~The American Liquor industry
Every once and a while, strangers go up to us on the street and say, “Goddamn it AFFotD, I can’t believe you let your news editor befoul our daughter, I’ll kill the bastard if’n I ever lay eyes on him again,” and after we wrestle them to the ground and get their daughters contact information and age (phew, 18) they eventually, in tears, ask us why we seem to hate President Carter so much.
Is it the award he got for letting Iran misuse nuclear technology? That didn’t help things, but no. Was it the fact that he builds houses for the poor? Weirdly enough we actually have a problem with that, but no that’s not it. No we hate Carter because he is largely responsible for the fact that it’s no longer considered “acceptable” to have a three-martini lunch at work anymore. That tells you how Un-American Jimmy Carter was while also serving as a convenient enough segue to our more important topic.
Martinis. Invented by Americans, made by Americans, used by James Bond to sleep with American women, the Martini is the classiest way to say, “Hi, I am an individual of refined tastes, and if you approached me at this bar I very possibly will sleep with you” without sitting at a bar holding onto a string of condoms. So with that in mind, let’s raise our cocktail glass to…
The Martini: America’s Classiest Alcohol Delivery System
When people write about Martinis, they do so with a refined grace that mirrors the brilliant simplicity of the Martini itself. H.L. Mecken called the Martini “The only American invention as perfect as the sonnet” while E.B. Whtie called it “The elixir of quietude.” We’d go one step further to say, “Martinis are fucking delicious.” Oh shit, sorry, Wordsworth was the one who said that.
There is furious debate about whether a Vodka Martini is in fact, a Martini, with purists saying no, and people who don’t have a rod up their ass saying, “Yeah, sure.” The International Bartenders Association lists a Martini as about 2 ounces of gin with half an ounce of dry vermouth, mixed with ice cubes, and strained straight up into a chilled cocktail glass. Olives or lemon peel can be used to garnish.
A Martini can be made “Dry” or “American” (that is, with very little vermouth) or “Wet” or “Lame” (which is diluted with lots of vermouth). While it shouldn’t surprise you that a booze that basically uses alcohol as a mixer for liquor originated in America, we at AFFotD do take a degree of satisfaction knowing that the popularity of the drink is largely due to Prohibition.
Prohibition, pictured here being just the WORST.
Since gin was relatively easy to manufacture (or so we’ve been told, but between us, we have no idea what a juniper even looks like) Martinis became a very predominant cocktail, though as Prohibition was repealed, and alcohol was easier to come by, they began being poured with increasingly less vermouth. This is just to further emphasize that Martinis were invented in America, because only in America would we invent a drink that involves taking something with a lot of alcohol in it and mixing it with something that has a little less alcohol in it and have our reaction be, “Well, it’s good…but let’s make it stronger.”
And stronger we made it. Vodka martinis take that a step further, since they require so little vermouth that the properly American vodka Martini is little more than cold vodka with an olive in it. Quibble all you want about gin Martinis being the “only” kind of Martini you can drink, anytime you can take doing a shot of hard alcohol and make it seem classy and sophisticated, we’re interested.
Or just take out the middle man and make it grain alcohol. Whichever.
Before we let you go and pour yourself the Martini of your choice, secure in your knowledge of, “Huh, I’m surprised AFFotD couldn’t didn’t write anything more about Martinis” we want to point out one thing. Any frou-frou Martini, like an “appletini!” or a “Chocolate French Cream Silk Pineapple Watermelon Bullshit tini!” are not Martinis. They’re just being served in the same glass. So you can insult anyone for ordering an appletini without disrespecting this fine, American beverage.
(Unless you’re a girl, in which case appletinis are fine, we guess)