MARTINI: The Paternity Case
by Sapphitini (June 2002)

"Martini? Endangered? Well, I see martini bars all over the place, with a martini list a mile long!"

Cocktails are the last thing I want to be uptight about, but I do feel that some statements must be made at this website in order for us to all just get along.

Any bar that boasts "an extensive Martini selection" should mean that they
serve Martinis

  • up
  • on the rocks
  • with olives
  • with a twist
  • dirty
  • or as a Vodka Martini.

That should be the extent of the selection right there.

Now, my good friend Mr. Trader Vic says that you can also have a Rum
Martini, but that is as far "out there" as you get with this drink.

I'll break it down for you:

Lemon Chocolate Martini = not a Martini
Strawberry Chocolate Martini = not a Martini
Extra Dry Bombay Sapphire Martini, up with olives = Martini

Granted, the recipe for this drink HAS been modified over the years. In fact, the original recipe for a Martini is said to go like this: one dash of Bitters, two dashes of Maraschino, one wine glass of Vermouth, two lamps of ice (Tiffany used to make ice?), one pony of Old Tom Gin and served with quarter slice of lemon. As years marched on, and as regulations were set at gin distilleries, several of these unnecessary ingredients have rightly fallen by the wayside.

Historically, this drink has been LOSING INGREDIENTS.

Even when the basic ingredients were narrowed down to gin and vermouth, the
proportions of vermouth to gin continued to spiral downward. What a dramatic (and fortunate) change indeed, from the early days of four parts vermouth to one part gin! Today when this drink is made, one basically looks at the bottle of vermouth. That's as much to add to the mix. This drink is basically a chilled, six-ounce shot of Bombay Sapphire, garnished with olives or a lemon twist.

Why, oh why folks have started adding cream, fruit and syrup to a Martini drink is beyond my understanding! If you'd like a cream and gin drink, order an Alexander, "up." Get what I mean? There are so many endangered yet tried and true cocktails that already exist with variations of lemon, chocolate and strawberry flavors in them.

I've heard people say that these drinks are categorized as Martinis because of the style of glass they're served in. This is a big part of why a proper Martini is becoming endangered! Didn't we learn anything from World War II? You can't judge a book by its cover and you can't lump all the drinks served in cocktail glasses together under the umbrella of one drink name, Martini.

Manhattans and Side Cars are also served in the same sort of glass. Would
you honestly order a "Strawberry Chocolate Manhattan" or a "Lemon Chocolate Sidecar?" Ewww!

I'm not dissing these other misnamed cocktails but they are, as they stand, bastard children. Martini is not these cocktails' "baby-daddy." I doubt Martini was even in the room when these other cocktails were being created! Call a spade a spade, a club a club and a diamond a diamond. If one is going to have a lemon & chocolate cocktail, why not call it by its own name and leave the good name of Martini alone?

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MOJITOS: How Can Something Be Endangered
If It's Been on Sex & The City??
by Brandy "You're a Fine Girl" Alexander (June 2002)

Lots of people have been writing in to LUPEC about mojitos. Technically, mojitos are not endangered, as you can currently walk in to the seediest of shot and beer bars and order something called a mojito. Most bartenders will whip up something and hand it to you. It will most likely have rum and some kind of mint flavor in it. In most cases, it will be an abomination.

I blame SEX & THE CITY, the HBO soap which is hell bent on doing to cocktails what Oprah has done with her bookclub.

Before SEX & THE CITY, the Cosmo was endangered. Now you find them all over the suburbs, eating people's flowerbeds and running out into the road in front of your car in the dead of night. Although mojitos have not proliferated to quite that extent, after the girls took them up for a season all the cocktail establishments rushed to find out what they were and how they could make them in their bar without going to the trouble of growing a pot of mint in the back alley.

Image courtesy the talent at Madorangefools.comThere are a few places where you can get an almost authentic mojito (you can't get a REALLY authentic mojito in America at all because of the ban on cuban rum) but there are many more places where you can get something called a mojito which is similar in character to limeade with mint in it. JUST SAY NO.

A mojito is comprised of FIVE THINGS:

  • rum (I encourage you to seek out rums from other countries with character and moral fiber, such as COCKSPUR or MOUNT GAY, and avoid Bacardi wherever possible),
  • sugar,
  • lime juice,
  • mint,
  • and soda water.

    Six, if you count ice.

    What you do is put a nice handful of mint leaves in the bottom of your glass. Add a teaspoon or so of sugar. Mush it around until it smells minty and nice. Cut a lime in half and squeeze the juice of both halves into the glass. Add a shot (or two?) of rum and mix it around. Put in as many ice cubes as you want, and top it off with soda water (seltzer or club soda---fizzy with NO FLAVORING!!!). You can garnish it with a pretty mint spring and a lime wedge.

    Your drink will be mostly clear and sparkling with pieces of mint floating in it. Lovely. Tart, sweet, and summery.

    What you DO NOT do is: add sour mix, 7Up or any other flavored soda, use mint syrup or anything like that, leave out the mint or the limes, OR MAKE THEM AHEAD OF TIME. (You can mix up a "mojito syrup," by crushing the mint and sugar and lime juice and rum up together in a pitcher, but please add the soda to the glass just before serving. Sparkle is key.)

    The Cuban people have a saying:" the mojito sparks your life and makes you happy." It is their national drink, and the Cuban people really know how to have a good time. Try it and see what it does for you.

    *NOTE: If you ever have accession to travel outside the realm of the trade embargo, you MUST have a mojito made with Havana Club rum. Your life will never be the same.

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