Today I'd like to answer a question posed to us through our Facebook fan site by a M. Tristan Sykes.
Dear Rakish life,
Is it necessary to add vermouth to my martini?
Furthermore is it necessary to use a glass...?
Well, M. Sykes, that all depends on who you ask. Our friends over at the IBA define a Standard Martini as a a mixture of gin and vermouth in a 4:1 ratio, but I can tell you right now that most serious drinkers will scoff at anything mixed weaker than 15:1, and a true rake will spit out anything less than 30:1.*
Now, when drinking alone at home, pouring oneself a glass of gin and calling it a martini is perfectly acceptable. It is akin to washing one's face and hands and calling it a shower or eating a cracker or two and calling it supper - two things I do all the time.
When in public, however, ordering a glass of gin at the bar is frowned on in some circles - especially when striving for social prominence. Calling for a "dry martini" at the club lends an air of refinement that calling for a "Well-gin on the rocks" lacks. What's a rake to do? Call for a "Churchill Martini," made famous by the old PM who would pour a glass of cold gin and then glance sidelong at a bottle of vermouth. Now, according to our definition, this is not technically a Martini, but the mopes at the other end of the bar won't know this and you'll end up looking like a globe-trotting sophisticate instead of the simple, gin-swilling drunk you really are.
As far as a glass is concerned, it is unnecessary, but remember the advantage of the glass- to chill the martini to such a point that it will not reach room temperature for several hours. However, if temperature is not a priority, try out this recipe for a martini that requires neither vermouth nor a glass.
The Rakish Life Martini
1. Chew up a mouthful of ice (Optional, but a favorite move of Alisdair's)
2. Take a 3 count swig out of a bottle of gin
3. Fantasize about the beautiful woman in the above Vermouth advertisement
4. Shake your head back and forth, contemplating your loneliness and misery
5. Swallow and Enjoy!
*He won't actually spit it out - a serious transgression - but he will make a fuss about it and loudly complain to anyone who will listen.