Photo by wickenden/Flickr CC
On occasion a customer will ask me, "What's your favorite cocktail? Generally that customer is looking for inspiration or perhaps they know that a bartender will always makes their personal favorite best. I tell them, unequivocally, the dry martini.
Whenever I give my answer, the customer often seems a bit bewildered--as though they laid hands on a Ouija board that just spelled out a message they can't be certain came from angel, devil, or man. Of course, I sympathize.
The dry martini is as scarce as it is ubiquitous, both everywhere and yet nowhere made with the proper sacrament. How can it be the greatest of all cocktails? It's more often a warm bowl of vodka, with two slimy devils plucked by hand from warm brine and tossed in the felonious soup or worse: a suffix tacked on a fruit, color, animal, mineral, or vegetable. Terrible.
Firstly, the dry martini must be served at the proper temperature. Your first sip should be of a cold, taut surface with a bracing chill, punctuated by pockets of bright citrus oils, causing the mouth to water profusely and signal the stomach that whatever comes next is sustenance. Savor this feeling, as it is unmediated and direct--the feeling of being a jaguar, sleek and hungry.