Martini Porn for World Gin Day

Happy World Gin Day everyone. To whet your appetites I’ve put together a selection of some martini images from the last few months. If you fancy making your own tonight, here is my guide.

Enjoy!

 
Lemon Drop Martini during a London Spring sunset. 

  

  
A classic martini, the most elegant of drinks.

 

Channeling Danish hygge at my aunty’s house.

  
A selection of classics with plenty of nibbles.

  
A classic with many olives. 

  
A lychee martini.

  
Classic martinis.

  

“No lace. No lace, Mrs. Bennet, I beg you!” – a classic Pride and Prejudice quote that had to go with this martini and doily at home.

  
As you may have noticed, martinis go well with candlelight.

  
A classic with Japanese peanut snacks.

  
A Gibson martini.

  
More candlelight, this time with a hot and dirty martini, complete with ice still attached to the glass from the freezer.


And finally, an optimistic classic on a London summer evening.

Have a good weekend and enjoy World Gin Day responsibly!

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Martinis y tapas

  
Having spent an amazing weekend in Madrid I thought I would write about the drinking culture in the city and see what inspiration I could draw from a martini perspective.

  

Los Madrileños know how to have fun – without feeling guilty, without getting stressed and without getting post-apocalyptically drunk. If you feel like having a drink or having something to eat then do so. If you feel like having a nap then do so. The time of day is irrelevant. You shouldn’t feel bad for doing what your body is telling you to do. Eating, drinking and sleeping when you please might sound unhealthy but these people certainly don’t look unhealthy!

  
Another conclusion is that alcohol is much better when accompanied by food.

Tapas or pinchos/pintxos (pronounced peen-chose) are small bites of food that accompany your drink. The adage “eating’s cheating” has few followers in Madrid and I am a faithful convert to the city’s attitude towards eating with booze. I always serve nibbles with my martinis but maybe we should be serving food with all alcohol. It’s not the most radical concept – it’s common practise in many countries (Sri Lanka for example).

If you are unconvinced about eating with your drinks then perhaps I can persuade you with some examples of the sorts of things you could enjoy with your booze.

   

Here is a mind-blowingly tasty assortment of morcilla (a spanish variation of black pudding) with apple, balsamic vinegar glaze and fried potato straws, accompanied with octopus and whole grain mustard ice cream. Yes. Mustard ice cream. Yes.

  
However, if this is too fancy just order your drink (such as a caños of beer which isn’t as much as a full pint) with something as simple as a piece of bread with a topping. Drink, taste and relax. It’s not a race to finish your drink in order to buy the next round.

  

Fried calamari is common. Ham, cheese and olives also feature highly.

  

There are many expert voices on the subject of tapas so this amateur is not going to bluff you, but of the stories that surround its history I have a favourite. According to my friend, at a point in its history Spain was undergoing a drought and food production was low. The people resorted to drinking more alcohol to make up for their lost calories, but this led to widespread malaise and drunkenness. A troubled king, seeking a solution, ordered establishments to serve simple bread and toppings over the top of alcohol glasses (the word tapas comes from the Spanish verb tapar – to cover). When eaten this would soak up some of the alcohol, reduce drunkenness and help feed the population. A cultural trend was born. 

Like martinis, there are several competing stories surrounding the historical origins of tapas. Without a time machine to verify which version is accurate the only thing you can do is believe in your favourite.

 Whatever the true origins of tapas there have been an infinite multitude of variations since its creation. Tapas now even extends to airline food, as demonstrated above.

For me, the most important concept is that the sharing of tapas is very sociable.

  It can be fairly hands-on; you might be called upon to mash your own guacamole.

 
It can also be very simple. Above is a delicious dish of peppers fried with salt. 
So what can we take from this fine Spanish contribution to human culture to try and improve the martini experience?

Snacks, bites and nibbles are a very important part of a martini so tapas can provide a wealth of inspiration for anyone looking to serve theirs with some added Latin panache.

The main point, however, is about relaxing and sharing good flavours, drinks and conversation with friends, family, lovers etc.

  

If you can get that right then everything else should fall into place – ojala.

 
But as a word of warning, don’t drink so much you end up naked on the ground in Plaza de Colón in the middle of the day, although evidently if you do you won’t be the first…

London’s Dirty Martini bar gets 2.5/5

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With fast, friendly staff and value for money, this chain of bars is the Burger King of the martini world.

When serving a classic martini they get full points for their lemon peel usage. They squeezed a fresh strip of peel over the glass and even rubbed some on the stem to add to the citrus aroma when you drink.

I was also offered a choice of gins and vodkas that I could have in my martini, while you could specify whether or not you would like it dry or sweet.

They chilled their glasses in a fridge and their gin in a cocktail shaker with ice so they get some points for temperature (they would get full points if they kept it all in the freezer).

The setting was a standard City of London bar: nothing special and crowded with after-work city folk. There was nowhere to properly sit down and sip slowly while the noise levels made it hard to talk. This is where they lose most points. There were very few nibbles available either.

However, at £9.50 for a classic martini it was a value-for-money venue for central London and at least the crowd were friendly (although some were pushy at the bar which really isn’t compatible with martini drinking).

All in all I would say it was a good London cocktail bar, but not an ideal setting for an actual classic martini. I might try some of the non-classic cocktails next time because some of them looked pretty good. I imagine this might be a good place to go with a group of favourable work mates to kick start a night.

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The perfect martini setting

As I have already implied, the act of drinking a martini is almost sacred. If you’re going to consume such a large amount of alcohol in one drink you’ve got to make it count. As such, in addition to the drink itself, the temperature, the accompanying nibbles, etc, you should also consider the location.

Unless your temperament suggests otherwise, you wouldn’t want to have one in a darkened room underground, for example.

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Lighting and mood are important. A view is also preferable. Otherwise, I leave it up to you.

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Dumbara Kanduvetiya, Sri Lanka.
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Tower Bridge, London.

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Tobermory, Isle of Mull.

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Beirut, Lebanon.

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Oban, Argyll.

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The Hebrides and Ardnamurchan.

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South London.

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The Thames.

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There’s so much of the river to look at.