makes a great Martini.  But these “How To” posts are scattered throughout this website and are hard to find.   No Longer!

Here, finally, is a compendium of links to the “How To” articles of Martini Making.  These describe my thoughts and beliefs of making the “Perfect Martini”.  Or to be most precise, my perfect martini.   The posts describe more than just the recipe and process of assembling the finest cocktail, but give some of the technical background of ‘what’ and ‘why’.

So here below for the first time are assembled the heart of Martini Magic…..

Here’s where we start, the art of creation:
The Perfect Martini Process

This link will help you find the answer to the age old question that keeps us awake at nights …. is Shaken really better than Stirred?   And why?
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Conclusion.

If you just want to really know what they mean when some Gin snob warns you about ‘Bruising’, here’s the real deal.  (Hint; its not what you think.  But then, it’s not what they think either!)
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited : Bruising

Are there really differences between Shaking and Stirring??? Yes!  And here are the two most significant differences.
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Dilution
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Temperature.

Finally, does Shaking taste better?  Read below to find out.
Shaken vs. Stirred Revisited: Taste

Cold Ice is critical to making the perfect Martini.  If you’re confused about the difference between warm and cold ice, check this out.
Cold Ice Please!

Of course a great Martini needs a suitable container from which to sip this marvelous beverage.   Here are a few thoughts on stemware.
Thoughts on Stemware, Part One
Thoughts on Stemware, Part Two
Thoughts on Stemware, Part Three
And even…..
To Stem or Not to Stem

As always, comments are very welcome.  Please let me know what you think especially if you disagree with my comments.

If you’ve enjoyed any of these posts, who don’t you Subscribe and get immediate notifications of future posts…
<<<<<<<<<<<<<

King George II Inn, Bristol, PA

king-george-ii-inn-f

The King George II Inn is known to be the oldest continuously operated Inn in America!  Founded in 1681, it sits on the Delaware river in the quiet town of Bristol, PA.  The Inn no longer offers overnight accommodations but the restaurant and lounge are in full operation.  There are several dining rooms, some of which overlook the river and park just along the river, a historic tavern, and an outdoor riverfront patio for al fresco dining.

I’ve been to the King George many times over the years and it has always been a great experience.  The place exudes history, the food is consistently very good, the views from the upstairs dining room are beautiful, and the people have always been friendly and professional.

The tavern area doesn’t have the great river views, but it has a gorgeous huge mirrored bar which is almost as impressive.  There is lots of dark wood accents through out the room, and whole inn, to keep it warm and inviting.

Sadly my simple photos do not do it full justice.

king-george-ii-inn-b         king-george-ii-inn-c         king-george-ii-inn-a

The Martini?   They are pretty good.  They’re served in a rather massive stem, which is great for keeping the drink cold.  The stems are not pre-chilled in the refrigerator so it will only get cool from the ice and water applied prior to the barkeep mixing your Martini.  But the drink is very well shaken, ample, and ultimately was served nicely chilled.  (They also use ‘crooked’ stems and you all know my thoughts on that, but that’s a minor nit.)

Overall the King George II Inn’s Tavern feels like a perfect neighborhood watering hole.  Not a dive bar by any means but a very comfortable, clean, and classy place to hang out during the week watching the game du jour.

Overall I give the King George II Inn one stem.

Martini Glass Upright

As for selection, the King George II Inn gets a C-.   The gin choices are limited to only Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Hendricks, and Beefeater.  Hopefully they will expand their selection in the future.

For additional information on the Inn’s history or menus:  http://www.kginn.com

king-george-ii-inn-e

The Perfect Martini Stem “Bowl” Shape!

Have you ever sat there with a Martini comfortably cradled in your hand and wonder what is the optimum bowl shape for a Martini?  Is it a very wide flaring bowl?  A very narrow tall bowl, almost a flute?

stem-wide                 or                         stem-tall

I’m not talking aesthetics here, that is an individual’s preference.  Some people like the crooked stem or the stem that connects at the top of the bowl, and some the bulbous stem.  (I’ve expressed my personal opinion on these in the past:  To Stem or Not to StemThoughts on Stemware, Part Three).  Others like colored glass stemware, especially in the base.

No, I’m thinking more from an engineering point of view.  Is there an optimum geometry to the fundamental inverted cone shape of a Martini stem?  What’s the optimum height?  Cross section?  And how is optimum defined?

stem-geometry      stem-equations

Alright, I’m sure most people never worry about such things.  I guess this is the curse of being an Engineer.  But there is one important consideration that came from my pondering.  From a strictly geometric point of view, what shape will keep my Martini coldest the longest?

