Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Balsamic Vinegar Martini
If "vinegar" and "martini" aren't two words you associate together, start associatin', Jack.
This drink is a real treat for the senses, especially for those of us who already adore Vermouth and who already knew what most Americans still can't wrap their heads around: Vermouth is a perfectly good drink straight-up on its own, not just as a mixer to be doled out in drops and dashes.
Think of Frederic in Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms, who is consistently chugging Vermouth. Frederic, however, prefers the Italian variety while my own heart is with the French.
Here the Vermouth takes a back seat to the vodka but nevertheless has a presence far exceeding the comfort zone of Western bartenders. And as a compliment to the drink's core gimmick - Balsamic vinegar - the dark sweet Vermouth is parfait, vraiment.
Here's the rundown:
2 oz. Vodka
0.5 oz. Noilly Prat Sweet Vermouth
1 dash of Balsamic vinegar (real, barrel-aged Balsamic, not the fake common stuff)
Shake together the vodka and vermouth with ice. Pour strained. Add a small dash of Balsamic (a little goes a long way!)
A lot of bartenders recommend bringing fruit into the mix. Not I. The most I would dare introduce to this would be maybe, just maybe, a dash of orange juice. But personally, I think that just murks up an already murky drink past the point of systemic murk-icity. It also brings the drink a step closer to being something else entirely, namely a Satan's Whiskers, which is Gin or Vodka, Sweet Vermouth, orange juice, orange liqueur, and bitters.
Just be content to enjoy the subtle interplay between the Vermouth and the vinegar, staged against the backdrop of the almighty vodka.