The other day, I posted about an encounter involving vodka martinis and sword swallowing old birds.
Some of you were picking up what I was laying down.
You people are my people.
You get me.
I’ve also posted about my personal affinity for bourbon, because let’s face it, bourbon is really frickin’ delicious.
I’m going to test drive Knob Creek this evening. It’s been a while, and it feels like I’m going to get reacquainted with an old friend.
Knob Creek is a damn good bourbon, if anyone out there is wondering.
It’s been mentioned, a time or two, that, once upon a time, I was a bartender in Houston, TX.
Sometimes, that lifetime feels like 281 million years ago.
As far as that time of my life goes, the fact that I was the flippin’ Crazy Train conductor with that maxed-out locomotive flying darn near off of the rails has also been ever-so-innocently slid into the boring details.
I’m not quite sure what the collective weight of the State of Texas actually is, but, in the 90’s, I am quite certain that I drank whatever that number is, IN VODKA, and then some.
These days, I rarely drink vodka.
You do what works for you.
Since vodka’s been mentioned, let’s talk about the perfect vodka martini, shall we?
Martinis were making a comeback in the late 90’s, right along with chicks sucking and puffing on flavored cigars.
(There’s an awesome mental image for you!)
(Sorry about that one. I couldn’t resist!)
Grunge music saturated the radio and that pole-smoking hack, Pauly Shore, was, most likely, getting laid more often than fresh sod in a newly-constructed neighborhood.
The 90’s — what I remember of them — were fantastic.
And, all of a sudden, everybody was loving them some martinis.
As a high-volume bartender, I had become really good at shaking the shit out of a martini in one hand, while I was sliding a long neck down the bar, and swooping up a tip with the other hand.
Martinis are jacked nine ways to Sunday now.
Don’t give me the sideways, slant eye.
You gotta go poop?
There are martinis with raspberries in them and chocolate martinis and pineapple, apple, mint and grapefruit martinis.
These aren’t martinis, people.
They’re cocktails, calling themselves a martini.
Just because it’s made with vodka and served in a martini glass, doesn’t make it a martini.
The aforementioned cocktails are delicious.
Believe me, I’ve tried them all.
The perfect vodka martini is simple, which is what makes it so delicious and equally deadly.
It. Is. Straight. Booze.
In the 90’s, my blood alcohol level probably stayed around 20%, and if I had five or six martinis, I was lit. Once I got past six of them, my conductor cap got flipped backwards, and it was going to be one helluva night.
I say all of that to convey that I know of that of which I speak (write).
We should note that booze — particularly, flavored vodkas — has made an amazing evolution from the 90’s to present day.
There is birthday cake flavored vodka, and apple flavored whiskey!
Need I say more?
I think not.
Pretty much, every kind of flavor has been infused into booze, and it’s downright divine.
That said, today’s “mixologists” are uber creative and have crafted some hella-delicious cocktails.
But they’re not the perfect vodka martini.
You need 6 things to create the perfect vodka martini:
- Chilled martini glass
- Quality vodka
- Dry, light vermouth
- Strainer (Optional, if you know how to use the top of the shaker as a strainer)
- Garnish: Olives or a lemon twist.
Here’s the secret to making the perfect vodka martini:
Get your ice in the shaker tin and add 1/4 shot of vermouth. Put the top of the shaker on tightly, and shake it like you’re spanking it for a good 45 seconds, if not longer.
Remove the top of shaker.
DUMP. OUT. THE. ICE.
Dump it out!
All of it.
The key here is that you want a hint — just a whisper — of the vermouth left in the shaker, and all of that shaking of the ice and vermouth together, coated the shaker with the vermouth, while chilling the shaker, in preparation for the vodka.
It’s vodka time!
Add the vodka.
This is no time to act like your wrist hurts.
And then pour some more.
Add enough ice to fill almost to the rim of the of the bottom shaker.
So, you’ve got your heavy pour of vodka, your whisper of vermouth and butt load of ice in your shaker.
Put the top on and shake it until your rotator cuff let’s you know you’re alive — at least a minute.
Shake it, Baby! Shake!
Remove the top, add the strainer and pull your martini glass out of the chiller/freezer.
Strain that beautiful vodka into the glass, leaving 1/2″ from the top.
Add your garnish.
If you’re going with the twist, make sure your run the rim of the glass with the lemon before you twist it and add it to the drink.
Or…spear you some olives on one of those little swords and toss it in the martini glass.
The bigger and the juicer, the better.
(That’s what she said!)
Of course, there are variations to suit different palates and preferences.
This is your basic, perfect vodka martini recipe, and you can’t go wrong.