Sunday, January 10, 2010
Perfect Manhattan

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Persephone Martini

Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Renaissance Martini

Thursday, January 14, 2010
Park Avenue Martini

Saturday, January 16, 2010
Pear Perfection

Sunday, January 17, 2010
Pretty Martini

Monday, January 18, 2010
Perfect Martini

I apologize for the being the Bearer of Bad News, but most of these cocktails were anything but PERFECT.  Rather grandiose and presumptuous titles for drinks which were mediocre at best.  I should be used to it by now, I always seem to be the one who people go to in my family to tell everyone else that something is wrong.   I had to tell my relatives in Italy (in Italian) that their favorite cousin who they had known for 50 years was dying of breast cancer. I had to tell my siblings that my mom has Alzheimers and that my dad has cancer.    Not that I am bitter or anything, I try to view it as a positive—that I am a good communicator and people trust me to be put things delicately and sensitively to others.  Or maybe I am the only one willing to step up to the plate and make sure that everyone is on the same page and can communicate with one another.    But sometimes it just plain sucks.

As you may have guessed, it was not a good week.   OK, the holidays are over with and I need to get back to my real life.   But it sure has been difficult this month.   I have decided January is NOT a good month for myself or my family.  Last year, my mother-in-law passed away at the end of January.  My dear friend Michelle  passed away this week after her fight with breast cancer and I feel numb and sad.   I miss her but I try to remember why I loved her and what she brought to my life.  Hard to believe but most people think I am aloof and tend not to want to scratch beneath that exterior, but she did, she always made me feel welcome and part of the group.   She also pushed me into putting my jewelry design up for sale (, in case anyone is would like to stop by for a look.  And yes there is a story behind the name, but I will leave that for later).  I hadn’t been able to see her for over a month because my husband was sick over the holidays and then I picked up the cold.  When I found out she just had days left, I changed plans and went to the hospital and I was able to say goodbye and tell her what she meant to me.  It wasn’t a long conversation, she was so deeply on morphine that she may not have even known I was there but, for me, it  was a blessing which I will treasure my entire life.

If anyone out there is reading my meanderings, please just keep the people you love in your hearts and tell them what they mean to you.  Do it often.

Again, pardon me for being on a soapbox.   I shall step down.

There are three Manhattan recipes in this book.   This one (billed as the “Perfect Manhattan”) was 6 parts rye whiskey, 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part sweet vermouth and a maraschino cherry.  I think the others are better than this one and I found it too bitter.    My father, who is the Ultimate Old Man Drink Expert, says that this recipe was fine, but the way he makes it is to add a bit of the maraschino cherry juice.   Just a touch.  Much, much better.  And acceptable.   I hope there are no more Manhattan recipes in this book because my husband has drunk all the remaining rye (not at once, of course) and, although Manhattans are one of my favorite drinks, I do not wish to buy anymore at this time.

I know how the next one got its name!! Finally, my diverse educational background is good for something.  Hip hip hooray!   The Persephone Martini was 2 parts vodka, 1 part pomegranate juice, a splash of orange juice and an orange slice garnish.  The name is a nod to the addition of the pomegranate juice.  Now for a lesson in Greek mythology, I will try to be brief, but I really get into this stuff—do not get me started on the Cupid and Psyche myth.

Persephone was the beloved daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest.   She unfortunately caught the eye of Hades, god of the underworld.  He whisked her away to his realm and Demeter was devastated.  In her grief, she made the world barren (hence, the seasons were created).   Zeus got involved and made Hades return her to the upper world but before he did this, he tricked Persephone into eating food from the underworld.  This food was pomegranate seeds.  She had to return to his realm for a month for every seed she consumed.  So when she is down below, the world is cold and the crops do not grow, but when she is with her mother, the crops grow and the world is sunny and bright.

Almost forgot to give a review, I was so into the lesson.   Perchance I have missed my true calling.  Nah.  I would have made a horrid teacher, I have no patience and I lose my train of thought.   I had a similar conversation with someone yesterday.  We realized we were friends because we could follow each other’s rambling speech and non sequitors.   Back to the cocktail, it was drinkable.  Pomegranate juice is slightly bitter and generally needs some sweetening up, which the orange did.  The orange also added a freshness which was welcome.

The Renaissance Martini was a surprise:  6 parts gin, 1 part fino sherry and grated nutmeg.   I suppose the name comes from the fino sherry, which was perhaps popular in the Renaissance?  But I am not sure.  Or perhaps nutmeg came into vogue during this timeframe.  I thought I would gag at the addition of nutmeg, but I added it with a light touch so it just perfumed the brew and did not overpower it.   It was rather intriguing to have the spiciness.   Overall, it was a surprise, and not an unpleasant one, but I would likely not have it again.

Do you remember Green Acres?

Green acres is the place to be.
Farm livin’ is the life for me.
Land spreadin’ out so far and wide.
Keep Manhattan, just give me that countryside.

New York is where I’d rather stay.
I get allergic smelling hay.
I just adore a penthouse view.
Dah-ling I love you but give me Park Avenue.

I would not come back to this drink or want anyone to give it to me, it was boring.   And of course there was too much sweet vermouth:  6 parts gin, 1 part sweet vermouth and 1 part pineapple juice.   I think it would have been better with vodka, frankly.   Gin has more of a taste than vodka and id did not pair well with the pineapple juice.

Here we go with the perfection theme again:  Pear Perfection.   This one had muddled lime, 1 shot vodka, 2 shots pear nectar, a sugar rim and a fresh pair slice as garnish.   Too sweet, there was sugar everywhere, in the nectar in the rim and the pear slice.  Just eat the pear and drink the nectar with some sparkling water, it is much better.   And you do not need to waste the vodka, you can use it for another drink.

The Pretty Martini was 4 parts vodka, 1 part Grand Marnier, 1 part amaretto, 1 part dry vermouth, with an orange twist.   I am not sure why this one was pretty and the other drinks were not, unless it was the lovely amber color lent by the amaretto.   Again, too much dry vermouth, add just a few drops.   I love amaretto, but I felt this was overpowered by the amaretto and I couldn’t taste much else.

My husband liked the Perfect Martini AFTER he adjusted the proportions.   The recipe in the book is as follows:  6 parts gin, 1 part dry vermouth, 1 part sweet vermouth with a cocktail olive.   WAY TOO MUCH sweet vermouth.   UGH.   He adjusted the dry vermouth by half and only added 1-2 drops of the sweet vermouth.   This is one we will have again (the adjusted version, of course!).

I think I have talked too much and need to post this.   I appreciate you all reading my rantings.   I will have some French rose tonight and no martini as I need to keep my wits about me.



~ by leahlair on January 30, 2010.

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