Friday, April 27, 2012
But what about a detective who just enjoys a good cocktail––and who might give us some tips?
Nick and Nora Charles
We do get the occasional tantalizing references to Scotch and a soda siphon and, elsewhere, to a cocktail shaker, but that's about it. It appears we'll have to look for inspiration elsewhere.
But here's where it gets truly strange. One drink that Agent 007 orders in Casino Royale is a complete invention, made with gin and vodka. Today, we call it the Vesper:
3 ounces Gordon's Gin
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce Kina Lillet
Shake well with ice, strain into a deep champagne goblet and garnish with lemon peel.
Don't get the idea that Ian Fleming's James Bond is just a Martini man, though. He knows his way around every shelf behind the cocktail bar. Bond enjoys his Bourbon and Scotch, and even indulges in mixed drinks that verge on the girly side, like the Old Fashioned and the Stinger. I like to indulge in classic cocktails like the Old Fashioned myself, and a Stinger hits the spot every now and then. Maybe you'd enjoy one.
1-3/4 ounces brandy
3/4 ounce white creme de menthe
Pour ingredients into an Old Fashioned glass with crushed ice and stir, or shake ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher is a 1920s femme fatale and a private investigator in Melbourne, Australia. It wouldn't be quite proper for even a convention-breaker like Phryne to hang around cocktail bars. Fortunately, she doesn't have to. She has a liquor cabinet at home that would rival any cocktail bar's and, more important, she has that supreme mixologist, Mr. Butler, on hand 24 hours a day.
When mixing cocktails for empty-headed blondes, he prescribes a Fallen Angel, made with gin, lemon juice, creme de menthe and a dash of bitters; or a Maiden's Prayer, made with gin, Cointreau and orange juice. For the more discerning drinker, Mr. Butler suggests the Negroni.
1 ounce gin
1 ounce sweet vermouth
1 ounce Campari
Pour ingredients into a tumbler filled with ice, add sparkling water and stir gently.
Despite his expertise with a cocktail shaker, Mr. Butler never touches mixed drinks. He prefers a good aged port.
In The Long Goodbye, Marlowe declared that a real Gimlet is half gin and half Rose's Lime Juice. I'm shaking my head at that one. I can't figure out how a tough guy like Marlowe could drink something as godawful sweet as that. Maybe he needed that much sweetened lime juice to overpower the taste of bathtub gin?
We are lucky enough these days to have excellent gin available to us, with flavorful botanicals. I like to let the gin shine by using this recipe:
3 ounces gin (Back River Gin if it's available to you)
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce Rose's Lime Juice
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.
I'll leave you with a recipe for my husband's favorite Martini, a smooth and golden beauty, and a reminder that no matter what time it is as you read this, it's five o'clock somewhere!
The Perfect Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces gin
1-1/2 teaspoon sweet vermouth
1-1/2 teaspoon dry vermouth
dash of bitters
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled Martini glass.