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The Martini


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#121 drcocktail

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 09:01 PM

Ubetcha. No one feels more like Tana at the core of the issue than I. For me, even vodka is reserved for Moscow Mules and Bloody Marys.

Nonetheless, there is no escaping the evolution of the... English language. It is clear that just as the term " cocktail " usurped and overwhelmed other categories - soon to be SUBcategories, so has the wildly popular word Martini. Yes, it once referred exclusively to a gin, vermouth and bitters (yes, bitters) concoction, and in its latter years gin OR vodka hinted with vermouth, it has come to supercede the term " cocktail ". Walk into any responsible bar and ask for a Martini - and you'll still be asked, "gin or vodka". Probably won't be enough vermouth put in, but it IS the basic drink you envision. Add any descriptor to the beginning of the term, and the gates swing wide open. That is because in popular parlance the word "martini" has become synonymous with the term " cocktail ".

Don't fret! " Cocktail " consumed juleps, crustas, fizzes, fixes, shrubs, slings, swizzles, sangarees, corpse revivers, and MANY others. This is just the evolution of the language. Cocktails became the overall category embracing all of the above, many of which actually preceded it. So it remains today.

If you aren't just posturing -- if you really appreciate Martinis -- after all, they were just one of MANY cocktails of the golden age of cocktails, and certainly other cocktails of equal value from that same period are still enjoyed, pristine, while others of value have been unduly forgotten, if you know all this and still appreciate and embrace the balance it presumes, then we agree and have recipes to share. These formulae will never go away, no matter what the new crop of drinkers call them. We can just hope they WILL call them! When you speak of "traditional Martinis", you open yourself up to queries about their brothers and sisters. It's hard to be HALF of a traditionalist.

Whatever the terminology, and as Beans said, the umbrage is nothing new, you can still have your drink - just don't assume the slippery slope is, itself, anything BUT traditional!

(edited, as always, for typos.)

--Doc.

Edited by drcocktail, 29 March 2004 - 09:22 PM.


#122 tanabutler

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 09:53 PM

Thanks, Beans and Drcocktail.

The umbrage really isn't mine. Consider me a proofreader who spots an error that might prove embarrassing were it to be published. I didn't write the rules, I didn't write the copy. I'm just looking around, nervously, at the posse that might be showin' up any time, ready to lynch the idea of an (ahem) Key Lime Martini. Or any other of the libelous libations, the cockeyed cocktails, the bastardized brews churned out in marketing lingo (and that's all it is :angry: ) today.

Over at my other hangout, Readerville, there is a thread called "Word Abuse! Word Abuse!" and another one all about food. (Readerville is specifically book-centric.) I can't count the number of times that I've seen people go off about martinis. It just has come to be sacrilegious to me that a martini could include things like apple or vanilla or blackberry. They should call them "pot pourri cocktails." A martini with fruit would go, in my opinion as a non-martini drinker, right straight into the "Word Abuse" thread.

I think specificity in language is a very nice thing, especially when it counterbalances corporate speak. Corporations employ marketing people. Marketing people employ hype. Hype employs falsehoods. I think it's very good when language gets real.

Or maybe I need a deprogrammer. I hope not. :wink:

Edited by tanabutler, 29 March 2004 - 09:59 PM.


#123 beans

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 10:15 PM

The umbrage really isn't mine. Consider me a proofreader who spots an error that might prove embarrassing were it to be published.

I wrote that eye popping amount on the evolving cocktails listing oodles of these new breeds of martinis, and I'm hardly embarrassed. I doubt that many of the other "real" publishers of hard copy books on the same/similar subject with their pink martinis, filled with fruit purees are either.

Meh. Language, schmanguage. We all have our pet peeves and mine are almost always the glaring split infinitive -- which, too, has become common place and somewhat accepted as proper by many writers today.



typos here tooooo! :rolleyes:
wine not helping either....

Edited by beans, 29 March 2004 - 10:28 PM.


#124 JAZ

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 10:23 PM

I think specificity in language is a very nice thing, especially when it counterbalances corporate speak. Corporations employ marketing people. Marketing people employ hype. Hype employs falsehoods. I think it's very good when language gets real.