The liquid enters the stem at a given temperature, hopefully very well chilled.  Then it gains heat through both the glass of the stem and the surface area of the liquid.  For the sake of my geometric analysis I made a couple of assumptions:
1.  The heat transfer rate is the same between the glass of the stem and the air above the liquid.  This is dependent on assumption 2.   (I am ignoring heat transfer from the drinker’s hands or the bar top through the stem.  I’m also ignoring radiated heat, such as from the lights.)
2.  Any heat transfer from the glass bowl to the liquid would be transferred via the glass from the air surrounding the bowl.   So, in essence all heat enters the Martini from the air, either directly from above or via the glass sides.   (It isn’t strictly true, but that’s another analysis for another day.)
3.  The optimum shape will be that which maximizes the ration of liquid volume (V) to surface area (SA).

Before I jumped into a bunch of algebra, I did a couple of mental experiments so I would know what to expect from the algebra, and if those answers made sense.   If I keep the radius constant and vary the height, how does the volume vary?  How does the surface area vary?  Contrarily, if I keep the height constant and varied the radius, what happens.  While that proved interesting, it really didn’t help  But if you want to see what came out of it, I’ve included a few observations at the very end of this post.

Clearly this was going to be a multi dimensional analysis.  In order to keep the algebra, and potentially calculus, manageable I made one more assumption:
4.  Set the Martini volume to 1.
(It could be anything, since I’m looking for the optimum cone, and cones are proportional, I can scale the volume after I find the best geometry.)

So what’s the answer?  42!  No wait, that’s something else.  The ‘right’ answer for a Martini stem is,  interestingly, 45 degrees.  Specifically, the cone half angle (α) should be 45 degrees.  The full angle is therefore 90 degrees.  To convert that to an appropriately sized stem, lets pick a reasonable bowl height, such as 2 inches.  Then r would also be 2 inches and the diameter of the bowl would be 4 inches.  So what does that geometry look like?  Something like this:

stem-shape-final

Well it turns out that “typical” martini stem we all know and love is actually pretty darn close to optimum shape.  Sure stems vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the traditional martini stem is very close to perfect!  Now I just wonder if the manufacturers really designed this for thermodynamic optimization?  Or because is just looks pretty?

 

 

Random thoughts:

If the radius is constant, then the maximum volume to surface area occurs with an infinitely tall Martini “column”.  Not a useful stem, though the Martini volume would be great.  The volume to surface area (V/SA) approaches 1/3 in the extreme.

If the height is constant, then the maximum volume to surface area occurs with an infinitely wide Martini ‘disk’.  Difficult to lift and unwieldy, but again a nice large Martini.   Here the volume to surface area (V/SA) approaches 1/6 in the extreme.

Random Martini Quote of the Day

Backyard Martinis

“There is no sugar in a martini; no egg whites, no black and white rums, no shaved almonds, no fruit juice, no chocolate, and no spices…. It is a clear, clean, cold, pure, honest drink …”
Donald G. Smith, Wall Street Journal

 

Another great quote that has previously appeared in this Blog.   I think this is especially true with the current trend (fad) of ‘candy’ martinis.  You can read my comments on the subject in previous posts.  Or you can click the following links ….

The Martini, Part Two
Egg Nog Martini??? Really?
St. Patrick’s Day next week!

The “Martini Quotes” page is, I believe, currently the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in, please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.     😉

Bar Review: Larsen’s Steakhouse, Valencia, CA

larsens-front-logo

Larsen’s Steakhouse in Valencia is a hidden jewel, well worth the effort to find it.

Because getting into Larson’s is not obvious.  It is located within the Westfield Valencia Town Center.  That is easy to find via the usual assortment of Android and iPhone apps.

As you approach the restaurant you will easily see the “Larsen’s Steakhouse” neon sign.  And you will immediately notice a brightly lit patio with heaters and an entrance doors just below and to the right of the Larsen’s sign.  You can see past the entrance inside to several TV monitors with the usual gamut of sports games on.  That is BJ’s Bar and Grill, that is NOT what you want.

So walk up to the Larsen’s neon sign and proceed left.   Just there is a nondescript door with very small lettering stating “Larsen’s Steakhouse” and the ‘LS’ logo above.  That’s the right spot.

The interior is clean, comfortable, and inviting.  There’s white walls with lots of dark wood accents, white table cloths.   The two times I’ve been there they had live music in the lounge playing.

The Martinis were excellent.  Nicely chilled stems, well prepared, and amble.  The barkeep asked if I wanted it stirred or shaken, offered several options for garnish, and allowed me to sample the gin before specifying my choice.

On that note, I sampled the Uncle Val’s!  Very very intense juniper with subtle accents of citrus and herbs.  But the juniper easily overpowered all flavors.  I had Val’s in my second Martini and it was good.  But I think that it is better suited for a G&T.

