I grew up in a household that embraced the tradition of cocktail hour prior to the evening meal. My parents both worked and at the end of the day, they really enjoyed¬† “having a couple” before dinner.

Blue Martini Time

Their drink of choice was the Martini. The martini consists of two basic ingredients, gin and dry vermouth. An olive is added as a garnish. Some will build a “See-Thru” using vodka, but purists will tell you that only gin is used in a genuine martini.

Martini drinkers are passionate about their recipes for concocting  the perfect martini. There are legitimate variations to the basic drink, but mostly these involve adjusting the ratio of vermouth to gin.

As an observer I quickly noticed one interesting fact related to how my father made martinis. It seemed like the bottles of gin would need to be replaced with much greater frequency than the bottles of vermouth.

I asked my father about this phenomenon one day and he grandly turned to me and proudly exclaimed, “Louis, I think it is time for you to learn the art. The time has come for you to start mixing martinis.”

I remembered very well the long and sometimes exciting process of learning to drive from my father.  I briefly worried that learning mixology from my dad might well be a long and challenging course of study.

It turns out, there really wasn’t much to it. Making a decent martini is not all that complex.

We had a nice little liquor cabinet in the living room and shortly after 6:00PM, dad would remove the bottle of gin and the bottle of vermouth from the cabinet and head out to the kitchen.

On my “first day” dad suggested I just watch and learn. There would be ample time for practical exercises in the days to come.

So following him into the kitchen on that day I was all ears and all eyes.

Initially, dad went to the freezer and removed two glasses which immediately frosted up from the ambient temperature differential. Each glass was filled with ice. Dad informed me that the entire world was made up of two kinds of people. Those who drank martinis up and those who drank them on the rocks.

“We are rocks people!” He proudly intoned.

Next he carefully filled each glass with gin. Following that, he removed a jar of olives from the fridge and spearing two olives on a toothpick, he placed one olive in each drink.

The bottle of vermouth remained unopened on the counter. I noticed dad was very careful not to let the drinks get too close to the vermouth.

Finally he picked up a cocktail napkin, wrapped it around the glass, handed it to me and said, “Take this to your mother.”

He followed me into the living room and the evening celebration began.

Later that night, I asked Dad about the vermouth again. I wanted to know how the vermouth was used in the process.

Dad explained that the bottle of vermouth was placed next to the bottle of gin in the liquor cabinet. I asked him, “Why do you even take it out of the cabinet? Why don’t you just save your money and and forget about the vermouth.”

He just laughed and laughed.

Louis, he said, “Only common drunks drink straight gin!”