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The Vesper Cocktail

I made a Vesper last night and, for the first time, used an orange peel garnish as shown in the video above. I found that the essence of the orange peel helped to capture and reinforce the orange citrus notes in the Lillet Blanc. I also found that it eliminated any "clash" I previously tasted from the combination of the gin and the vodka. Overall, I found that the orange peel worked much better for me than the lemon peel.

I didn't freeze the spirits as shown. I am inclined to believe this is unnecessary. Instead, I stirred it as I would a regular martini. Overall, this was the best Vesper I've made yet.

PP

Oct 11, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Proper martini glasses

I've only been making my own martinis for about a week now. The smallest martini glasses I have been able to find in a store were some 6-ounce glasses at a local Pottery Barn.

So far my favorite martini recipe is 3.5 ounces of gin and 0.5 ounce of vermouth and 2 dashes with orange bitters. The additional water caused by the dilution from stirring is causing the total liquid to come not too far below the brim of the glass.

The 6-ounce glass is working out nicely so far. I am not getting that room temperature effect toward the bottom.

If I find some 5-ounce martini glasses, I will buy a couple of them.

PP

Oct 03, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I have only just begun to make my own homemade cocktails a week ago. Last night I made my first homemade Vesper cocktail using the following ingredients:

3 ounces of Plymouth Gin
1 ounce of Belvedere Vodka
0.5 ounce of Lillet Blanc
2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters
A lemon twist for a garnish
Stirred and not shaken

This was my first Vesper cocktail ever. I have never ordered one in a bar.

My impression?

I thought the gin and the vodka clashed a bit too much. The vodka seemed to have a subtractive and diminishing effect upon the taste of the gin.

Maybe I should try to make one using Allessandro Palazzi's method at the Duke Bar by freezing both the gin and vodka and using an orange peel garnish.

In any event, based upon my first experience with the Vesper cocktail, I prefer the classic gin martinis I have made so far, using 3.5 ounces of Plymouth Gin, 0.5 ounce of Noilly Prat Vermouth, 2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters, and a lemon peel garnish. This martini fits nicely in the 6-ounce glasses I bought recently at the Pottery Barn.

PP

Oct 03, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

Many thanks for the clarification. Before I posted the above, I took a quick look at Wikipedia and read that alcohol does freeze.

What it didn't see it say is that alcohol does not freeze to a solid state. Maybe I didn't read far or closely enough. I have always assumed that any liquid which is frozen is frozen to a solid state.

Thanks again!

PP

Oct 03, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I am totally confused as to how he accomplishes the freezing process. How exactly does he freeze the gin and vodka to the point that they still pour freely from their bottles?

Does he freeze them solid first and them let them thaw until they are pourable?

Or does he freeze them just until and before they begin to solidify and are still pourable? If so, then how long would it take a bottle of gin or vodka to reach this state in the average home freezer?

Does the freezing of the spirits somehow mimic the effect of diluting them via stirring?

PP

Oct 02, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

The following video provides an even more detailed depiction of Allessandro Palazzi's rendition of the Vesper Cocktail, as it is prepared and served at the Dukes Hotel in London:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLZUZV...

If you note the recipe etched on the screen at the 4:42 mark of the video, you will see that both the Gin and the Vodka are identified as "Frozen."

Very interesting.

PP

Oct 01, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I was able to buy two 6-ounce martini glasses at a local Pottery Barn two days ago.

I've been experimenting a lot lately with my desired martini to vermouth ratios. At the present time, my favorite is a 7 to 1 ratio with 3.5 ounces of gin and 0.5 ounces of vermouth, along with two dashes of orange bitters.

I made a martini with the above proportions last night. After stirring the orange bitters, gin, and the vermouth in the mixing glass with ice for about 30 seconds, and then straining it into the 6-ounce glass with a julep strainer, I found that the total mixture came fairly close to the brim. The extra liquid, of course, came from the melted ice from the stirring process.

I also bought two 8-ounce martini glasses as well, which I think I will save for when I make my first Vesper cocktail.

In any event, my 6-ounce martini glass worked out just fine for the martini I made last night as described.

PP

Oct 01, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I have been searching the Amazon web site for some martini glasses which might qualify as being of true and traditional "mini" size.