Or maybe I need a deprogrammer. I hope not. :wink:

I think, Tana, that it's undeniable that the trend toward naming every new drink a fill-in-the-blank martini is spurred by marketing. "Martini" conveys elegance, sophistication and, well, coolness in a way that "cocktail" does not. I don't think it's an accident of language that everything is now a "martini" rather than, say, a daquiri or a margarita, even though, in construction, the new drinks are often closer to them than they are to the classic martini.

Yes, I wish that new drinks were not all called "martinis." No, I don't think it's going to stop. I really like the creativity in bartending these days (even if I personally don't like many of the drinks) and if usurping the name "martini" has helped that trend, then I (very reluctantly) have to say that it's not all bad.

This is a very new attitude on my part. A very big part of me still wants a martini to be gin, vermouth and bitters. Period. As a lover of the language, I really, really wish that new drinks had the great names of older drinks -- how can a "fill-in-the-blank martini" compete with a Corpse Reviver, a Satan's Whiskers, a Monkey's Gland, a Blood and Sand? When I create new drinks, half the fun is coming up with a cool name.

But, marketing rears its head in the cocktail world, just as it does everywhere else. Is a Key Lime Martini, language-wise, any worse than a Mexican Caesar Salad? I've come to the conclusion that this is one battle I'm not going to win. It doesn't mean that I'm going be calling my new drinks "martinis," but it does mean that I'm over my outrage. But, believe me, I do understand your point. You're not alone.

PS Reading Steven Pinker's book The Language Instinct totally changed my attitude about "word abuse."

#125 drcocktail

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Posted 29 March 2004 - 10:36 PM

Ummm... ok, all of this seems to avoid and ignore the concept of the evoloution of the language, doesn't it? Thermos. Scotch tape. Triple Sec. Websters now recognises vodka martinis, so what's your point? Bring on the "posse". Whatever they presume to know about etymology or cocktails, it is evident that, they are behind the times if you are characterizing their position correctly. And of course all linguists know dictionaries, by their nature, lag behind the evolving language that drives them. Again, 'cocktail' consumed previous categories that were once its equals (and in the case of Slings, it's father). Now, as the "martini" in the popular Martini Cocktail consumes previous categories that once contained it...well, what IS your point? The typically revisionist stance is that the "Martini" is simply gin and vermouth. This is laughable. The martini in its history has embraced sweet vermouth, dry vermouth, old tom gin, genever gin, dry gin, vodka, olives, lemons, aromatic bitters, orange bitters... but now it's this thing that can't be changed, from its current incarnation, the last 40 years of its 140 year history?! Oh please, bring on the "posse."

OR begin to understand what's really happening and put your energy into more relevant (cocktail) issues. Orange bitters. Fresh juices and ingredients, evolution.

(Sorry to be so stern, but I've been at this -- in depth -- longer than you {or the posse} were alive) --Doc.

#126 rancho_gordo

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 08:19 AM

But, marketing rears its head in the cocktail world, just as it does everywhere else. Is a Key Lime Martini, language-wise, any worse than a Mexican Caesar Salad?

Isn't the Caeser Salad from Mexico?
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#127 drcocktail

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 08:27 AM

Created IN Mexico, but not Mexican. Actually it was invented by an Italian in Tijuana for the Hollywood resort crowd down there in 1924, or so it is said.

--Doc.

#128 tanabutler

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 08:38 AM

Isn't the Caeser Salad from Mexico?

iSi, si, si!

Well, sort of and mostly. The Caesar salad was the creation of an Italian immigrant to Tijuana, Caesar Cardini, back in 1924. Julia Child is said to have eaten one of his salads at the source. Cardini and his brother later founded the Cardini line of salad dressings.

God love Google.

#129 beans

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 09:14 AM

doc, tanabutler, rancho, et al.

