Stylish martini glasses perk up any party!
Even if it's a party of two!
I'm not sure why, but glasses make me happy! I love the look and feel of glass - especially with a refreshing, fun libation inside! With stems or without, traditional, elegant, classy, fun, colored, avant-garde, nouveau style - all of them put a smile on my face.
Unlike a coffee mug - where comfort in your hand is crucial, Martini Glasses are made to be sipped-from, put down and admired - so they may as well look wonderful!
Martini Glasses are also an affordable indulgence - you can find unique styles under $10. When I'm hosting a party, I'll use a bunch of mismatched glasses. It's fun, everyone can remember which glass is their own, and if I do have a couple from the same set, I'll use the glass I.D. markers - another fun conversation starter.
My favorite Martini recipe
Fill a cocktail shaker half full of ice.
Pour in 2 1/2 ounces of your favorite gin (mine is Gilbey's).
Wave an open bottle of dry vermouth over the shaker.
Put down the vermouth.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Add two blue-cheese-stuffed olives.
The choice is yours! - Martini glasses can be all style...
And you don't have to use them just for drinks! I once went to the restaurant Tru in Chicago (a once-in-a-lifetime experience for most of us!) and they served Crab Salad in a Martini Chiller glass - with a Betta Fish swimming around the "chiller" part! It was a spectacular surprise, gorgeous, and we asked - no fish are harmed.
My next favorite Martini
The Coffee Bean Martini
2 oz. Vanilla Vodka
1/2 oz. Sambuca
3-4 chocolate-covered coffee beans
Instructions: In a shaker half-filled with ice, combine the vodka and sambuca. Shake vigorously. Strain into a Martini Glass. Garnish with coffee beans.
Martini Glasses - fun and funky!
Let the style of your stemware reflect the party. If it's a super-casual, outdoor affair, it's really okay to use plastic martini glasses. If it's an elegant, seated dinner, a matching set would match the tone. A standing-around, chatting party, or a buffet - a mismatched bunch of fun glasses would be just fine.
Of course one of the issues with a cocktail party is differentiating glasses when people set them down. I love having glasses with different-colored stems - all people have to remember is which color they are.
My third favorite martini recipe
2 1/2 ounces gin or vodka (I generally prefer gin)
1 1/2 teaspoon sake
1 cocktail olive
In a cocktail shaker half full of ice cubes, combine the gin or vodka and the sake. Shake vigorously. Strain into a Martini Glass. Garnish with the olive.
What do you think of martinis?
Martinis are one of the oldest cocktails around - although they have been given some funky new twists with all the flavors of liqueurs available these days. I felt very old when I saw the commercial for the Academy Awards show that featured Seth MacFarlane as a bartender telling Pierce Brosnan (as James Bond) that "No one ever stirred a martini."
Martinis used to be stirred all the time - and there were special "Martini Pitchers" with stirrers just for the occasion!
So - are martinis passe?
You'll need some good cocktail recipes
The book I rely on for new recipes is the Bartender's Bible by Gary Regan. It's organized by liquor, so it's easy to find a recipe if you're in the mood for gin, or vodka, etc. The index isn't terrific for locating drinks with a secondary ingredient (if you want to use Orange Juice, for example) but just flipping through the book will give you some great ideas.
And you'll need a good cocktail shaker
I know that professional bartenders use a glass/shaker combo - but whenever I've tried, the glass gets vacuum-sealed to the shaker and I lose half the drink trying to pry them apart!
Shaken or stirred?
Classic martini recipes always call for the drink to be stirred in a pitcher of ice, rather than shaken. One of my favorite tv shows - Mythbusters - actually did a segment on the differences between stirred and shaken martinis.
Expert tasters and regular folk could, in fact, tell the difference - probably due to the shaken martinis being somewhat more dilute from more ice melting in the shakers than pitchers. There was no mention, however, of the liquor being "bruised," which was the issue that used to be raised with shaken martinis.
My own preference is for shaken - I've even been known to add more ice to my glass. Martini purists might call it an abomination, but it's my preference.
The world's most famous martini drinker!
Vodka or Gin?
When I became an adult, vodka was the "in" liquor and gin martinis were rare. It was years before I tried gin, and discovered, much to my surprise, how much I liked it - much better than vodka. I also prefer sweet pickled onions in my drink, which technically makes my absolute favorite a "Gibson" rather than a "Martini."