A vodka martini is nothing more than cold, quality vodka with olives or pickled onions in it, and maybe a bit olive juice or vermouth, but that’s it. Something you never ever ever ever have in a vodka martini is ice.
Ice in a martini is a shame. How dare one dilute this refined drink with something as workaday as melted ice! Why, that is just water!
So, the challenge of a proper vodka martini is:
a. Keeping it cold while you drink it
b. Not diluting it with melted ice
c. Not having to rush the experience of enjoying it.
Don’t underestimate c. because really enjoying a proper martini requires savoring it, appreciating it, sipping it and let’s face it, if the last two swallows are warm, they are absolutely disgusting. Yes, I will drink it anyway, but it will be nasty, like cough medicine.
Here are three ways I know of to keep your martini properly cold while you enjoy it.
The sell: Drinks stay really cold when served in the ice shell created by these 10 oz. Martini Glasses. The double walled acrylic design has non-toxic re-freezable liquid between the walls. Just place the glass in the freezer for a couple of hours for the walls to freeze.
The Real: They suck. The acrylic plastic is too thick to allow proper chilling of the contents. They defrost in less than thirty minutes, which means they are single use before needing to be frozen again.
Also you will be drinking your martini from a plastic glass, which just seems wrong. Why not a paper cup? I know I sound like a pretentious jackhole fusing about drinkware, but proper presentation is part of the experience and a plastic martini glass is not it.
The sell: The Absolut Ice Bar in Stockholm, Sweden serves drinks in fist-sized hollow ice cubes, and the barmaid plunks them down on a bar made of clear ice blocks. The walls and tables are also built with ice harvested from the Torne River on the border between Sweden and Finland, where the Ice Bar’s management has operated the widely publicized Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi since 1989, and the ice does not melt because they keep the place at a crisp 23 degrees F. (The ice bar and its frozen furnishings are rebuilt every six months.)
The real: Really? I’ve got to go to Sweden, then go to a building made of ice, wear a parka because it is just that cold inside, and drink from a hollowed-out ice cube? How about no? Just no. I am not that committed to having a cold drink, I just am not.
Now, I’ve never had this experience so maybe it is better than it sounds, but the idea of putting lips to an ice cube in below freezing temperatures just seems like a bad idea. Why? To help us fully appreciate the possible ramifications, let’s click and enjoy this scene from Dumb and Dumber (Hey kids, you wouldn’t happen to have a cup of warm water, would ya?).
The sell: Keep your cocktails chilled to perfection with this elegant set of two stemless martini glasses with 2 chilling bowls. The glasses fit securely in ice-filled chilling bowls to keep your drinks cold and refreshing without getting watered down.
The real: Really, these work pretty well at keeping your drink chilled while you drink it. I think this is the most effective refinement to the martini since Dean Martin. It accomplishes the challenge at hand by placing a conical glass containing the alcohol in a bowl of ice, thus keeping it chilled, as long as the drinker does not remove it for prolonged periods (as drinkers are prone to do because, well, they are drunk.)
Still, this is the best solution to keeping your drink cold and enjoyable, so you can drink and enjoy more drinks. That promotes a completely different set of problems this article (or writer) is not prepared to take on.
Of course, these are the opinions of my limited imagination and edification. You might be well prepared to assess the subject differently. Fill the rest of us in, but make it fast. My drink is getting warm.
© 2012, Mitch Lavender