Martini wars again revived? Surely one of the following will suit as ample battle grounds to hammer it all out! :biggrin:

Direct link to the eG Martini Discussion Index: http://forums.egulle...=0

Or here is a cut and paste:

An eG Index of Martini Links

Martinis
Gin Taste Tests, Which one for your martini?
The Perfect Martini
Drinking Gin
Martini Controversy
And you shake your tail how?
Best Gin for Martinis?

Martini and Vodka Tasting Discussion
Super Premium Vodkas

Vodka (as far as tasting it)
How to Taste Vodka?
Vodka, Is there really a difference?

Vermouth
Vermouth, Whilst out & about

Glassware
Why Martini Glasses?

eGCI

JAZ's Classic Cocktails
Classic Cocktails Q&A

Evolving Cocktails, Part I
(covering the Martini Renaissance, Seeking Out Flavor, Cocktail Trends, Garnish, Bar Equipment and a Measurement Reference)

Evolving Cocktails, Part II
(covering Glassware, Recipes & Techniques and some great Resources)

Evolving Cocktails Q&A

Extra Special
eGullet Q&A with Dale DeGroff
(inspiration for the opening quote and class, Evolving Cocktails)



:raz: Cheers!







edit: Links!

Edited by beans, 30 March 2004 - 09:15 AM.


#130 drcocktail

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 09:38 AM

Nope, I'm done, or as we used to like to say in the early days, [/rant].

--Doc. :raz:

Edit: Oh, one other thing, as far as I can tell, Morton's Key Lime Martini is a LOT like Katie's recipe, but it adds half & half (the dairy kind). --D.

Edited by drcocktail, 30 March 2004 - 09:45 AM.


#131 beans

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 09:43 AM

Nope, I'm done, or as we used to like to say in the early days, [/rant].

--Doc. :raz:

Aw crap. Just when it was getting to be fun! :laugh:

#132 rancho_gordo

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 09:43 AM

doc, tanabutler, rancho, et al.

Martini wars again revived?  Surely one of the following will suit as ample battle grounds to hammer it all out! 

I'm a lover not a fighter!

The comment was made:

Is a Key Lime Martini, language-wise, any worse than a Mexican Caesar Salad?


I was just pointing out that the Caeser was first made in Mexico.

So was the Martini invented in Key West? :smile:

I think I'm on topic and not particpating in a Martini war.
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#133 beans

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 09:48 AM

Weren't Key Limes from the West Indies? :biggrin:

#134 raych77

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 09:56 AM

So sorry to have started a war! In my defense - I did admit my ignorance in my first post. Wait - is that a defense? Hee hee! Anyways... lets all calm down, drink two, three, maybe even four of the key lime BEVERAGES and relax! Who cares what ya call 'em? I plan to say screw the martini glass, too small, and throw mine in a nice high ball and go to town!

Meet you all at the bar!
Raych

#135 beans

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 10:00 AM

So sorry to have started a war! In my defense - I did admit my ignorance in my first post. Wait - is that a defense? Hee hee! Anyways... lets all calm down, drink two, three, maybe even four of the key lime BEVERAGES and relax! Who cares what ya call 'em? I plan to say screw the martini glass, too small, and throw mine in a nice high ball and go to town!

Meet you all at the bar!
Raych

No worries Raych.

Bickering about what constitutes a martini has, and always will be, hashed and rehashed among cocktail enthusiasts -- and on no fault of your own! :smile:

Same squabble, in a new thread. :raz:







typos!

Edited by beans, 30 March 2004 - 10:02 AM.


#136 tanabutler

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 10:39 AM

Hey, you kids! Get offa my lawn! Darn hooligans. (Drcocktail, I can't believe you've been doing this longer than I've been alive. I am solidly on the shady side of 40.)

#137 drcocktail

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 10:52 AM

I know. I've since perused your website with interest. It was a particularly boneheaded thing for me to say. It's the curmugeonly way. I wear a button that says "Ask me about this button" and when they do, I club 'em and drag 'em off to the cave. Is that so WRONG? :biggrin:

Nice design work, by the way. That's my regular paycheck too.

--Doc.

