Oranges and Lemons, Say the Bells of St. Clement’s

December 10, 2009
Orange Martini

December 10, 2009
Leap Year Martini

Ahh, yet another one of those British nursery rhymes that sounds so innocuous and yet seems to have some kind of creepy undertones.  I will always think of this rhyme from the book, “1984”, by George Orwell, one of my longtime favorites, although far from what I’d call a happy tale.  The last verse goes, “Here comes a candle to light you to bed, and here comes a chopper to chop off your head!”  A few references I found seem to indicate those last lines refer to public executions back in the days of Merry Old England.  Kinda hard to get happy after that.  The fact that the martini wasn’t invented until a couple hundred years later could explain why these folks were so maudlin all the time.  Despite the fact that debunks the theory of “Ring Around the Rosie” referring to the bubonic plague, I still think it sounds cool to think of it that way, in a creepy fashion, but that’s just me.  🙂

I command you all to drink a martini! And grow some hair while you're at it!

I enjoyed this link discussing the oranges and lemons poem, which also gives some insight into the phrase, “on the wagon”, which to be honest I never understood the origins of.  Sounds as good as any to me!  And of course, just to continue my train of thought that has now derailed over to track 9 3/4, certainly one of the best “Big Brother” images of our time has to be from Apple’s iconic 1984 Superbowl commercial, which was apparently given a hearty thumbs-down by Apple’s board of directors at the time.  I had no idea that Ridley Scott of Blade Runner fame was the director for this, although open watching it again on YouTube, it makes sense.  There is a great story behind the making and marketing of this commercial here:  I love stories like this where visionary folks (Steve Jobs in this case) thumb their noses at the establishment and go with their gut – and it pays off.  What does all this have to do with martini drinking?  Absolutely nothing, really.  Other than trusting your own judgement, and if personally you happen to love the taste of licorice and think I’m full of crap whenever I diss Pernod, well, by all means, try the recipes yourself and you will probably find them delightful! 

Which brings me, in a roundabout fashion, to the martinis of the other night.  The (for a change) appropriately yet uninspiringly named Orange Martini – yeah, I know, we’re never happy around here, are we?  First we’re bitching that we can’t figure out where the hell the name comes from, now I’m bitching that the name is too generic.  Go figure.  The Orange Martini is 6 parts vodka, 1 part triple sec, 1 dash orange bitters, orange twist – pretty much clear and actually very good  – not the sickening sweet taste of a screwdriver for a change, but just a nice, light sweetness, not as acidic as orange juice would be, but with a bit of a bite.  I really liked this.  Like Sue, I’m not that skilled with whipping out lemon or lime or orange twists, so I just put in a very slender wedge from a navel orange rather than risk hacking off a thumb for the sake of presentation.  Although orange isn’t one of my top favorite flavors in general … well, it’s FRUIT, for one thing, vs. being chocolate, and since I take my vitamins regularly it’s not like I’m worried about skurvy, so fruit isn’t a big draw for me … this was a version of orange I could take a liking to.  A good 4.25 stars for this one, I would have it again.

Now back to drinks with names of unknown origins – the Leap Year Martini.  Well, I guess this is served up in bars on February 29th, according to  my internet searches, and then forgotten again for the next four years.  Apparently there are variations out there with gin, also, but I think this, the vodka one, is a better option.  6 parts vodka, 1 part sweet vermouth, one part Grand Marnier, and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice, garnished with a lemon twist.  The color is a light orange/peach, rather pretty.  Good, sippable drink, not too sweet or tart, the lemon juice probably cuts what might be an overly sweet drink.  Not a fave, but not bad, either.  I’ll have to give it 3.75 stars and try it again in 4 years!  🙂  Or on February 29th, 2012.


~ by rachelroust on December 14, 2009.

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