The vast majority of the martini glasses they offer are described as containing a volume of 8 ounces or larger. I even found a set which was described as containing a volume of 12 ounces for each glass.

The smallest martini glasses I could find on Amazon were these:

http://www.amazon.com/Riedel-Vinum-Ma...

These glasses are described as containing a capacity of 4 5/8 ounces.

Would you consider the size of these glasses to be acceptable for the accommodation of the traditional martinis you prefer?

PP

Sep 29, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

I am thinking about going to this bar on Wednesday evening. If I do, I will try to find out one of their recipes for a cocktail or martini served in a 7.5 ounce glass.

PP

Sep 29, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

One rationale I have heard in favor of the mini-martini glass sizes is that they retain the chill of the spirits for a longer period of time. It has been argued that martinis served in the larger glasses tend to reach room temperature toward the end, which many drinkers find unappetizing. But I guess that this would also depend upon how fast you drink them.

Sep 29, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

I was just wondering if you or anybody else had any comments in regard to the bartender's technique and how you think you "might" like this cocktail accordingly.

I was especially intrigued by his technique of merely adding the ingredients into the glass without stirring or shaking.

I also found the use of the orange peel garnish interesting and unusual.

PP

Sep 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Tiny Cocktail Trend In America?

The following article appeared in our Sunday paper today:

http://hamptonroads.com/2014/09/219s-...

The author of this article was investigating the claims she heard that the particular bar program cited was truly promoting the tiny cocktail trend in America.

As it turned out, the "mini martini" she ordered turned out to be 7.5 ounces in size.

Apparently, their bar program made a previous effort to prepare 3.5 ounce cocktails without much success. Too many of their patrons were chugging them down like "shooters." Having visited many of our local bars and observing many of their patrons, this comes as no surprise to me.

A quote from the article: "I probe further and Charlie reveals the tale of a trend gone awry. After the mini list debuted, he says, bartenders raced to keep up with demand for the 3.5-ounce drinks. Workers were in the weeds. Stemware shattered. Hard-core tipplers took to quaffing mini-martinis like shooters, rather than civilized sippers. And so, the mini went the way of the 9-inch dinner plate."

Indeed, the vast majority of our local bar programs serve their martinis in the larger glasses. Personally, I don't see how a bar program which serves martinis in 3.5 ounce glasses can be competitive with the other bar programs in our area which serve much larger sized martinis.

Is there really a tiny cocktail trend occurring now in America? If so, it doesn't seem to be taking off in our area.

PP

Sep 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

What do you all think of this fellow's rendition of the Vesper Martini, as prepared at the Dukes Hotel in London:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsjExE...

This one is neither shaken nor stirred. The bartender, whose name appears to be Allesandro from the comments, merely pours all of the ingredients into a chilled martini glas. He adds bitters and uses an orange peel garnish instead of a lemon one.

PP

Sep 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

The Vesper Cocktail

For those of you who enjoy the Vesper cocktail, which was made famous by the James Bond novel, Casino Royale (1953), do you have a favorite recipe?

Personally, I've never had one. But I am looking forward to trying one soon with the new bar equipment I have just ordered and received.

I have also just ordered and received Jim Meehan's book: "The PDT Cocktail Book." His recipe is as follows:

2.25 ounces of Plymouth Gin
0.75 ounces of Belvedere Vodka
0.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc
Stirred instead of shaken and garnished with a lemon twist.

Another recipe I found on the internet calls for 3 ounces of Gordon's gin (which I believe was Bond's brand), 1 ounce of Belvedere Vodka, and 0.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc. Garnished with a lemon twist.

Another recipe I found calls for 3 ounces of Tanqueray gin, 1 ounce of Stolichnaya Blue Label 100 proof vodka, 0.5 ounces of Lillet Blanc, and 2 dashes or orange bitters. Garnished with a lemon twist.

Is it true that the formula for Gordon's gin has changed since 1953, and this might be the reason why it may no longer be the preferred gin for the Vesper cocktail?

I have also become a fan of orange bitters in my martinis, so much so that I now take a bottle of Angostura orange bitters with me to any bar I go to that doesn't stock any kind of orange bitters at all. I then hand the bottle to the bartender and instruct him/her to add two dashes to the mixing glass for my martini. I think this is giving me the reputation of an eccentric, but so be it.

