The Olive Update: I had given up on finding any cocktail lounge serving a decent olive in their martini and that’s when it happens: I’m in Vancouver at Uva for the Pere Magloire Calvados competition and there it was, the fabulous Castlevetrano olive. It is meaty, bordering on buttery, not too salty – it’s the perfect olive in a martini. Complements the gin the way, I’m sure, the first person who added an olive to the martini meant it to, just sweet and luscious. I think I’m obsessed.
And speaking of obsessions, I am developing one beyond the lovely martini to the classics in general, the Old Fashioned, the Negroni, the Sazerac.
The Old Fashioned has recently taken on trendy status. There is hardly a guy I know who isn’t tucking into one on a regular basis. So wanting to be ‘uber cocktailer’ I looked up the lore and a little of what I found has it in Harry Johnson’s 1888 book New & Improved Illustrated Bartender’s Manual with Boker’s bitters specified, a choice of Curacao or Absinthe and no specification as to rye or bourbon and the only appearance of fruit – a lemon twist. Moving to another notable bartender, Harry Cradock’s Savoy Cocktail written in the 1930s specifies Angostura bitters, rye whiskey and an orange wheel along with that lemon twist. It’s Ted “Dr. Cocktail” Haigh who mentions in 2004 to muddle an orange twist as part of his recipe.
Next month, the pursuit of the best Old Fashioned begins.