I can only surmise that Rob and the Post's Jason Wilson are in cahoots to ruin the martini.
A few weeks ago, Wilson wrote in his Spirits column that the era the dry martini is coming to close. No longer would we be forced to drink the drink of Churchill and Hemingway. Finally, we can add dry vermouth -- lots of dry vermouth -- to the drink.
Rob followed with his own attack on the dry martini. It hardly qualifies as a cocktail, he said. D.C. bartenders are now mixing 50-50 gin and vermouth martinis, he said. The dry martini is your grandpa's drink, they both said.
Hardly a cocktail?! Grandpa's drink?!
People, the dry martini is one of the single greatest cocktails ever constructed. When done properly, it's crisp, bracing and ever so slightly sweet. It's everything you want in a proper cocktail.
If all that gin is too much for you, maybe you should stick to vodka tonics.
Speaking of vodka, let's be clear about what a martini is. On this point, Wilson was right. A martini is gin, dry vermouth and garnish, stirred and served in a cocktail glass. While the olive is the common garnish, I prefer a lemon twist. If I want to change it up a bit, I add a few dashes of orange bitters.
What the martini is not is a vodka and vermouth cocktail. Gin is the martini's foundational ingredient. It's the bedrock for which the drink is constructed upon. Replace it and you have a different drink.
As the foundational ingredient, gin should be the prominent ingredient. I like the story about Churchill merely tipping his glass toward France to give his martini his preferred amount of vermouth. But if the story is true, the prime minister was not drinking a martini.
On the other hand, by overwhelming the martini with dry vermouth, you lose the flavor of the spirit. Gin has a distinct herbal character, but it's easily drowned out by the vermouth.
Now, if you're a fan of vermouth, by all means dump as much as you like to your martini. But Papa, the prime minister and I will continue to enjoy our martinis dry, very dry.
3 oz. of gin (Plymouth, Hendricks and Martin Miller's are all good choices)
1 tsp. dry vermouth (Dolin works)
Fill a shaker half full with ice and add the dry vermouth. Stir and vermouth to coat the ice cubes and strain the excess. Add the gin, stir and pour into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lemon twist.