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Unlike wine with it’s historic, if slightly outdated, adage of Red wine with steak and White wine with fish, a Martini transcends dinner variations.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

 

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

 

Homemade Gin; Round 4

Homemade Gin, round 4!

 

This batch builds very slightly on the recipe of round 3, adding a touch more juniper, a bit more peppercorn, and a bit more citrus;  this time California Lemon.

 

I’d like to thank my son and his girlfriend for the very neat small bottles for gin making.  They were a Christmas gift and work very well.  The only minor issue is they don’t hold quite 375 ml of liquid.  Therefore this batch is actually about 340 ml.

 

Here’s the ingredients and weights and times for this batch:
Day 0:
Juniper, 10gm (about 5 teaspoons)
Coriander, 2gm (about 1 teaspoon)
Cardamon, 2 Pods broken
Green peppercorn, 4 corns
All of these items I put into 340 ml of 100 proof Vodka.
None of these were ground up, and only the cardamon was broken up.

             

Prior to adding Vodka and just after.  Notice that most of the botanicals float.

 

+30 hours:  I added the following.
California Lemon Peel,  6 gms (not quite 1 tablespoon)

I also tried the gin, just to see how it was going and it was quite good, spicy, junipery, but with just a hint of bitterness.

 

You can see that some of the botanicals float and some sink.  The white material at the bottom is the Lemon Peel.

 

+42 hours:   I strained all remains and remnants from the liquid.

At this point the gin definitely tasted like gin should.   Lots of juniper, slight pepper, and a bit of earthiness.  The previous slight bitterness seemed absent, or at least unnoticeable.

 

The final product; well after a few samples of course.  After sitting for another couple of days the flavors seemed to smooth out just a bit and was very drinkable.  Again, I haven’t bothered with activated carbon filtering, so the gin is a natural amber color.

 

Next time I think I’ll go up to 500ml, adjusting the botanical by the same scale and see if increasing the total volume and botanicals is a linear relationship.  When I do, I’ll certainly let you know how it goes.

 

Previous posts on this theme can be found here:   “I made Gin!!”, “Homemade Gin, Round 2”, and “Homemade Gin, Round 3”.

 

 

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Martini Adornment, or Twist vs. Olive(s).

Charles Dickens walks into a bar and orders a martini.
The barman says, “Olive or Twist?”

Way back at the start of this blog I made a brief comment about Twist vs. Olive in a post entitled, appropriately enough, “Olives or Twist“.  It was one of my first posts and very short.  The time has come to elaborate a bit on this important question.

First of all let me point out that olives or twists are each more more than simply an ‘adornment’, despite the provocative title I’ve chosen above.  Either adds a bit of flavor nuance, aesthetic balance, and beauty to the Martini.  And in the case of the olive some additional texture.

I’ve previously pointed out that Vermouth turns chilled Gin into a Martini (Does Vermouth Matter? ). The twist or olive takes the Martini to the next level of elegance.

Reading through the (limited) literature there appears to be a friendly verbal war on this subject.  There are supports on both sides of the argument that adamantly defend their positions.  Olives are traditional cry the one side.  Twists are more elegant counter the other side.  Olives provide a hint of salt that brings out the flavors.  Twists add a bright festive color to the Martini.  Olives are a delicious and provide a small snack.  I have to agree with that last point.

If you haven’t already decided which is for you, try a Martini both ways.  Though not at the same time.   Ultimately the question of a twist or olive is one of personal taste, it’s up to you.

Personally I go with a twist; I prefer an herbal emphasis in my gin and the citrus seems to complement that better than olives.  If you prefer a more floral gin (Nolets) I think a twist would also better compliment that profile.

If your preference is a twist, there are several choices yet to be made.  Lemon or Lime?  Think or wide?  Curlicue, spiral, or bit of peel.

Lemon vs lime is also a matter of personal taste.  Lemon is traditional but I find the Lime to be just a bit less tart and a bit sweeter.  Also Lemons are ubiquitous, there is always a lemon or two at the bar.  Limes are more rare, which may be another reason why I like that option when available.

The ‘thin vs wide’ decision is typically not yours, unless you are making your own Martini at home or office. But when you’re ordering at a bar or lounge the barkeep will provide you with his or her standard offering.  You can ask for the twist to be created per your specifications and desires of course.  And, of course, your results with that request may vary.

The professional mixologist has a number of tools from which to create a twist.  First and most common is the knife.  But she could also use a vegetable peeler or channel knife, which may also be referred to as a Citrus Stripper.

Personally I like the channel knife.  It takes a bit of practice but will (eventually) produce beautiful long clean spirals of thin citrus peel.   With practice a sharp paring knife will also make nice clean spirals, though not as thin as with the channel knife.  If you are making your own twist do try and minimize any pith left after cutting it from the Lemon.

Let’s also take a look at what a twist is not.  It is not a wedge.  Yes, I have had my Martini served with a wedge of lemon thrown in as a ‘twist’.  That is clearly the work of a beer slinger and not a professional barkeep.  I did not order a second Martini and left that establishment asap.

Closely related is the “stripped wedge”.  This is when the bartender takes a pre-cut wedge from his collection and then rips the lemon meat out of the rind and then puts the remaining triangular piece of rind in the Martini.  This is not a proper twist.  While it  may sort of look like a twist I have two problems with it.  First, and most importantly, this stripped wedge will certainly have way too much pith which could add bitterness to the Martini.  Second, it’s just lazy.

(You can find additional Martini making annoyances at “Martini Making Pet Peeves“.)

If you chooses olives, then the first decision is how many?  One, Three, Two?  I read somewhere that, at least according to one ‘expert’, three olives is the proper number.  Furthermore you never serve a martini with two, or four, as this considered bad luck.

Personally I think that’s nonsense.  However, there is something aesthetically pleasing about a martini stem with an odd number of olives; one or three neatly skewered on a mini-scimitar laying alluringly in the Martini stem.  If you want more than 3 olives in your Martini, then go for it.  It’s almost lunch that way.  But serve them on the a side plate so as not to detract from the visual appeal of the Martini.

Another decision regarding olives it what type.  The traditional Martini olive is the large green Spanish olive stuffed with pimento.  Acceptable olive variations include olive size; large vs. colossal, Spanish vs Greek vs California , stuffed vs un-stuffed, or even un-pitted.

Another acceptable olive would be a pickled onion, which is really just a white olive that masquerades as an onion.  Technically that makes your cocktail a Gibson, not a Martini.  But I digress.

Unacceptable olive variations include black olives, grey olives, micro-olives (you’ve seen them) and olives stuffed with blue cheese, garlic, jalapeno, Gorgonzola, anchovies, wasabi, chicken gizzards, or anything other than pimento.  These are NOT to be used in a Martini.  Especially blue cheese!  Any cretin who puts blue cheese stuffed olives in a martini should be shot, hung, quartered, and shot again.  But hey, that’s just me.

Now if I could find Spanish olives stuffed with caviar, I might go for that.

 

The above Dickens joke, and so many more, can be found on the Martin Jokes page.

Homemade Gin, Round 3

Round 3 Homemade Gin!   And, yes, I am learning, albeit slowly.   This batch is significantly better than my two previous efforts!  (You can find my posts on those here:   “I made Gin!!”   and here:  “Homemade Gin, Round 2” .)

This time I backed up significantly, starting much simpler.  First of all I used just a very few botanicals.  Obviously Juniper is required so that goes in.  Coriander is very mild with a slight musty hay (think alfalfa) scent.  It doesn’t so much as add flavor as it seems to add some complexity to the flavor.  Then a very tiny bit of Cardamom, pepper, and lemon.

The second major change from previous batches was that I only steeped the botanicals for about 40 hours.  (I was going for 48 hours but sadly my real job got in the way and didn’t allow that.)

Here’s the process for this batch:
Day 0:  I assembled the following botanicals:
Juniper, 1 tablespoon
Coriander, 1 teaspoon
Cardamon, 1 Pod broken
Green peppercorn, 2 corns
All of these items I put into 375 ml of 100 proof Vodka.  Unlike previous batched I did not grind up any of these ingredients.

+24 hours:  I added the following.
Dried Lemon Peel,  Approx 1/2 tsp

I also tried the gin, just to see how it was going.  I was pleasantly surprised!  No bitterness at all and mild flavors.

+42 hours:   I strained all remains and remnants from the liquid.

At this point the Gin really tasted like ‘gin’!  A bit light on the juniper but overall mildly spicy with just a hint of lemon.  (Next time I’ll add a bit more citrus.)  As expected it is not clear having a nice mild amber tinge to the gin.  That’s easily fixable with an activated carbon filter (Brita, for example) but for the  moment I’m pleased with the gin ‘as is’.

Finally I let it sit for a couple of days in the pantry, just to let the flavors meld (?).   Then made a very cold, very welcome, Martini!  It was totally acceptable.  Certainly not worthy of even a single stem rating* of course, but a big step in the  right direction!

Keep your eyes out for the results of Batch 4 coming soon to a blog near you.

 

* If you’re curious about what one vs. two stems means,
I refer you to the following:
*****   Rating Definitions   ****

Homemade Gin, Round #2

My hopes of being the next gin magnate have crashed.  My first batch of gin was not very good, as I’ve documented in “I made Gin!!”  I had hopes that this second batch would be much better.  Not so.  But fear not, I will persevere and am already planning my next batch.

To give you the run down, here is my ingredient list for Batch 2:

Day 0:  I assembled the following botanicals.
15 gms Juniper, 1/2 of which I ground
4 gms Coriander, ground
1 Cardomon Pod, ground
1/5 Star Anise (one petal), ground
2 gms, Allspice, ground
6 green peppercorn, ground
4 pink peppercorn, ground
1 1/2 inch Cinnamon Stick
All of these items I put into 375 ml of 100 proof Vodka.

+48 hours:  I added the following.
Orange zest.  Approx 1 tsp
Lemon zest, dried.  Approx 1 tsp

Day 5: Tasting.
WOW!!  Way to intense and horribly bitter.  The details:
The aroma that hits you isn’t really too bad, though it is pretty intense.  Lots of herbal notes sliding to the spicy side and hints of Juniper.
The first taste is very intense, nothing subtle here.  Again very heavy on the spice and herbs, with emphasis on the Allspice, and a bitter unde-rnote.
The finish is very bitter!!  So much that it totally ruins any early favorable tastes.

On the positive side, the overwhelming Anise of the first batch has been reduced.  Now there is just a hint of anise.

Unfortunately whatever positive elements there were, although intense, were overwhelmed by bitterness.  In trying to explain this bitterness I believe I have two possible culprits.  First, I wonder if I have too much botanical input!  I may have left the botanicals in too long (5 days).  Next time I think I’ll sieve them on day 3 and see if that eases the botanical impact!  I’m also rethinking my decision to grind all the botanicals or how much I grind them.  Perhaps just a short pulse on the grinder to break up the big pieces?

Second, I may have been overly exuberant with the citrus zest.  I’ve been informed that just a few quick passes of the orange or lemon on the zester is all you need.  I zested pretty much the  entire orange and lemon!

Going forward I think I need to back up a bit and start more slowly and simply.  I started with a recipe that I found on line and I think it was too big a leap.  I’m even considering just starting with juniper and very little, if anything, else.  Maybe just a hint of pepper or Cinnamon.

An interesting note for future reference:  I started with 375ml of Vodka.  After sieving the botanical remnants from the Gin, I was left with approximately 240ml.  So between the residual moisture in the ground botanicals and coffee filter used for the sieve and were then discarded and I lost about a third of the liquid.  I don’t recall that from batch #1, but I didn’t think to measure then.  I’ll remember to note volume lost in the future.

Keep your eyes out for the results of Batch 3 coming soon to a blog near you.

I Made Gin!!

Yes, it is Gin.  No, it really wasn’t that great.  In fact it was pretty poor, barely drinkable.

But it was a lot of fun and I learned a quite a bit.   The most important thing I learned is that some botanicals are really powerful!   For example a little anise goes a long way.  A lot of anise is way too much.

No, I’m not distilling my own spirits.  In fact I’m pretty sure that’s illegal in most states!  I’m creating gin by ‘infusion’.  The basic concept is pretty simple: Take a neutral spirit, typically vodka, and combine with the botanicals of your choice and let steep for 2-5 days.  Pretty simple really.


The only rule is that Gin must have Juniper, that’s what makes a spirit “Gin”.  If you’re wondering what other sorts of botanicals to use, google “Homemade Gin” and you’ll find quite a few recipes for guidance.   That’s how I started.   Also take a look at my “Botanical Elements of Gin” page to see what some commercial Gins use.

Here’s the process I used for this small, initial batch:

Day 0:  I assembled the following botanicals.
10 gms Juniper, 1/3 of which I ground
4 gms Coriander, ground
1 Cardomon Pod, ground
1 Star Anise, ground
2 gms, Allspice, ground
2 green peppercorn, ground
2 red peppercorn, ground
All of these items I put into 375 ml of 100 proof Vodka.

+24 hours:  I added the following.
Orange Peel dried, 6 inches thin
Lemon Peel dried, 6 inches thin

+72 hours:  First tasting!
First I sieved out the bits and pieces of the botanicals.  As expected the liquid was a nice caramel color. Then the first quick taste.  WOW, lots of Anise!!  Really a lot.   Reminiscent of Jagermeister, Ouzo, or Raki, but with out their subtlety and refinement.  There were also all the other flavors, but definitely in the background, except for a bit of bitterness that came through.  And overall it was a bit light on Juniper.

Day 5: Final tasting.
Still Lots of Anise!  Definitely too much.   Next time I’ll cut the Star Anise by 75%, at least!!  I might just skip it all together and focus on the more subtle flavors.

I should have added a photo of  this, but sometimes a picture isn’t really worth 1000 words.

For my next batch, and there will be another, I think I’ll use the following changes:
Cut, or eliminate, the Star Anise.
Use dried citrus zest instead of the dried thin citrus peels.
Just a couple more peppercorns to give it more pepper kick.
And more Juniper, probably bump it up by 50%.
Keep watching, I’ll let you know that turns out!

For my first effort I give my self one upside down Martini glass.   

 

If you’re curious about what one vs. two vs. upside down stems means,
I refer you to the following:
*****   Rating Definitions   ****

 

 

The Perfect Martini Process, V2.0

martini-with-twist

I wrote The Perfect Martini Process, V1.0 back in November of 2015, though it didn’t have the “V1.0” notation back then.  Since then, I’ve been thinking that it really needed an update to make it more readable, logically organized, and visually appealing.

So I’ve created “V2.0”.   The information and process hasn’t significantly changed, but has been tweaked – just a bit.  So here we go!

TAPS Martini

Introduction:

Since this blog has existed, I’ve advocated and supported the concept that your Perfect Martini is just that, yours.  My Perfect Martini is mine.  And the two may not be identical.   What is important is that we find that which works for each of us.

Having said that, in fairness, I thought it time to share what I believe works best for me.  Interestingly over the course of the last years researching for this blog and writing about Martinis and Martini Preparation my taste has ‘evolved’.  My preference has moved a bit drier and I’m garnishing with a twist much more often.  Lime if available.

Note that the title of this post is Martini Process, not recipe.   The recipe is important, of course, and will be presented in it’s place.  But the components of the recipe can be thrown together in many ways, each of which may result in a different tasting experience.

The  components in a chocolate cake can be assembled and cooked in many ways but I strongly suspect that the results of many of those permutations would be far from palatable.    The process is critical.

Advanced Preparation:

The entire Martini Making process starts with advanced preparation. And by ‘advance’ I mean several hours ahead of time.   If you want that Martini immediately upon your arrival at home after a long day at the office, then this should be done in the morning before you leave.   Or, better yet, the night before.

Put your favorite bottle of Gin and your Martini stem in the freezer and the vermouth in the refrigerator, if it isn’t already.  Vermouth should always be stored in the fridge.  See Vermouth Storage? if you want to know more about that.

IF you use a massive (heavy) shaker, that should go in the freezer too.

You may have a collection of gins and can’t (or don’t want) to put all the bottles in the freezer.  What I do is transfer enough gin for a couple martinis from the lager bottles into smaller glass containers and put them in the freezer.   Properly marked, of course.  ( I buy smaller bottles of the same brand of gin for use in the freezer.  Sapphire goes in to Sapphire, Aviation into Aviation, etc. )

If you’re making Martinis for a group and you have lots of stems with little freezer space, at least make room for them in the fridge.

Immediate Pre-Processing:

Make the twist.
I always prepare the twist before the martini so that the martini doesn’t wait, and get warm, if the twist is crafted at the end of the process.  No, the twist will not wilt or dry out in the 90 seconds or so that it takes you to make the Martini!  It will be just fine waiting for its grand entry at the end of the process.

This goes for olives too, if you prefer them; spear them before starting the martini.

The Recipe:

3 ounces of your favorite Gin,
(That’s 6 tablespoons or 3/8 cup if you don’t have a jigger.)
1/2 ounce of Dry Vermouth, and
(Or fill the cap from the Vermouth bottle,)
a lemon or lime twist.

Final Processing:

Making the Martini proper.  Fill the shaker with about a cup of cold ice.   (See Cold Ice Please! for comments and description of “Cold Ice”).  Take the Vermouth and put that in the shaker with the cold ice.  Swirl or shake the Vermouth and ice briefly and then drain the Vermouth.  Keep the ice, of course.

Next put your Gin into the shaker.  Shake the shaker vigorously for about 10 seconds.   10 seconds is all you need as the liquids have already been chilled.  Any more than 10 seconds and your just working your biceps, triceps, and delts.

At this point I’m reminded of the following quote from ‘The Thin Man’:
“See, in mixing the important thing is the rhythm. Always have a rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan, you shake to fox-trot time, a Bronx to two-step time. But a Martini, you always shake to waltz time.”  Nick Charles

Does shaking to 3/4 time really help?  I have no clue, but it sure makes the process more fun.

Now, quickly remove the Martini stem from the freezer and strain the Martini from the shaker into the Stem.  Take the twist and lightly run the rind around the edge of the stem, squeeze a bit of the oils into the liquid, and drop it gently into the Martini.

That’s it, you’re done.  Now on to the best part.

Post-Processing:

Finally take the Martini out to the porch, sit comfortably, look at the sunset over the beach or the pool, and enjoy the Perfect Martini.

Enjoying a Martini at Sunset overlooking the ocean.

Summer Evening Martini

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!

 

 

 

Expanded List of Botanical Elements

juniper-berry-2

I received an comment from a newer reader complimenting me on my page “Botanical Elements of Gin“.  Then she asked if I knew of a resource for ingredients in specific gins.  I don’t have such a resource but it got me thinking.

So I started doing some very exhausting and time consuming research and came up with a few examples.  (Ok, I picked up a few bottles and read the ingredients.)

In any case, I’ve listed the ingredients in several popular gins in the same page noted above.  If you haven’t checked it out in the past, follow the link above and take a look.  Here’s an example of what you’ll find:

Bombay Sapphire:  Juniper Berries, Lemon Peel, Coriander, Angelica, Orris, Grains of Paradise, Cubeb Berries, Cassia Bark, Almonds, & Liquorice.
Bombay Sapphire East adds Lemongrass & Black Pepper to the above list.

 

What is a Martini?

After my recent post on Eggnog Martini (Egg Nog Martini??? Really?) in which I generally described my amusement, if not disdain, of various cocktails described as “Martinis”… or more typically, ‘somthing‘tini a person very close to me asked “OK, what makes a Martini a Martini”.

To answer that I’ll ask, “What makes a chocolate chip cookie a chocolate chip cookie”?  Bear with me here and all will be clear.

There are a lot of ‘-tinis’ out there that are, or have been, popular, even trendy;  Appletini, Chocotini, Cranberrytini, Peachtini, Watermellontini, Peppermintini, Bacontini, etc.  These cocktails may indeed  be delicious, fun, and frivolous.  The common element in these cocktails is that they are served in a martini stem and usually made with vodka.

But a martini stem does not a Martini make.   Similarly a small baked bit of batter alone does not a Chocolate Chip Cookie make.

A Martini has a definite recipe.  It is composed of Gin, Vermouth, and a garnish.  Vodka is an acceptable, if not traditional, substitute for Gin.  The garnish may be an olive or twist.  And it’s traditionally served in a martini stem, but that does not make it a Martini.

A Chocolate Chip Cookie has a definite recipe with very few variations.  It is a cookie made with Chocolate Chips.   And maybe some walnuts and / or marshmallows.  It is not a biscotti, or bagel, or muffin.  It is a cookie.  And it must have Chocolate Chips.

A Martini does not have apple, chocolate, peach, peppermint, or Eggnog.  A Chocolate Chip Cookie does not have raisins, lemon peel, oatmeal, cranberries, or peanuts.

Oatmeal raisin cookies are delicious and a personal favorite.  The look very similar to Chocolate Chip cookies, but they are not a “Oatmeal Raisin Chocolate Chip cookie”.   And an Appletini maybe fun and tasty, but it is not a Martini.

So what makes a Martini a Martini?  Gin, Vermouth (proportions to personal taste) and a garnish; olive or twist.  Preferably served chilled in a chilled martini stem.