Martini literature

“I never should have switched from scotch to martinis.”
Humphrey Bogart, just before passing away

“What Aristotele said of Greek tragedy is also true of the Martini: “Having passed through many changes, it found its natural forms, and there it stopped”, Lowell Edmunds, Martini Straight Up

“The Martini  is certainly more of a broad concept than a specific recipe”. Jason Wilson, Boozehound.

“You can no more keep a martini in a refrigerator than you can keep a kiss there. The proper union of gin and vermouth is a great and sudden glory; it is one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest-lived”, Bernard DeVoto, The Hour. 

“Hearth full of youth, hearth full of truth, Six parts of gin to one part vermouth”, Tom Lehrer, 1959.

“I’m not a drinker, my body won’t tolerate…eh…spirits, really. I had two martinis New Years Eve and I tried to hi-jack an elevator and fly it to Cuba.” Woody Allen.

“This is marvellous”, she said, looking at the glass. “I’m so glad it’s not about twenty to one. I hate them when they are absolutely all gin.”, J. D. Salinger, Franny, 1951.

“The martini is an honest drink, tasting exactly what it is and nothing else. There’s no sugar in a martini; no egg whites, no black or white rums, no shaved almonds, no fruit juice, no chocolate, and no spices. A martini is not served in a pineapple shell nor a piece of rolled up canoe bark, and there are no disgusting pieces of flotsam around the top. It is a clear, clean, cold, pure, honest drink – especially designed for people with established values and a liking for purity, even in their vices.”, Donald G. Smith, 1985.

“The graceful, long-stemmed and glittering glass; the cool and colorless transparency of the fluid sketching the curves of a slitte olive or the floating irregularities of a lemon peel convey the ipression of a powerful stillness, apt to affect with elegant explosiveness a person’s body and mind.”, Giorgio Lolli, 1960.

“I have to get rid of these wet clothes and slip into a dry martini”, Mae West.

“One martini is good. Two are too many, and three are not enough”, James Thurber.

“You see, the important thing is the rhythm. You always have rhythm in your shaking. Now a Manhattan you shake to a foxtrot. A Bronx to a two-step time. A dry Martini you always shake to waltz time”, Nick Charles in The Thin Man.

“Happiness is finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry”, Johnny Carson.

“I’m ready to believe that a dry martini slightly affect the taste, but think about what he does for the soul”, Alec Waugh.

“The Martini cocktail is a philosophy of life, a point of arrival”, Xavier de la Muela, Dry Martini Bar, Barcelona.

“Dry Martini for all? There is no better tranquilizer”, Luis Buñuel – The discreet charm of the bourgeoisie.

“The Martini: America’s most lethal weapon”, Nikita Kruschchev.

“I never go jogging, it makes me spill my Martini”, George Burns

“Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other, W. Somerset Maugham.

“Martini: the elixir of quietude”, E.B. White.

“Martini is the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet”, H.L. Mencken.

“Martini is the “supreme American gift to world culture”, Bernard DeVoto

A man must defend his home, his wife, his children and his Martini”, Jackie Gleason, a.k.a. “The Great One”.

“The Dry Martini is the most famous and the best cocktail in the world. It was probably invented in New York about 1910 and some say it was the favorite tipple of John D. Rockefeller, the original oil tycoon (he died at the age iof ninety-eight, a fact worth remembering when you find yourself under attach for eccessive boozing). The basic ingredients are gin and dry vermouth. Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

Any nationally known gin is suitable, byt the vermouth must be Martini Rossi dry – the name is a coincidence, nothing to do with the name of the cocktail. The standard recipe tells you to pour four measures of gin and one measure of vermouth into a jug half full of ice, stir vigorously for at least half a minute, strain, and serve in small, stemmed glasses. Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

There are variations on this. Some authorities, including James Bond, recommend shaking rather than stirring the mixture, which looks good but which I regard as a bit flashy. Rockefeller and his chums probably drank equal parts of gin and vermouth. Since then, people have come to prefer their Martinis drier and drier, i.e. with less and less vermouth. Sixteen parts gin to one vermouth is nowadays considered quite normal. Anyway, that’s about how I like it. Finding out by experiment the precise balance you favour is no great ordeal. Don’t hurry it. Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

Such is the classical or “straight-up” Dry Martini, with ice used in the mixing jug but no ice in the glass. The problem is that it starts to lose its chill fro the moment of serving. Far more than any other drink, it deteriorates as it warms up. Stirring with ice in the jug as before and then serving on the rocks is the solution, and quite trendy enough. Realize that it means fresh ice cubes not only fir first drinks but for all subsequent ones too, that’s if you want to do things properly. Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

I always try a Martini out of curiosity if offered one at a private house. I would never ask for one in a pub, as opposed to a cocktail bar. Even if I got across that I didn’t want a glass of plain vermouth (horrible muck on its own), I would be bound to be given a drink with too much vermouth in it. In an emergency I’d consider calling for a large gin and a small vermouth, dipping my finger in the vermouth and stirring the gin with it. Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

The best Dry Martini known to man is the one I make myself for myself. In the cold part of the refrigerator I have a bottle of gin and small wineglass half full of water that has been allowed to freeze. When the hour strikes I half fill the remaining space with gin, flick in a few drops of vermouth and add a couple of cocktail onions, the small, hard kind. Now that is a drinkKingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

Thee was a man in New York one time who bet he could drink fifteen double Martinis in one hour. He got there all right and collected his money but within anther minute he fell dead off his bar stool. Knock that back and have another.” Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking.

“I drank my first cocktail when i was six, in the mid-twentieth century, when martinis were sacramental, and the cocktail hour, or the “violet hour,” as Ian Fleming calls it in one of the James Bond novels, was a moment of prayer, poised like a thin chilled glass to the lips between the mortal pressures of the day and the infinity of night.” William L. Hamilton, Shaken & Stirred.


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