Gird your loins and lock up your daughters – and sons, for that matter.
Martinis cause a lot of confusion. There are many myths out there over things like how to prepare them, how to drink them, who said what about them and where they originally come from.
Of course, a drink that contains 6 units of alcohol was always likely to foment disarray, but hopefully this blog is helping cut through the fog. And oh haven’t there been some foggy days putting it together (all that painstaking ‘research’ etc).
Anyway, the filthy martini seems to cause quite a lot of confusion on its own, with many people, including those at well-known gin brands mistakenly believing it to be a dirty martini with extra olive juice.
This is incorrect.
In fact, the filthy martini is the creation of the above, humble caperberry.
Another delectable gift from Fragata, these berries are the matured form of capers (caper buds), endemic to many parts of the world with a Mediterranean or semi-arid climate. They are often pickled and regularly served with seafood or in salads. The pickled caper bud is a well-known constituent of tartare sauce.
The caperberry is juicer but still delightfully tart and was even once thought to have been an aphrodisiac (please see asparagus and oysters).
The berries are frequently pickled in brine for consumption in countries where they don’t grow naturally (such as in Northern Europe), which allows us to create this martini variation. The pickling process also seems to bring out a savoury mustard-like aroma in the berries which cuts in very well to the clean juniper of a classic martini.
I also love their texture, firm and fleshy on the outside, with satisfying crunchy seeds inside that pop, almost like a vegetarian form of Japanese tobiko (flying fish roe).
Anyway, here’s how to make the drink:
- Take a strip of lemon peel and squeeze and rub it into a chilled martini glass to transfer the lemon oil.
- Add caperberry brine to taste (usually between 2-6tsp).
- Add vermouth to taste (usually between 2tsp to 30ml depending on your preferences and the size of your glass).
- Top up with gin/vodka (usually around 90-130ml depending on the size of your glass).
- Stir with the lemon peel (which you can then discard).
- Drop a single caperberry into the drink.
I would recommend serving more caperberries on the side, potentially with some other nibbles as well if you’re particularly hungry.
This martini works particularly well as an aperitif before some good seafood, particularly any kind of fish served fried in batter, from cod to calamari.