Luis Buñuel and the perfect martini.
One of my favourite blogs Open Culture, has a lovely little piece in it (borrowed from the excellent Dangerous Minds blog) about Luis Buñuel and is appertiff-turned-daily ritual, the martini. Martini is my favourite drink, although to the world of Luis Buñuel I am a heretic and a philistine because my martini consists of Vodka (!) 1/4 vermouth (!!) and oliveS (!!!) and worst of all I am a woman who puts on weight if she has too many, so I would fail the finesse test on all counts. It’s the silly season however, and several martinis are about to make their way down my thrilled throat, so I thought it was worth contributing to this internet meme by spreading a little martini cheer, and promising myself that at Christmas I’ll make this petit gem with my brother, another avid martini lover.
Buñuel’s directions, as described in his autobiography My Last Breath are as follows:
‘To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of the dry martini. To be frank, given the primordial role in my life played by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at least a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in America it was said that the making of a dry martini should resemble the Immaculate Conception, for, as Saint Thomas Aquinas once noted, the generative power of the Holy Ghost pierced the Virgin’s hymen “like a ray of sunlight through a window-leaving it unbroken.”
‘Another crucial recommendation is that the ice be so cold and hard that it won’t melt, since nothing’s worse than a watery martini. For those who are still with me, let me give you my personal recipe, the fruit of long experimentation and guaranteed to produce perfect results. The day before your guests arrive, put all the ingredients-glasses, gin, and shaker-in the refrigerator. Use a thermometer to make sure the ice is about twenty degrees below zero (centigrade). Don’t take anything out until your friends arrive; then pour a few drops of Noilly Prat and half a demitasse spoon of Angostura bitters over the ice. Stir it, then pour it out, keeping only the ice, which retains a faint taste of both. Then pour straight gin over the ice, stir it again, and serve.
‘(During the 1940s, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York taught me a curious variation. Instead of Angostura, he used a dash of Pernod. Frankly, it seemed heretical to me, but apparently it was only a fad.)’
And as if that isn’t enough – here below he demonstrates:
The above article has been shamelessly pilfered from two excellent blogs. The first is one of the few blogs I visit daily, Open Culture blog, which I urge all readers of this post to visit and the second is Dangerous Minds blog which I can now recommend also.