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Fussy Little Cocktail Special

December 16, 2011

This past week I got into a bit of a dustup with Jack’s Oyster House about the venerable Martini cocktail. They posted a picture of their barman serving up a drink with the caption “Shaken not stirred.” As you all well should know by now, a proper Martini is stirred and not shaken.

After a bit of back and forth over Twitter and Facebook, Jack’s has made a most pleasing announcement:
This Saturday night, December 17, proper Martinis are half-price.

In celebration of this fact I’m going to make a rare Saturday night appearance at a bar, their bar, and I’m hoping that some of you will join me. However, if you are going to be drinking a Martini with me, there are probably a few things you should know.

The drink should be pristine.

That means there should be no junk in the glass. You like olives? Great. Ask for them on the side. They make for an oily drink, which you may like. But I’d ask that just once you try one my way.

You can choose your gin. I’d prefer it if you got a London Dry, but let it not be said that I do not make accommodations for personal preference. The complexity that can come from olives is replaced by the clear and appropriate flavor of orange bitters. I confirmed with Jack’s that they stock them, which is impressive in and of itself. To crown off the drink, I like a twist of lemon peel, spritzed over the glass, and then discarded. If the peel is dropped into the cocktail, the lemon flavor is much too assertive and throws everything else out of balance.

So, I’ll be getting an extra-dry Tanqueray Martini with a dash of orange bitters and a twist. Up with no junk. Stirred. And really I think you should too.

It’s a mouthful. But that, my friends is The Martini. Anything else is some kind of perversion.

My plan is to be there around 8:30 on Saturday night. The doors to the restaurant close at 10:00 o’clock, but I’m told the bar will continue to serve customers. It’s not going to be a long or a wild night for the Profussor. But I do hope you can come out and celebrate this small victory for the most venerable of classic cocktails, at the most venerable of classic Albany restaurants.

And if you can’t make it out on Saturday night, I will tweet it the best I can.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2011 6:50 pm

    With half priced martinis, I’d be glad that Jack’s in on the bus line.

    After reading your detailed description, I doubt I’ve ever had a “proper” martini. I know for a fact I’ve had versions of martinis you would consider abominations (and I probably enjoyed them too – but that’s the alcohol talking, I’m sure).

    You say we could choose our gin but will you not at least be fussing over our choice in your mind? Would you cringe if I ordered Beefeater? It is London dry, but it’s not everyone’s preference. I also love Hendricks, and usually that will get a respectable nod from most gin lovers. I don’t think I could handle Tanqueray in a martini…even in a gin & tonic, it’s a little on the Pine Sol side for my tastes…but who knows – maybe in a ‘proper’ martini it might just be the bee’s knees.

  2. December 16, 2011 10:51 pm

    Bitters? Not since 1900. Other than that, I agree with everything up to stirred, not shaken ~ and olives. You must use an olive – brined, not in oil. Classic martinis were always stirred, except for a brief period between 1934 and 1941 – see attached –

  3. December 16, 2011 11:35 pm

    Have you read The Hour by Bernard DeVoto? If not, have Mrs. Fussy buy it for you as a holiday gift.

  4. Jazzngas permalink
    December 17, 2011 11:51 am

    My preference is Plymouth gin. I agree with most everything you said especially the olive on the side. Not so sure about the bitters because to the best of my knowledge I’ve never one prepared with it. Maybe The Campbell Apartment, the hidden gem at Grand Central, added some. My guilty pleasure is a martini at 9 Maple in Saratoga. Mike is a pro.

  5. December 17, 2011 12:25 pm

    My husband is a fan of the Grey Goose Martini with vermouth and an olive (though, he agrees, stirred, not shaken), and will make an accommodation for a lemon peel if you don’t care for the olive. I, myself, don’t particularly care for vodka in general. I’ve never had a London Dry and, the way you describe it here, I think I would actually prefer it. (As I also don’t care for green olives – but I do like citrus.)

    Unfortunately, we have a wedding to attend this afternoon and a Christmas party this evening, so the day is already ridiculously packed-full. Because this sounds like fun, and most nights we’re pretty boring, so we probably would have stopped down.

    • December 17, 2011 12:26 pm

      I shouldn’t say “unfortunately” as we’re looking forward to both the wedding and the party later, but rather, unfortunate there is the conflict.

  6. December 19, 2011 12:38 pm

    Sorry I missed this! Sounds like fun.

    One question — I noticed you like your martini extra dry. Have you tried any of the artisanal vermouths that have come out in the past few years? My husband used to be a dry martini guy, but when he started buying Sutton’s vermouth he slowly migrated from 8:1 to 5:1.

  7. -R. permalink
    December 19, 2011 2:19 pm

    I too am sorry I missed this, being a devotee of fine gin (+1 for Plymouth). Vodka makes a martini not (by definition), regardless of the quality or provenance. Perhaps next time.


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