Saturday, January 12, 2013

Martini Time (and a Thyme Martini)

Greetings from the bleak shores of post-holiday confusion, where those of us in northern latitudes stumble around in the cold and dark, numbly bumping into things. (“Stupid parking meter!”) Martinis help a lot. It’s true that they increase the delirium but then you don’t mind it as much as you did before. They seem so astringent and boozy that you can’t help but think after a sip or two that they’re good for everything that ails you. (They’re not, but even so….)

And there’s something comforting in that trace of brine from an olive. Its savoriness is sort of bracing—like soup for people who drink. That’s why I like a garlic-stuffed olive. Big flavor. Substantial. Add a green herb and it’s practically a meal. I’ll just illustrate with a recipe here:

Thyme Martini
  • 2 oz London dry gin
  • 1 oz dry vermouth
  • thyme sprig
  • lemon peel
  • scant pinch sea salt
Gently muddle a 2- or 3-inch sprig of thyme with a wide, thin piece of lemon peel and a pinch of sea salt. Add plenty of ice and the gin and vermouth. Stir and double strain. (Second one is mesh to catch the bits.) Garlic-stuffed olive.

This is exactly what it sounds like, a Dry Martini with stronger herbal notes. Think about going easy on the muddler since the thyme can get pretty assertive if you mash it hard. (I guess you could add more booze to dilute it. Heh.)

What’s that salt doing there? Why not extra olive brine? I gotta say I’m not crazy about the Dirty Martini for some reason. I understand why other people like them but to me, they always taste, uh, dirty. But a small pinch of sea salt in a cocktail like this is very nice indeed.


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