Very Dry Martinis

I used to be (and I guess still am) a big fan of the English poet and essayist Wystan Auden. He was a big martini drinker (out of jelly jars) and supposedly said that his idea of a dry martini was to wave the vermouth bottle over the glass (without opening it).

A similar story circulates about Winston Churchill. Frankly, I don't think a 'martini' without any vermouth, Lillet blanc, or similar aromatic white wine-based liqueur can really be called a martini. It's just chilled gin. I won't go into my thought about 'vodka martinis'.

My cocktail calendar had a dry martini for this weekend (they call it a 'naked martini'), so I mixed up three versions. For all three, I used Gordon's gin.

For the first, I soaked my almond-stuff olive in the vermouth, then plunked it in my chilled (stirred, not shaken) gin. This was my favorite. Maybe because I love olives. But the vermouth seemed to diffuse into the gin just the right amount.

For the second, I swirled some vermouth around a chilled glass, dumped it out(into a paper cup; no need wasting it), then poured in my chilled gin. This was my least favorite. I could smell the vermouth, but it didn't seem to blend with the gin at all - or at least not very much.

For the third, I poured the vermouth over the ice in my glass, swished it about, poured it out, then poured in the gin, stirred it, and poured it in my chilled cocktail glass. After lying down in a state of exhaustion from all the work, I tried this one. The gin and vermouth had blended better than in the previous one. It wasn't bad, but not as good as the version number one (and I'd even plunked an olive in it).

I'll have to remember the olive soaked in vermouth trick when I order an aperitif, to irritate the bartender. Or maybe number three to really tick him off.