Northshore Magazine

Northshore April 2016

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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26 | APRIL 2016 Stirred, Not Shaken BY BRANDY RAND drink OH, THE POOR, MISUNDERSTOOD martini. At some point in history, the classic combination of gin, vermouth, orange bitters, and a lemon twist was transformed into a rainbow-hued, sugary concoction, and "tini" became a suffix for any cocktail served in a martini glass. Thankfully, the era of appletinis is over and we can get back to the basics. A martini by any other name isn't a martini. An explanation: The martini was (and still is) catego- rized as a type of cocktail. Though its exact origin is unknown, recipes began appearing in bartending guides in the late 19th century. Some attribute the name to an Ital- ian vermouth called Martini, which appeared on the market in 1863. By the time Prohibition hit, the martini was known to be what it is today: a mixture of gin, vermouth, and bitters—stirred, not shaken. Yes, James Bond got it wrong. Why is shaking bad for a martini? It waters it down. Scien- tifically speaking, the more you shake a cocktail, the more air bubbles are introduced, breaking down the ingredients and incor- porating tiny shards of ice. For a simply structured drink like the martini, stirring allows for a softer chill, resulting in a clear (versus cloudy) cocktail. The general rule of thumb is to shake all cocktails containing citrus or egg and stir everything else. Shake your dai- quiri, stir your Old Fashioned. Now let's talk about how vodka muscled gin out of the martini glass. Gin, like vodka, is a neutral spirit. With gin, juniper and other botanicals are added to give it its distinct aroma and flavor. Vodka, on the other hand, became popular in the 1950s thanks to a marketing campaign that touted its odorless, colorless attributes. During this time, vodka replaced gin in the traditional martini recipe and the drink was renamed the Kangaroo. The name never stuck, and vodka martinis became ubiquitous along- side Americans' thirst for vodka. But gin and vermouth are like peanut butter and jelly; the combi- nation is complementary. Like gin, vermouth is made using a variety of botanicals, but with wine as its base. Vermouth can be sweet or dry, enjoyed as an apéritif over ice on its own or as an ingredient in a variety of cocktails. Think of ver- mouth like olive oil: the better the quality, the better the taste. Just a touch added to cocktails offers bright complexity. The one thing vermouth doesn't have is longev- ity—it should always be refriger- ated and, even then, lasts only about a month. Vermouth often gets mistreated, and is, therefore, underappreciated. Give a good, fresh bottle a chance. photographs by Paul Lyden A classic martini should be stirred, not shaken. The legacy of the martini— learning to love vermouth.

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