Six years of one drink to rule them all.
I love a martini. I had to start dirty, but am now firmly in the gin with plenty of vermouth camp. But my favorite martini story is from when I worked as a personal assistant for a screenwriter, who often travels quite far for both work and personal reasons. Many times, his flights would arrive from the other side of the world at times well past midnight.
I knew that one of these returns in particular would be rough, and decided that I wanted to soften his landing a little bit by surprising him with an ice-cold martini in his favorite style - frozen vodka, a film of vermouth, and a lemon twist. How to do this when the airport is two hours away from home? Lalo Schifrin’s “Mission: Impossible” theme began its insistent thrum in my head as I assembled my apparatus: an insulated, screw-top drink cooler into which went kosher salt and almost enough water to dissolve it, then a mason jar with the martini and as much ice as the vessel could take with a little more kosher salt sprinkled on top for good measure. I tucked the little package securely into a nook of the cargo area of my wagon, then started my drive.
I parked in the garage and met him at the gate, so as to assist with his luggage, and we began the trudge back to the car. Emerging from the elevator, pushing through the hot, stale evening air trapped in the concrete layers, I let him know I had a surprise in the car and asked if he wanted a martini.
He stopped dead in his tracks.
This was the first of two times during my employment that I rendered the most eloquent man I’ve ever known completely speechless. The second was when I suggested Sophia Loren to portray a character he had just written, and he was inundated by a Proustian tsunami.
“You brought me a martini?!” His shoulders straightened a little, his steps picked up. We got to my car a bit faster than we otherwise would have. As quickly as possible, I loaded him and his baggage into their places, pulled out the cooler, and faced the moment of truth. Would it still be properly cold?
It was. As I unscrewed the top of the mason jar to hand it over, the glass hurt my hand from the chill. He took his first sip and his eyes rolled back in pleasure, he leaned back into the seat and sighed, as an entire day’s worth of international travel started to melt from his body.
“I’ve had a lot of assistants over the years,” he later told me. “Not one of them has ever done that for me!”
Not much more to say - you pretty much said it all! (eloquently as always)
When the restaurant wait staff (sadly, we have not sat at a bar for over three years now) always asks you what gin you would like, that is the right place to dine.
But then this: after first making sure it’s not a vodka martini you are ordering? Why default to vodka, though? Is that now the most common mix? (Has happened three times in a row now.) Ok, I do like a nice vodka martini, w/Ketel One (Finlandia is even better but zero chance of a place in the States having that on hand), but only on the odd occasion. But then maybe it’s a SoCal/Palm Springs area thing (where we’ve been the last couple months), this default to vodka martini?
I could read a whole book of this. Bluets, but make it about martinis.
Elegant piece. Lots of good lines. And I like the bullet point structure. Cheers!
Over the weekend I tried a a gin martini donut 🍸It was fab.
I love this piece and often refer to it. Curious what your preferred gin is, if you have one?