If you like the Vesper cocktail, what are your preferred brands of gin and vodka?

What is your opinion of the addition of orange bitters in a Vesper cocktail?

PP

Sep 18, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Chilling A Martini Glass

The Big Crunch,

Many thanks for the information above. I am glad to hear that at least a few of our local bartenders are doing it right.

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a bar in my area that uses a glass chiller as you have described.

I have just ordered Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail book.

PP

Sep 07, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

I recently had a martini that was neither shaken nor stirred. Instead, the bartender merely swirled it around in the shaker with a slow clockwise motion with his hand. He did this for about 30 seconds.

The end result was a martini with a clarity and texture very similar to that of a stirred martini. In fact, I couldn't tell the difference.

Then again, it has only been within the past few weeks since I became converted to stirred martinis over shaken martinis.

PP

Sep 07, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Chilling A Martini Glass

Last night I went to a bar and ordered a gin martini with 2.5 ounces of gin, 0.5 ounces of vermouth, 2 dashes of orange bitters, prepared stirred for 30 seconds, and with a twist of lemon.

I expected the bartender to throw me out after making such a detailed request. Our local bartenders are not accustomed to this sort of thing.

To my surprise, the bartender was very friendly and willing to make this martini for me. As I watched him make it, I made the following observation.

When he chilled the martini glass, he filled it full of ice cubes. But then he did something I had never seen before. He filled it full of water.

It is my guess that he thought that adding water to the ice in the martini glass would chill the glass faster. When he ready to pour the mixture of the gin, vermouth, and the orange bitters into the martini glass, he threw out both the ice and the water.

Did the bartender make a mistake by adding water to the ice in the martini glass in an attempt to chill it? This is not the way that Jim Meehan does it in the video I recently watched.

PP

Sep 01, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

I would like to thank you all once again for the leads and suggestions you provided in regard to the development of a beginner's cocktail kit.

I did follow the suggestion for investigating a local restaurant supply store. We have a small one in my area, and I was able to buy the following:

A set of jiggers
A Hawthorne strainer
A Boston shaker
A muddler
Two pint size mixing glasses

I still need to get the following:

A cocktail stirring spoon
A mint julep strainer, like the kind that Jim Meehan used in the video I recently posted in the other thread I started in regard to the stirring of martinis.

Neither of the above were available at our local restaurant supply store.

Hopefully, I will have my cocktail kit completed soon, so that I can start to practice making some of my own cocktails and martinis.

If I can learn how to make a decent martini and Manhattan by the end of the year, I will be very pleased.

Thanks again!

PP

Aug 31, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

Hello zin1953,

I believe he described the martini he was making in the video as one he would make for himself. This is what caused me to wonder if he really does like orange bitters in his own martinis.

If he does like orange bitters in his martinis, but did not include them in this particular martini for whatever reason, it is my guess that he would put them in the mixing glass first, then the vermouth, the gin, and finally the ice, in that order.

Does this guess sound correct?

By the way, I had a stirred Bombay gin martini with orange bitters the other night that was great. I am now sold on orange bitters in my martinis from now on.

I am also now off the Hendrick's.

PP

Aug 30, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

A Question About Stirring Martinis

I have just found the following video that features Jim Meehan, a bartender whose name seems to be highly regarded here, preparing a classic gin martini.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVLycg...

As you can see, he adds the vermouth and then the gin into the chilled mixing glass before adding the ice.

I like the way he explains his rationale for performing each step.

One more question. I noticed that he did not add any orange bitters to his martini.

Does this mean that he is not a fan of orange bitters in a martini?

PP

Aug 30, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

The Big Crunch,

Many thanks for the tip on the Oxo vegetable peeler. I don't have one at the moment. If Oxo makes it, I am sure it will serve me well when it comes to cutting the lemon twists for my martinis.
PP

Aug 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Pho vs. Ramen [moved from L.A. board]

I don't think so.

Overall, I like pho better, regardless of the price.

Maybe it's because I have been eating pho a lot longer than ramen.

In all fairness, I probably need to eat ramen a little longer to see if I am able to develop more of a taste for it.

PP

Aug 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in General Topics

Pho vs. Ramen [moved from L.A. board]

In resurrecting this topic thread, I would like to answer the question posed above.

