May 20: 30 Days to National Martini Day

The countdown continues unabated, only 30 days until National Martini Day.   Time to start planning your festivities.

Check out our associated twitter feed for fun martini and ‘good life’ related posts: @Shk_Nt_Strrd

May 13: Happy World Cocktail Day

Toady is World Cocktail Day!

Why today?  Accepted lore?   Almost: the date coincides with the earliest use of the term “cocktail” in the May 13, 1806 edition of the The Balance and Columbian Repository.  Therein the article defined a cocktail as ‘a stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind – sugar, water, and bitters.’

Though there may have been earlier references to the word ‘cocktail’, The Balance and Columbian Repository appears to be the first to define it as a drink.

I hope everyone will have a Martini, or other libation of your choice, to celebrate this special Day.


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Shaker Thoughts

Glass shakers vs. Metal shakers?  Which is better?  I think part of the answer depends on whether you store the shaker in the freezer (or fridge).

If you store it in the freezer then the greater thermal mass of the glass shaker will help you chill the martini as you shake it.  The typical metal (aluminum or steel) shaker is pretty light with little thermal mass.  So freezing it would add little chilling the drink when shaken.  Furthermore a ‘warm’ metal shaker will give up very little heat into the martini when shaking.  If you’ve got a metal shaker I’d save the freezer space for more important things, like ice cream.

I use a metal shaker.  I’ve dropped it several times while cleaning and I’d shudder to think what would happen if it were glass.


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Shaken or Stirred??

This is probably the most discussed issue about Martinis. The name on this blog clearly shows you where I stand on this subject. Here are two reasons why.

The stirred Martini, when properly executed, has a silky smooth luxurious mouth feel. So why do I prefer mine shaken? Note above that I said ‘when properly executed’. Sadly most barkeeps are not extensively trained and spend most of their time filling beer mugs for people who can’t spell Martini. Unless you’re in the presence of a master mixologist, a stirred Martini is a gamble. I’ll save gambling for something unimportant, like money.

Second, and more importantly, I like my Martini cold. Stirred drinks are just not as cold as a shaken drink. Yes, you do get a little more dilution with a shaken Martini, though that should be minimized if one uses Cold Ice. More on that later.

Ultimately it’s a matter of preference. Your Perfect Martini can be made either way, it’s your perfection.  I’ll stick to the dependable, consistent, and cold shaken martini.

The Martini, Part Two

For the sake of comparison, consider the Gimlet. It is a classic cocktail by all accounts with a well deserved following. While it is made of gin, it is not a Martini. Nor is the Tom Collins; despite its long and popular history.

Trendy variations abound: Appletini, Chocotini, Margaritini, Dirty Martini, etc. IMHO all of these are Kool-aid; sweet or flavored drinks with a touch of gin or vodka to appease the masses. These fruity flowery light weight bastardizations of the noble Martini will not be discussed, or tolerated, herein.

The only variations that will be discussed here will be the Vesper solely because of its history, source, and notoriety. And really, don’t we all have just a bit of 007 in us?

The Martini, Part One

The concept of a “Perfect” Martini is often discussed and rarely achieved. What is it? How is it made?

Before we can discuss the “Perfect” Martini, we must define a Martini.

  • Merriam-Webster: An alcoholic drink made with gin and vermouth; also: a similar drink made with vodka instead of gin.
  • A cocktail made with gin or vodka and dry vermouth, usually served with a green olive or a twist of lemon peel.
  • A cocktail made from gin (or vodka) and dry vermouth, typically garnished with an olive or a twist of lemon

So we can all agree that a Martini is a drink made from Gin or Vodka with a bit (maybe) of Vermouth topped with a twist of lemon, possibly lime, or an olive (or three).