Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Olive or Twist

In the week or so leading up to the cocktail party we threw this past Saturday, we gradually picked up some essentials. As the bar master of the household, it was my job to decide what the loose drink menu is to be. The decision was martinis, gimlets and manhattans with battery of basic mixers and special requests invited.
As readers of past blogs may know, I likes me a good vodka martini. I find gin to be too floral and medicinal for my taste; it's like drinking aftershave. And who among us hasn't tried taking a swig of aftershave. We all get curious. Martini purists will argue that a vodka martini is not a martini, but these people drink aftershave--you can't trust people like that.
Another point of contention is the garnish. I go with a twist of lemon. Always have. I don't hang out with people who order martinis so I just kind of assumed that people do what I do and get martinis with twists. In my mind, the olive had fallen by the wayside--a forgotten relic of a simpler time.
When Heather and I were in Whole Foods buying supplies, she suggested that perhaps we buy olives if martinis are on the menu. I thought it was a fine idea. I didn't think people would want them but I thought it would lend our party some credibility. Since neither Heather nor myself drinks martinis with olives, we didn't know whether to get pitted or non-pitted green olives. We didn't even know if they should be stuffed with anything. We erred on the safe side and got the non-pitted ones. It was the wrong choice but easily correctable. Before the party, I spent a little time pitting olives and placing them in a ramekin as well as cut plenty of citrus.
One of the first cocktails I mixed was for myself. It was a vodka martini with an olive. I took the trouble to pit them, I'd be damned if they didn't get some use. Plus I'd get to feel cool--like Cary Grant or something. Well wouldn't you know it, every single one of my guests that ordered a martini from me took theirs with an olive. Without exception. Not one person took a twist. We were all like a gaggle of Cary Grants.
Midway though the evening, I had to suck it up, get out the pitter and pit more olives because of the demand. But the effort was well worth the knowledge I obtained. There is a grassroots clamor for olives that I was not aware of. People like their vodka slightly salty rather than slightly tart. It was like a crazy sociological experiment. The cost of my misapprehension is a fridge full of sliced lemon.

1 comment:

RecoveringActor said...

I was not invited to your cocktail party. I'm hurt. Just cuz I live in Delaware... and slept on your couch for two days and barely saw you... doesn't mean i don't need some affection once in a while.

On a sidenote--I need to buy vodka for my martini lovin' boss. Suggestions?

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