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Jun 9, 2010 5:21 pm


Do You Know How to Mix a Martini to the Exacting Standards of the 1940s?



First, no olives or onions or orange bitters. The martini can be shaken or stirred, but no ice particles should enter the drink. The strainer must be perforated, not encircled by a coiled wire. Only American gin is permissible. The drink should not be premixed and stored in a refrigerator, lest “the fragile tie of ecstasy” be snapped. You may hum, but not whistle, as you make the drink, which must be consumed in the city, for it is essentially an urban cocktail. In a spasm of gender generosity, Mr. DeVoto states outright that there is no reason why a woman cannot mix a proper martini.

And the proportions? Mr. DeVoto, mortal enemy of sweet drinks, calls for a ratio of 3.7 parts gin to 1 part vermouth, with an upper limit of just over four to one. This is not a dry martini by modern standards, but in his day, when a half-and-half martini was common, this rates as arid. The finishing touch is two drops of lemon oil squeezed from a piece of rind, which may be deposited in the drink as long as it has no pith.



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