When I’m out with Cassie for a fancy time, she often likes to drink a Dirty Martini, made with Grey Goose vodka if possible. I like these as well (salty!), but in the interests of not drinking the same thing as my girlfriend, it has become necessary to find my own drink. I’ve never really been much of a cocktail drinker. In the UK, cocktails tend to be reserved for the upscale bars and douchebag wannabe joints. I’ve been to cocktail parties which started with classy intentions, but which rapidly degenerated into random pints of brightly-coloured hard liquor. But in the US, pretty much every bar serves mixed drinks, and every bartender knows how to make them.
Disclaimer: I’m sure there are people who would say these bartenders think they know how to mix drinks, but they don’t know how to mix real drinks, or how to mix drinks properly. To which I say, oh piss off.
So quite a while ago, before I had even moved to the US, Cassie took me to one of her favourite bars in LA, the Edendale Grill, where her good friend (now my good friend) Alex worked behind the bar. Alex took on the task of introducing me to various drinks and cocktails, asking me what flavours I liked, whether I wanted long or short, and most importantly, what image I wanted to project.
The whole process showed the difference in cocktail drinking between the US and the UK. In the UK there are laws about the amount of liquor to be sold in a drink. In the US, your bartender may pour them long or short, and of course tipping may influence them one way or the other. Here, Alex was able to splash around various amounts of booze until we settled on the Vodka Gimlet. Sharp, simple, strong enough to be worth it, and classy. I had a few of these around the town, and I decided that I should try to make one or two at home. I don’t really drink at home, but by this time I was living alone in San Diego, and drinking at home was useful.
First I tried this recipe, but it was gross – far too sickly. I wanted to recreate Alex’s version. I asked her how to make one.
Easy-peasy. Grab a shaker, put in a few ice cubes, pour vodka over, splash of Rose’s. If you overdo the Rose’s you may be sad. Or you may just never get scurvy. DO NOT shake the crap out of it. That’s the most common mistake people make when they mix martinis. It bruises the liquor and waters down your drink– yuck. So, just swirl it a few times, and strain into either a chilled martini glass or over ice. Yum, enjoy!
I tried this out, but I think I got the proportions wrong. I’m no barman, so I asked her if she could be more specific.
Could you be more specific? I have a measuring thing. I should probably buy a shaker. Also, I’m using Stoli that’s been in the freezer. Should I not do that?
Freezer Stoli is good– the colder the better. Use a few ice cubes anyway though. They serve as agitators to mix the vodka & juice. Personally, I would say one part rose’s to about six parts vodka. But then, I prefer fresh lime juice as my third ingredient. I’m assuming this drink is for you, so take a little taste– some people prefer much more Rose’s than I do! If it was for me, it would be one part fresh-squeezed lime juice to four parts vodka, with a wee capful of Rose’s for the bite. You don’t need a shaker if you have a big pint glass, though. And in a pinch you can just hold back the ice with a spoon or something to strain it.
I had a big pint glass, but what did I use as a lid? I would rather not have to stock up with loads of paraphernalia.
A thermos or travel mug is a good shaker in a pinch, too.
My $3 Tar-zhay travel mug! of course! And it had the little slots to strain with.
- 2oz Stoli from the freezer
- 1/2 oz Rose’s Lime
- Put some ice in a $3 Target plastic travel mug
- Pour other ingredients into mug
- Close drinking slot, shake
- Open drinking slot, pour over ice into scotch glass
Sharp, but not sour. Quite smooth. I didn’t have any real lime, but I think it was good anyway. Not as good as Alex’s, but good in my bargain basement way.
All of this brings to mind my Signature Trademark Quick’n'Nasty Caucasian:
- Kahlua (however much you damn well feel like)
- Semi-skimmed Milk
- Place ingredients in tumbler or scotch glass.
- Swirl around
- Wipe up spills with a silk handkerchief (important!)
- Drink… but… very carefully
Later on, buddy Brian gave me a shaker that he had going spare, so I was able to do away with the plastic travel mug. Since then of course I haven’t mixed a single cocktail. Cheers!