food humorfood humor Eat, Drink and Really Be Merry
The Cocktail: The Noble But Not Always Sobering Art of Mixology
by Marjorie Dorfman

Page 2

cocktail barThe Bloody Mary is a truly classic cocktail with its own blend of history, fable and truth. It hails from Harry’s New York Bar in Paris, a watering hole for American and English expatriates in the 1920s. Bartender, Ferdinand "Pete" Petiot, first mixed it. When he returned to his hometown, New York City, in the 1930s, he introduced The Red Snapper as America’s first Bloody Mary. It was made with gin, as vodka was just emerging as a new spirit to American palates. The name may be attributed to Mary Tudor, the daughter of Henry VIII. In her brief five-year tenure as Queen, she managed to kill off most of her Protestant adversaries and became affectionately known as "Bloody Mary" to her nearest and dearest. Another account tells of a patron who said the drink reminded him of a girl named Mary he knew at the Bucket of Blood Club in Chicago. (I wonder if Bela Lugosi ever hung out there? With a name like Bucket of Blood, how could the club possibly hope to discourage a vampire clientele?)

Petiot’s tomato and vodka tonic spread quickly through the New York bar scene. Many patrons swore it even cured hangovers. In time, the drink changed a bit; bartenders added Worchester Sauce, Tabasco sauce, horseradish, celery, salt, pepper and even clam juice. Purists object to garnishing Bloody Marys, while more flexible souls top them with a stalk of celery or a sprig of rosemary. Many restaurants have bloody mary bars where so many ingenious garnishes are displayed that decorating a drink seems to have been elevated to both an art form and a separate course of the meal itself!

The legends behind the Martini have varying recipes and names, none of which exactly fit the drink that exists today. A modern day dry Martini consists of gin and a varying amount of dry white Vermouth depending on taste. It can be garnished with an olive, a twist or a cocktail onion. The most detailed history starts with a drink called "The Martinez", which was created around 1862. It required four parts red sweet vermouth to one part Gin garnished with a cherry. The first one was made with aromatic bitters and Old Tom Gin, which was very sweet by today’s standards. The transformation into the Martini as we know it happened gradually over many years. First, the Old Tom Gin was replaced with London Dry Gin. Orange Bitters supplanted the aromatic variety. Soon the red Vermouth was replaced with the barest breath of white dry Vermouth and the proportions of the drink eventually became equal parts. The Dry Martini became the final stage of evolution, olive included (but no tail).
cocktail lounge
A more recent theory is probably more reliable. In 1911 at the Knickerbocker Hotel in New York, head barman, Martini di Arma di Taggia, mixed London Gin, Noilly Prat Vermouth and orange bitters. He then chilled the drink on ice and strained it into a glass that was also chilled. The regulars at the hotel loved the drink and often requested variations. Thus, the olive as a garnish and God knows what else, was born. The quest for the perfect Martini will never die and its popularity indeed seems to increase with each new generation. Long live James Bond!

Long before the Martini there was its major ingredient, gin, which dates back to the 17th century in the Netherlands. It was created by a Dutch chemist, Dr. Sylvus, in the mid 1600s. His intention was to invent a medicine that would cleanse the blood from kidney disorders. He called it Jenever, meaning juniper, in French, because he utilized neutral grain spirits flavored with Juniper. In 1698, when William III and Mary I ruled England, gin was mass-produced, sold at affordable prices and became a commodity that competed with French markets. It was William III’s personal intention to hurt the French government because of their threats against his native country, Holland.

Unlike other spirits, gin doesn’t have a qualification measure by age. Most gin is sold at 80 to 90% proof. It is distilled from grain and primarily flavored with juniper berries. It is usually colorless, although some brands may be golden due to their aging process in barrels. There are five different kinds: dry gin, London Dry, golden, Old Tom and flavored. Dry gin is the most popular, and uses a collection of flavorings known as botanicals, which are either suspended in the tower above the still in order to absorb their flavor or added directly to the neutral spirit before being redistilled.
All in all, cocktails are like that old saying, "So many men, so little time." There is neither time nor space for honorable (or otherwise) mention to all, but some include: Cool, Bay and Sea breezes, Zombies, High balls, Low balls (or is that baseball?), Salty Dogs, Rusty Nails, Manhattans, Brandy Alexander and the rest of his family, Grasshoppers, Juleps and Harvey what’s his name. The Zombie lingers with only the thought of what its excesses might render upon the drinker. I would consider a Martini if James Bond would join me, but I think, at least for now, I’ll stay away from the living dead. I don’t care for cemeteries, feel the dead should have the courtesy to remain as such, and do my best to avoid farmhouses at night and guns!

Classic Bloody Mary, Houston

3 ounces vodka, chilled
4 ounces tomato juice, chilled
1 ounce lemon juice
Four splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Two, three dashes of Tabasco sauce
2 lemon twists for garnish

In a tall, ice-cold glass, add vodka, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Roll back and forth to blend. Transfer to martini glass; garnish with lemon twists. Then go find Paul Henried and Bette Davis and sit down and have a drink.

Did you know . . .

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Today, Jelly Belly is the world's #1 gourmet jelly bean, the bean of choice for all those with the most discerning taste, and made in 50 official flavors and a dizzying array of new flavors, special collections and wacky flavors. Check out the menu to see all the flavors.

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food humor"Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks."
Lin Yutang
The Importance of Living, 1937

"Talk of Joy: there may be things better than beef stew and baked potatoes and home-made bread
. . . there may be."

David Grayson
Adventures in Contentment, 1907

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