There's something about the perfect icy martini before dinner preparation that puts the day into the proper perspective. It's the time I can sit and have a conversation with DH or perhaps just sit out on the deck and watch the sun slide behind the oak trees. Peaceful perfection.
I like all kinds of martini concoctions and we have fun making them of different liquors and additives but our current fave, even better than a Grey Goose Tooni is the Bombay Sapphire Martini.
Bombay Sapphire Gin has the most delicate flavor. I believe it has to be one of the best exports ever to come out of England. Bombay Sapphire declares itself to be from a 1761 recipe and it contains the following twelve special ingredients:
Almonds from Spain, Lemon Peel from Spain, Liquorice from China, Juniper Berries from Italy, Orris Root from Italy, Angelica Root from Saxony, Coriander Seeds from Mexico, Cassia Bark from Indo-China, Cubeb Berries from Java, and Grains of Paradise from West Africa.
No, I don't make this stuff up, I just read the labels.
Cubeb berries have a peppery taste with hints of lavender and camphor. Grains of Paradise are glamorously named berries imported from West Africa where they grow profusely. They look like tiny dark brown nuts and have a peppery taste with hints of lavender and camphor. Angelica Root helps to 'fix' the volatile flavors of the other botanicals and bind them together. The bitter almond is the one used in gin and it is closely related to the peach tree. Lemon peel releases a fragrant oil and Orris Root smells of sweet violets.
Coriander seeds look like mini rugby balls and have a fresh, slightly spicy, ginger, sage and lemon flavor. Cassia bark is the bark of the Acacia tree that grows in Vietnam, China and Madagascar. It resembles cinnamon in flavor but is stronger and more bitter and tastes very like Dentyne chewing gum.
The bittersweet liquorice root brings a light, woody taste and rounds off the flavors. And of course, Juniper Berries are the main botanical ingredient in all gins. The best juniper berries are from Umbrian (Italy) hilltops and from above the tree line in the former Yugoslavia. Different gins use different proportions of juniper in their recipes but its taste is instantly recognizable, bittersweet and oily with hints of pine, lavender and camphor - the taste of the mountains.
I promise you that Bombay Sapphire Gin has the most unique and delicate flavor and it makes the perfect complex Gin Martini. All of those botanicals are infused together into the most delightful spirit and with proper contemplation, you can taste each and every ingredient.
Visit the Bombay Sapphire Site if you are over 21 years of age.
Our current vermouth of choice is Noilly Prat but I also quite like Martini and Rossi Extra Dry. As you may have already noted, I am not a liquor nor wine snob. (I'm a total beer snob but that's another story.)
DH likes Jalapeno Stuffed olives, I prefer Garlic Stuffed, but we both like all kinds including giant Pimento Stuffed, Almond Stuffed, even the occasional Cocktail Onion or Lemon Twist. We tried Bleu Cheese stuffed olives but didn't much care for them... too over-powering for even a vodka martini in our book.
Oh, yes, we also like our martini's shaken, not stirred; up - of course, and dirty. Lightly dirty, please. "Dirty" means a little olive juice. I usually do this by forking the olive and then letting it drip and drain into the martini glass before I pour the tooni. Just a wee puddle of olive juice -a few drops will suffice. And one more thing, we prefer to keep the gin shaker in the freezer with old ice in it. We'll add a few new cubes daily as needed but at least half the ice is saved from the day before. We believe it has absorbed the essence of the Juniper Berries. There's nothing wrong with a little pomp and superstition when it comes to the perfect martini.