#138 drcocktail

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Posted 30 March 2004 - 10:59 AM

Edit: Oh, one other thing, as far as I can tell, Morton's Key Lime Martini is a LOT like Katie's recipe, but it adds half & half (the dairy kind).  --D.

:sad: Unfortunately, Charbay isn't available everywhere. :angry:

Right, and that would be a difference. I don't think Morton's uses it - some other citrus spirit - they aren't saying. They DID specify Licor 43, though.

Personally I use Scope, T.J. Swann Easy Nights, and Kaopectate. It tastes like hell, but the color's right! :wacko:

--Doc.

#139 balmagowry

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 02:41 PM

Thanks, Beans and Drcocktail.

The umbrage really isn't mine. Consider me a proofreader who spots an error that might prove embarrassing were it to be published. I didn't write the rules, I didn't write the copy. I'm just looking around, nervously, at the posse that might be showin' up any time, ready to lynch the idea of an (ahem) Key Lime Martini. Or any other of the libelous libations, the cockeyed cocktails, the bastardized brews churned out in marketing lingo (and that's all it is :angry: ) today.

Over at my other hangout, Readerville, there is a thread called "Word Abuse! Word Abuse!" and another one all about food. (Readerville is specifically book-centric.) I can't count the number of times that I've seen people go off about martinis. It just has come to be sacrilegious to me that a martini could include things like apple or vanilla or blackberry. They should call them "pot pourri cocktails." A martini with fruit would go, in my opinion as a non-martini drinker, right straight into the "Word Abuse" thread.

I think specificity in language is a very nice thing, especially when it counterbalances corporate speak. Corporations employ marketing people. Marketing people employ hype. Hype employs falsehoods. I think it's very good when language gets real.

Or maybe I need a deprogrammer. I hope not.  :wink:

If you do, so do I - and I am a martini drinker. At least... I thought I was... but I have to confess that I do sometimes drink the vodka (per)version and had quite forgotten it wasn't orthodox. :blush: At any rate, though I too am fanatical in proofreading mode, I have tried to learn to pick my battles; which is why I kept mum on this point. As someone said up-thread (and perhaps down-thread as well - when will I learn to hold off until I've seen the whole thread? :unsure: ), it's gone and gotten itself too prevalent to be fought down; I figure if I keep my own utterance pure, and clear of my own pet peeves (and I got plenty of 'em), then at least I'm doing some of my bit.

Of course, there are a few howlers that will spur me to riposte. BTW, the split infinitive ain't among 'em; there is nothing intrinsically wrong with a split infinitive. That is one of those arbitrary artificial rules that were imposed in the 19th century by old what's-'is-name (damn, what IS his name? my mind is slipping) because he felt there weren't enough grammar rules to fill up a curriculum. Of course, now we all avoid them - even I do - because we're not used to considering them OK, and they sound weird to us. But wrong... they ain't. And while I'm at it (oooh, look, Ms. Pick-Your-Battles is ranting after all!), here's the one I resent most: Just where does old what's-'is-name get off outlawing ending sentences with prepositions? That one really frosts me. Go read Samuel Richardson and Jane Austen amd Henry Fielding: their work is full of dangling prepositions, and they are one of its greatest charms. Well, the hell with it. If it's good enough for Richardson, it's good enough for me. I'll go ahead and dangle my prepositions whenever I damn well please.

Whew. We now return you to... where were we? Oh - yes - if it really doesn't bother you to do so, go ahead and call it a Martini. I couldn't do it, meself, but that's me.

Um. Now, about my own sin... what SHOULD I call it if I make it with vodka...?

EDIT to add: There. I knew it. Coulda saved myself the trouble: JAZ has already said most of it - more succinctly, too. (But I stand by the grammatic rant. :wink: )

Edited by balmagowry, 01 April 2004 - 02:44 PM.


#140 Splificator

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 04:04 PM

If you'll pardon a passing stranger for butting in, a Martini made with vodka is, or at least was for a time, known as a "Kangaroo." Not that any bartender on earth will recognize such an order.





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#141 drcocktail

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 04:08 PM

Some Euro bartenders do. With Plymouth gin, it was also known as a Marguerite at the beginning of the 20th century.