Larsen’s is the only Restaurant that I’ve visited recently that has Nolet’s Gold!  So if you’re looking to try this elite and highly rated and reviewed gin, here’s a great place for it.  While I would have loved to try Nolet’s Gold, it was just a bit outside my price comfort range.  But I’m saving my nickels for the right occasion.

Overall I give Larsen’s Steakhouse the coveted two Stems.  This is a place that I would definitely go for the Martini alone.

Martini Glass UprightMartini Glass Upright

For Gin selection, Larson’s gets an A.   Their selection includes:  Bombay, Bombay Sapphire, Tanqueray, Tanqueray Ten, Tanqueray Rangpur, Beefeater, Beefeater 24, Hendricks, Boodles, Caorunn, Uncle Val’s, Plymouth, St. George Botanivore, Nolet’s Silver, and Nolet’s Gold.

Random “Martini” Quote of the Day

brendan-behan

“I saw a notice that said ‘Drink Canada Dry’ and I’ve just started.”
Brendan Behan

Not really a “Martini” quote, but I found it amusing and wanted to share.

canada-dry

The “Martini Quotes” page is, I believe, currently the best collection of Martini quotes anywhere!   If you haven’t checked it out recently you should!   Click the link: Martini Quotes.

If you like these posts and want to be notified by email when they come in, please subscribe to the blog…. over on the left column.     😉

Restaurant Review: Kloof Street House, Cape Town, SA

Today I have something a little different for my followers!  A guest author!  I would really like to thank Delia for submitting the following Restaurant Review and would encourage anyone else who would like to submit a review; Restaurant, Martini, or Gin, or any other general comment.

Kloof Street House:

The ambiance of this gem of a restaurant is absolutely amazing. I was showed to a table in a nice corner outside by a waiter, who was friendly and smiling. Given it is winter, I was initially skeptical about getting a table outside. The table was enclosed by flowers and reeds on my right, with heaters and dim lights on the roof. This proved to be a great corner to relax after a long day of meetings.

The waiter offered me a drink as I waited for my guests. I opted for Sauvignon Blanc and I sat back and started to feel relaxed, sipping on the elegant and crisp white wine, enjoying the eclectic mix of patrons who were all clearly enamored and enjoying themselves.  The food was equally great, I opted for grilled salmon which was served with asparagus for my main meal.

On the second occasion, I was very keen to take my family who were visiting from England. Once again, we were greeted by charming hosts, and they did their best to accommodate us despite not having a reservation. I enjoyed sticky maple salmon, baked sweet potato and chipotle slaw, which was absolutely delicious. The steaks and hand cut fries were said to be fantastic!

Kloof Street House is a definite must do for those that are planning to visit Cape Town whether for business or pleasure.

If you’re interested in more details, their web site is:
http://www.kloofstreethouse.co.za/

Latest “Pet Peeve” of Martini Making

Pet Peeve

I recently had an odd experience that quickly escalated into a new “Pet Peeve”!

In case you missed it, I previously identified several “Pet Peeves”.  If you want a laugh you can look back at my previous post: Martini Making Pet Peeves.  If you want a teaser, one of my (minor) Martini Making Pet Peeves is not preparing the garnish first!

But back to my story.  I was at a local lounge on one of my travels and asked for a Martini while I sat comfortably watching some sporting event on the TV.  The Martini itself was good, if slightly small.  However the stem was excellently chilled from the bar refrigerator upon being served.

Having finished my first Martini I was easily convinced to have another.   The barkeep picked up my stem and I expected it to placed with the other dirty glassware.  But no, the barkeep took it over to the prep station and proceeded to use it for my next Martini!  I was instantly peeved.  Not only that, she used the same garnish!

What’s the point of placing your stems in a refrigerator and chilling them if you’re not going to use them?   Maybe you saved a couple of cents in electricity by not using a new chilled stem and not having to wash this one?

But the story goes on.  I had seen this happen just once or twice in the past and it immediately cuts my bar tip drastically.  But this time I was engrossed in the sports and didn’t want to leave the lounge.

So after finishing the second Martini, which was ok despite being served in the used and warm stem, I placed the stem on the bar back drop…. you know that small area behind the bartop which usually has a logo’d black plastic mat to contain splashed or spilled liquid.  (I’m sure there’s a name for it, I just don’t know what its called.)

When the bar keep came by I asked for another Martini.  She looked around a bit and spied my stem on the back drop.  Clearly off the bar top!  She picked it up and then proceeded to make my third Martin in the same stem.  With the same garnish!

Had I ever envisioned coming back to this place I would have said something to her or the manager.   Instead, she got a trivial tip for her efforts.  I do mean trivial!