Posted on | February 17, 2009 | No Comments
Vodka Martinis are still all the rage today, even after more than 20 years as, perhaps, one of the most popular mainstream cocktails.
I have this theory that this trend was probably started by people trying to emulate the suave, British Secret Service Agent from the extremely successful Hollywood franchise of the James Bond – 007 movies, where being seen to order a “Vodka Martini, shaken, not stirred”, would make the consumers feel associated with the glamourous winner that Mr Bond was portrayed to be?
Or could it be something else?
Over the last three months, I happened to end up in a few different bars and somehow, ended up ordering Vodka Martinis at all the bars I visited.
And, as I used to manage a Martini Bar in my past life, I do tend to take an inordinate amount of interest in how the Martinis are mixed whenever I order one in any other bar.
Here are some notes about the different Vodka Martini experiences from each bar:
Il Lido Bar – Sentosa
I sat at the bar and ordered a Grey Goose Vodka Martini. It was made shaken and using a mixture of Martini Extra Dry and Martini Bianco vermouths, and strained into a chilled Martini glass. It arrived with the requested Lemon Twist, and was served without olives.
I found Il Lido’s Grey Goose Vodka Martini too “sweet” for my taste.
Privé Bar – Keppel Bay Island
As Privé Bar does not have bar seating, I sat at a table close by, so that I could observe the bartenders’ methodology.
I ordered a Grey Goose Vodka Martini, and was very pleased to see the bartender use the rarely seen (in Singapore) methodology of shaking the Martini Extra Dry vermouth with ice first, pouring the residue into the sink, and then transferring the ice to a mixing glass, and elegantly stirring the mixture with the Grey Goose Vodka. The finished drink was strained, with flair, into a well-chilled Martini glass.
The drink arrived well chilled and with addition of 2 olives on a pick, and the requested lemon twist.
Privé Bar’s Grey Goose Martini was one of the cleanest/driest Vodka Martinis I’ve tasted in a very long while, and watching the bartender work with such flair and technical prowess, was such a pleasure.
BLU Bar – Shangri-la Hotel Singapore
I sat at the bar, and ordered my (by now) usual Grey Goose Martini with a twist.
I observed that it was mixed in the correct way (stirring), but the bartender was very liberal with the Noilly Prat vermouth, and the stirring was anything but elegant.
When the drink arrived, it did not have the requested lemon twist, but was served only with olives.
I returned the drink, asking for the twist, and to cut a very long story short, it arrived quite a bit later, re-made, and this time, with the twist, but no olives.
The martini tasted OK, but it had a little too much Noilly Prat for my taste.
M Bar – Morton’s of Chicago
I was at M Bar at the end of last week, originally to catch up with some people for a bit of networking. But in the end, I did not meet the intended people, but ended up with a different group, and had to have a dose of strong drinks due to a very frustrating week at work.
As usual, I ordered Vodka Martinis (this time they weren’t Grey Goose) with a twist, and these arrived shortly after, with a slight, and temporary, cloudiness caused by very fine air bubbles, and bits of “ice-shrapnel”, all of which are vital clues to indicate that the martinis were shaken (The bar was full, and I wasn’t seated at the bar, so had to use visual clues to determine how the martinis were mixed).
The Vodka Martinis at M Bar were extraordinarily clean tasting (due to the fact that they don’t use any vermouth at all), with quite a round mouth-feel from what is probably a grain-based Vodka.
The first two Vodka Martinis were a little too angular and somewhat lean/austere, so when I ordered the third Vodka Martini, I asked for olives in addition to the lemon twist.
I liked the third one best, as it had a little more dimension due to the olive brine, which tends to leach out of the olives into the drink, giving it just that little bit more flavour to make the drink more interesting.
As you can see, the Vodka Martini experience from each bar was different, confirming the widely held belief that there are as many variations of the Vodka Martini, as there are bars.
And in my opinion, there is no such thing as a bad Vodka Martini, only a Vodka Martini that I don’t like. Unless, of course, the Vermouth used, has been sitting around too long in the bottle, and is no longer fresh.
Anyway, I’d like to finish off this post with a tiny little bit of trivia:
I was browsing through some news websites, and came across an article that led me to conclude that the Vodka Martini will continue to be quite popular, due to a Presidential “endorsement”…
According to a Senior White House Correspondent for a prominent American News Broadcaster, Vodka Martinis may feature regularly at White House Cocktail Parties, as the new President of the United States, Mr Barack Obama, “has been known to enjoy a Vodka Martini time and again”…
Now, would anyone care to guess which vodka President Obama prefers in his Vodka Martini?Copyright © MM - MMXII Daniel CHIA. All rights reserved.