If given the choice between eating pho or ramen every day for the rest of my life, my choice is pho hands down.

I guess this puts me in the minority.

We have both a pho restaurant and a ramen restaurant in my neighborhood. They are about a 5-minute walk away from each other.

A small bowl of pho at the pho restaurant costs $7.75. A bowl of ramen at the ramen restaurant costs exactly $12.

The size and volume of the small bowl of pho at the pho restaurant and that of the bowl of ramen at the ramen restaurant are about the same.

As a result, I am paying over $4 more for a bowl of ramen at the ramen restaurant that is about equivalent in size and volume as the bowl of pho at the pho restaurant.

Don't get me wrong. I like ramen. It's just like I like pho better. I prefer rice noodles to ramen noodles. I enjoy being able to add fresh herbs and spices to my pho.

I enjoy many different varieties of pho, including those which include beef, chicken, and shrimp. I haven't experienced quite the degree of variety available in ramen that is available in ramen.

I have never had a bowl of ramen that justifies the difference is costs.

Maybe I have never really had a great bowl of ramen. But I have had many great bowls of pho.

PP

Aug 28, 2014
PontiusPalate in General Topics

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

The Big Crunch,

Thank you very much for your suggestions and recommendations above. I especially like your suggestion of keeping a few chilled glasses in my freezer.

I have a juicer which I have never got around to using. I guess I will dust it off and start doing so.

I also like your suggestion of the hand held mesh strainer and the books you listed.

Thanks again!

PP

Aug 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

Hello patsully,

Many thanks for your suggestions above. I have bookmarked the links you provided.

I plan to start off by making martinis only, so I especially apreciate the link to the solution of chilling a martini glass with smaller cubes.

Thanks again!

PP

Aug 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

Hello kimfair1,

Many thanks for your suggestions above, especially the Oxo measuring cup, the heavy pint glass, and the Hawthorne strainer. I had also noted the sets of Oxo jiggers on Amazon.com.

I will check out the Boston Shaker website.

Thanks again!

PP

Aug 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

JungMann,

Many thanks for your suggestions above.

Your suggestion about chilling the glass in the freezer wrapped around a paper towel was very helpful.

I had also forgotten about the paring knife.

I will probably start out by making martinis only.

Thanks again!

PP

Aug 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

Hello mcsheridan,

Many thanks for the link you provided for the cocktail kit above. It was actually cheaper than I thought it would be. I had envisioned such a cocktail kit costing at least $100.

There is also a restaurant supply store in my area, and I am going to check that out as well.

Thanks again.

PP

Aug 27, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits

Looking For A Good Beginner's Cocktail Kit

Greetings:

In the past, I have stated in the past that I don't like to drink at home alone.

However, I have decided that I would like to start experimenting with making a few of my own cocktails and martinis at least one evening a week.

At the present time, I don't own any bar equipment whatsoever.

What I am looking for is a good cocktail making kit, one that would be suitable for a beginner, and one that includes all of the necessary equipment. I am guessing that this would include a shaker, a strainer, a stirring stick, and a set of jiggers.

Did I leave anything out?

Do any of you know of such a kit that you would recommend?

One more question. I am guessing that I would need to buy a new set of ice cube trays, ones which house the smaller size cubes. It is my guess that the smaller size cubes would be more suitable for chilling my martini glass and for the stirring process.

Would you agree?

I also want to buy some martini glasses. I am thinking of buying one of each size, from the largest to the smallest. I am guessing that I would have to buy those separately.

Any comments and suggestions would be deeply appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

PP

Aug 26, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits
1

A Question About Stirring Martinis

Here goes a follow-up question.

What would you say is the desired rate of speed when stirring a martini?

My guess would be that the stirring spoon should take about one second for each rotation it travels around the circumference of the glass, for a total stirring time of about 30 seconds.

It should be a slow and gentle stir instead of a rapid one.

Does that sound about right?

In one of the videos I saw, the bartender gave the gin and vermouth in the stirring glass a vigorous rapid stir and said that it should be stirred exactly 50 times. But wouldn't that tend to give the texture of the gin more of a diluted effect?

PP

Aug 26, 2014
PontiusPalate in Spirits