Beefeater

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How would you like your Martinez cocktail?

 

In my blog about the history of the Martinez cocktail, I explored the timeline of a drink that is considered a classic, but is known today by a relatively standard recipe. In searching through old recipes I found that many, including some of the oldest, called for dry vermouth instead of sweet vermouth, and that over the years the recipe had undergone many changes. Since then I’ve been asked by a lot of bartenders which recipe I like the best and if there is a definitive recipe for the classic Martinez. The answer to the latter question is of course that there is no definitive recipe, but my thought is that the Martinez is more of a style of drink than a single drink with only one recipe.

If we look at other classics that developed around the same time such as the Manhattan and the Martini, we see striking similarities. They are cocktails that feature a spirit combined with vermouth and bitters, they are simple stirred drinks and of course they have stood the test of time to become classics. The one difference between our understanding of the Martinez and the others though is that both the Martini and the Manhattan appear as a family of drinks that include different styles of vermouths in different ratios. We’re all familiar with sweet or perfect Manhattans, and the same was originally true of the Martini, but for some unknown reason the Martinez has always been assumed to be a drink made only with sweet vermouth.

Keep it simple

We’ve been treated to an early burst of sunny weather over the last week or so and it has got me thinking about summer drinking. Obviously there are plenty of bars and pubs with terraces or beer gardens, but sometimes there is nothing better than inviting friends over, firing up the bbq and having a few drinks in the garden!
 
 
The problem I always have is that I tend to over complicate things when it comes to the drinks side of entertaining, but not this year! I have vowed to keep it simple this summer, so despite having an outside bar that I could stock up with every cocktail ingredient imaginable, I intend to limit myself to a few simple ingredients that I can make pitchers of drinks with.
 
 
I’ve always liked the idea of keeping it simple, even if I have usually failed to do so myself. So on my mission to simplify my entertaining I am going to keep a stock of a few mixers, use whatever fruit I find on offer at my local supermarket and maybe keep a couple of bottles of liqueurs on hand just for variety. Beyond that it comes down to choosing a couple of spirits that offer me the most versatility and sticking with them instead of raiding the bitters&twisted drinks cabinets!
 
 

A twist on the traditional

The ‘drinks cart’ at bitters & twisted is not left wanting, but Beefeater 24 does not feature among its (respectable) selection of gins, and as such, I found myself heading for Soho, needing to compare 24 to Beefeater. So a short tube ride later I am in LAB, sat at the bar with James, who by now is buffing a couple of tasting glasses for me.