Up, Dry, and a Little Dirty: My Stuff and Stories May 11

fullsizeoutput_1f79My friends and family consider me the Martini Doyenne of Omak, WA. I don’t think there’s much competition for the title.

Truth is, I suspect their claim that I’m an expert martini maker is an easy way to come up with gifts for a woman who’s probably hard to buy for. (It’s clear by now that I already have a lot of stuff.) The martini glasses in the photo are a small representation of the martini accoutrements that have been given me over the years, much of it irreverently humorous: shakers, jiggers, glasses, towels, napkins, recipe books, olive picks, plates, placemats, note cards, and that poster in the background, which came from my mother.

There’s nothing magic or mysterious about my martini recipe. I like ’em up, dry, and just a little dirty. For non-martini speakers, that means cold but no ice to dilute the drink, very little sweetener, and a hint of olive juice. The big issue, among martini connoisseurs, is whether to shake or stir. Stirrers claim that shaking bruises the juniper, an essential ingredient of gin. I’m ecumenical. If I’m making just one or two servings, I shake. It chills the drink more thoroughly. If I’m making a pitcher for a crowd, I stir.

I begin by pouring just a dab of dry white wine over ice. I don’t use the standard vermouth, because it’s too sweet. Next comes the gin. I prefer Amsterdam. It’s not expensive and it has a nice citrusy edge. If someone brings me the pricier Beefeater or Bombay, who am I to complain? I occasionally make vodka martinis for a friend who can’t stand gin. The friendship is more precious than my taste for gin, and that’s saying something.

fullsizeoutput_1f7dI top the mixture off with a sprinkle of olive juice (that’s the dirty part), stir or shake, and pour into the glass over an olive or two. The olives need to be big and bold, like Tassos Double Stuffed Garlic & Jalapeno.

I bet you think I’m going to have a martini on my birthday. Wrong. For seventy-five, it’s champagne all the way.

(To celebrate my 75th birthday this month, I’m posting daily stories about the stuff I’ve acquired over a lifetime and can’t let go of. I invite you to consider and possibly share the stories that make you treasure your own stuff.)

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