--Doc.

#142 balmagowry

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Posted 01 April 2004 - 05:36 PM

If you'll pardon a passing stranger for butting in, a Martini made with vodka is, or at least was for a time, known as a "Kangaroo." Not that any bartender on earth will recognize such an order.

That's got to be something of a nomenclatural tin can on the tail of its self-respect... but thanks. Maybe I'll just switch back to gin.

Kangaroo - I wonder why.

#143 JAZ

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Posted 02 April 2004 - 07:22 PM

If you'll pardon a passing stranger for butting in, a Martini made with vodka is, or at least was for a time, known as a "Kangaroo." Not that any bartender on earth will recognize such an order.

We love it when passing strangers butt in, but beware! you might like it so much you never leave.

Welcome!

#144 beans

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Posted 02 April 2004 - 08:36 PM

If you'll pardon a passing stranger for butting in, a Martini made with vodka is, or at least was for a time, known as a "Kangaroo." Not that any bartender on earth will recognize such an order.

We love it when passing strangers butt in, but beware! you might like it so much you never leave.

Welcome!

And God bless those that make their first eG post in the Cocktails forum! :biggrin:

#145 Gary Regan

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Posted 03 April 2004 - 09:38 AM

Sorry I haven't been around--far too busy trying to come up with a new Martini for e-gullet . . . What's that? You wanted a cocktail? What's the difference? :biggrin:

Yes, I'm with Doc on this one. The English language just keeps on evolving. Otherwise there'd be no room for words such as cocktailian, now, would there?
“The practice is to commence with a brandy or gin ‘cocktail’ before breakfast, by way of an appetizer. Subsequently, a ‘digester’ will be needed. Then, in due course and at certain intervals, a ‘refresher,’ a ‘reposer,’ a ‘settler,’ a ‘cooler,’ an ‘invigorator,’ a ‘sparkler,’ and a ‘rouser,’ pending the final ‘nightcap,’ or midnight dram.” Life and Society in America by Samuel Phillips Day. Published by Newman and Co., 1880.

#146 Splificator

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 06:58 AM

Thanks folks for the warm welcome--much appreciated!

I'm with Doc and Gary on this one: as much as it galls me to see a dessert-in-a-glass walking around calling itself a Martini, that's the way language goes. In the early 1600s, "Punch" meant arrack, lime or lemon juice, sugar, water and spices. Period. In the early 1800s, "Cocktail" meant liquor, sugar, water and bitters. Period. I've got no problem calling something with brandy, rum, maraschino, lemon juice, orange juice, sugar, water and champagne a Punch, and something with brandy, lemon juice and Cointreau a Cocktail, so I figure my right to complain about the misapplication of "Martini" is pretty much forfeit--taking the long view, anyway. (Secretly: a Martini is gin and vermouth, period. Everybody knows that deep down.)

And while I too have heard (on Drinkboy, I believe) that some bartenders "in Europe" will respond appropriately to the order of a "Kangaroo," it's one of those things that must be confirmed by ocular evidence--in other words, "show me."

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#147 drcocktail

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 08:01 AM

Well howdy, Splif! Your name sounds vaguely familiar. And I KNOW you meant to whisper "gin, vermouth, & bitters!" No worries, hang out with us geniuses and we'll get you on track. :wacko:

--Doc.

#148 balmagowry

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 08:37 AM

Well howdy, Splif! Your name sounds vaguely familiar.

I still wanna know if he's a saffron-colored son of a doormat.


EDIT: OMG, this is my 500th post!

Edited by balmagowry, 05 April 2004 - 08:41 AM.


#149 drcocktail

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 08:48 AM

Congrats! The band is playing, and I sip Champagne (ok, it's morning coffee) in your honor! I apparently just rushed, heedless over MY 100th post. Who knew I'd turn out so blabby. (Don't answer that.)

--Doc.

#150 beans

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Posted 05 April 2004 - 08:52 AM

Not sure how well known the Kangaroo really is, Europe or in the Americas. The contributor to this recipe thought differently. :rolleyes: