Every once and awhile, I will get all squishy and reminisce about times in my past that became part of the equation that defined who I am today. I enjoy directing time like that. Challenging my mind to remember the details of an event or relationship from times past.

This week I chose to sail back to a time when a new friend of mine taught me about martinis. In particular, how to make or provide exact instructions to a Pakistani bartender in Georgetown how to make “the perfect cocktail” or a very dry vodka martini. Now many of you may already shouting, “Pshaw! Pshaw!” at the very thought of using something other than gin for a martini. Pay them no mind. While a noble imbibment to be sure, Gin has no place in the perfect martini as its Juniper berry infused flavor inspires a heavy hand with the dreaded Vermouth. In fact, the perfect martini is nothing more than the correct way to eat an olive. Oh yes that, and to alter one’s consciousness. Some will express all kinds of preferences as to which Vodka should be used to construct this perfect liquid monument to civility. On the other hand after consuming just two perfect martinis, I cannot recall anyone ever commenting, “Oh doesn’t the brand of vodka make all the difference??” I do not think it is the brand of vodka that makes the perfect martini perfect. I do have favorite brand of Vermouth – Martini and Rossi Very Dry Vermouth. I have had the same bottle for decades. Its not my first bottle though (I dropped one in a move). The secrets to constructing a perfect martini are rigid and uncompromising as follows:

  1. Acquire the appropriate hardware and materials for the task at hand before you start. You will need: a martini shaker, two tall martini glasses, toothpicks, a container of high quality olives, a fifth of good quality vodka. a bottle of Martini and Rossi Very Dry Vermouth, a good natured companion with a dubious hold on self control, lots of ice and a comfortable table and chairs preferably with a view.
  2. Completely fill your clean martini glasses with ice and set aside
  3. Skewer 3 olives on each of 4 toothpicks and set aside
  4. Put enough vodka for four 4oz martinis (3.5 oz. per martini) into the shaker.
  5. Open the Vermouth bottle and stare into its dark green abyss. Leave it open until the martinis are poured. I have heard people might even pour some very dry vermouth into the shaker but I have never witnessed it directly.
  6. Add a ridiculous amount of ice to the shaker but make sure to leave enough room to shake the ingredients well.
  7. Dump the ice from the now chilled glasses and place a olive set in each while continuing to shake the shaker.
  8. Pour the liquid from the shaker over the olives and allow to stand for at least one minute. Some self control is required here.
  9. Raise your glass to toast now and click your glasses, if you must.
  10. Remove the olive set from your cocktail, pull one of the olives into your mouth and gently begin to crush it in your teeth. Fill your mouth completely with its olive-ness and then swallow 1/3 of your icy chilled martini. Repeat 2 more times until your martini has achieved its purpose.
  11. Smile and ponder the things that are so right about the world at just this moment.
  12. Repeat with the second martini