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Martinis?  

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Welcome to Chef Talk, Andrew and Karen! I'm very happy you're here because I'm a real neophyte when it comes to wines and drinks to accompany food, and hope to learn a lot from your time with us. (It won't be hard; I don't know much. :blush: )

My question involves the current rage for martinis. I thought a martini was made with gin or vodka and a little vermouth. Now I see chocolate martinis- even martinis made with beer! Are these truly martinis, and what do you think about the current explosion of drinks of this type?

Thanks in advance for your comments.

Mezzaluna
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post #2 of 7

Re: Martinis-a-go-go

Hi Mezzaluna,

Thanks for the words of welcome!

If you'd asked us just a few years ago what we thought of cocktails, our answer probably would have been very different. As we both hold sommelier certificates, we consider ourselves wine lovers first and foremost.

However, there is a huge, burgeoning cocktail movement taking place in America, and we've become convinced that cocktails are here to stay! More importantly, there is a very serious and dedicated group of mixologists and bar chefs (formerly known as bartenders) who are pushing the envelope on a whole new world of "liquid cuisine."

Some have taken the compatible flavors indexed in our book Culinary Artistry as their starting point to create new cocktails -- including martinis. While the traditional recipe calls for gin (or, more recently, vodka) and dry vermouth, over the past several months we've tasted "martinis" that included everything from apple cider and cinnamon sticks to chocolate liqueurs and Oreo cookie-crumb rims! The deliciousness of each spoke for itself.

What's particularly exciting about this new world of cocktails is the ability to create drinks that pair beautifully with food. The Apple Cider Mill Martini we tasted was beautifully paired with a butternut squash soup. The Chocolate Decadence Martini was an awesome match with a banana-chocolate cake. (Recipes for the martinis can be found on our Web site's September 2006 Blog.)

In November, we paid a visit to bar chef Lu Brow at Cafe Adelaide in New Orleans, who boasts the country's first "bar chef table," where she pairs elegant cocktails to dishes coming out of the kitchen. We were smitten -- and expect we'll see even more efforts such as this in the months and years to come.

So, we hope you'll enjoy the experience of your next "martini" -- no matter what form it takes!

Cheers,
Karen & Andrew
Co-Authors, WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT: The Definitive Guide to Pairing Food with Wine, Beer Spirits, Coffee, Tea -- Even Water -- Based on Expert Advice from America's Best Sommeliers
Winner of the 2006 Georges Duboeuf Wine Book of the Year Award
becomingachef.com
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the reply. I guess I'll still think of these concoctions as cocktails rather than martinis (I like a dirty vodka martini on the rocks with three olives). They do look like fun; I'll have to try a few. I never thought of ordering one with dessert, but that seems like the best pairing for a sweet drink.
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post #4 of 7
While I have tasted some great new "martinis" I just wish that people would come up with different names for these cocktails. They think that if it is poured into a martini glass it makes it a martini. A martini is gin, vermouth, and a dash of bitters (according to the original). I concede to vodka, but that is about as far as I go. These are not martinis, they are cocktails.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
post #5 of 7

Naming cocktails

When cocktails are served in those very sexy Martini glasses, the name "Martini" is invariably tacked on to the end of the name of the drink -- which irks some as much as when small plates of food from any cuisine of any longitude and latitude are termed "tapas"! ; )

Cheers,
Karen & Andrew

Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page
Co-Authors, BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF and WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT
becomingachef.com
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
This could lead to a very heated discussion of the misuse of culinary terms in general! Coulis, confit, etc..........
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post #7 of 7

Re: Martinis -- What's In a Name?

Our stand on this issue softened after interviewing a Moroccan chef for our book THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF: Cooking with the Best of Ingredients and Techniques from Around the World, who related how he had to use terms that people were already familiar with in order to get them to even try his food. Here's an excerpt from page 15 of that book:

...Occasionally, however, chefs will need to use their marketing skills to get someone to "open up," as it were. [Rafih] Benjelloun [chef-owner of Atlanta's Imperial Fez restaurant] recalls, "At one charity event that had guess walking around to sample various chefs' dishes, I served a fish dish called pell pell. The dish contains many different types of fish, tomatoes and spices. People would ask what it was, and if we told them "pell pell," they'd walk away. But once we started describing it as "Moroccan jambalaya," people couldn't wait to try it!

Best wishes,
Karen & Andrew

Andrew Dornenburg & Karen Page
Co-Authors, BECOMING A CHEF, CULINARY ARTISTRY, DINING OUT, CHEF'S NIGHT OUT, THE NEW AMERICAN CHEF and WHAT TO DRINK WITH WHAT YOU EAT
becomingachef.com
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