Why and When?

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Martini PNGSo we settled on a book, our “Bible”, as it were.  The Martini Book, by Sally Ann Berk, with lovely photographs by Zeva Oelbaum, with 201 recipes.  Cathy has the first edition of the book (1997) and Sue just bought the newer, second edition.  There are slight variances in the A-Z drink recipes that are included and we decided that we will address these as we go along – Sue’s book may have one that Cathy’s does not and vice-versa, in which case we will either pick whichever one we like better or perhaps make both. 

We never really addressed the “why” of drinking a whole bunch of martinis.  To both of us, the classic martini is a representation of a simpler time, a classier era, one that we only remember from childhood perceptions vs. adult experiences, which of course colors reality. 

But harken back to the 50’s, the 40’s, or earlier, whether in your memory or your imagination, and think of the simple dry martini – gin or vodka, gin is admittedly the classic variety.  A dash, a drop, or none – of dry vermouth – and gin, shaken with ice, served with a couple of olives – ice-cold, crisp and clear.  Compare to today’s concotions of rum, vodka, liqueurs, soda, tequila, fruit, syrups, flames, and rude names like Adios Motherfucker.  Whole layers of taste and refinement lost for the sake of pursuing a quicker route to drunkeness.  People used to sip, now they chug.  Couples used to flirt for weeks or months on end and not have sex until they were married; now they stop calling each other after the first time they sleep together, a week after they’ve met.  Movies used to have suspense, character development, dialogue, plots, mystery and intrigue, and humor that didn’t have to be fueled by bodily functions.  Now we have the action flick that leaves you exhausted before you even leave the theater and a plotline that could be sketched by a two-year-old with a crayon. 

And think how we dress – not you in particular, per se, but the American public in general.  One need only go to the People of Walmart website to see the sorriest examples of what passes for apparently acceptable attire and appearance.  Cathy’s brother gave her one of those “Year You Were Born” mini-book birthday cards this year and it’s full of advertisements for Ivory dishwashing liquid and GE appliances with women dressed in blouses, skirts, and heels – to do housework.   Gas was $.29 a gallon and a stamp was five cents.  Life was simpler, classier, more elegant (and certainly cheaper).  Who doesn’t long for simpler times?

Is it any wonder a drink like the martini has had such a resurgence? 

In addition, we forgot another important aspect of the Martini Diaries – the timeframe.  Every good experiment must be time-constrained.  Cathy’s original idea was 201 martinis in 20 days (split between 2 women, mind you) but even she admitted that could lead to liver failure even among the most devout of alcoholics.  We decided that since 2009 is coming to a close, a good point to shoot for is New Year’s Eve for our 201st martini. It will mean the occasional evening that will require the consumption of more than one cocktail, but is is a cross we have both decided we will bear.

Join us as we discover the appeal of the martini – the new, the old, the classic, and the complicated – and perhaps try to bring a bit of that refinement and ease into our own lives along the way. 

We are your hosts, Sue and Cathy.  Drinks are served.


~ by rachelroust on October 23, 2009.

2 Responses to “Why and When?”

  1. Classy. Interesting. Well-written. I think I’ll have a drink!

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