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.