How do you make your perfect martini? Do you like it with gin or vodka? Do you like it dirty, wet or dry?
The original martini, which dates back to the 1880's, was a combination of gin and vermouth. By the 1950's, vodka was introduced to the martini and rose to fame with James Bond. By the 1990's, many variations of martinis were made, using a martini glass and adding fruit juices and other modifiers. This was the time that Lemon Drops, Appletinis and the Cosmo became popular.
But, let's got back to the basic martini. A martini is made with 3 ounces of spirits. Pick your gin or vodka and your vermouth (fortified wine) of choice and do what ever ratio combination you want (2:1, 3:0, 1.5:1.5). At a recent event at Big Bar with Absolut Elyx, we got to play with different combinations to come up with our own preferences.
This article originally appeared in the Napa Valley Register (October 30, 2015)
Is vodka your favorite drink? That was the question posed by Purity Vodka Master Blender Thomas Kuuttanen at a recent dinner. More than half of the hands went up. Whether it was true, shouldn’t one answer favorably in front of a vodka producer?
Well, I did not raise my hand. I could not lie. Vodka is not my favorite spirit. I am a gin drinker. I find vodkas to be rough, flavorless and odorless and some are like rubbing alcohol. Sure, it is a neutral spirit and can be the base in many cocktails but I like the flavors that come from other spirits.
We did not get the response you would think from a vodka producer. He responded that vodka is, in fact, not his favorite spirit either. Having worked in the spirits industry in Sweden for many years, he is more of a fan of whiskey. Thomas explained that he found vodka kind of sad; vodka is more about image and not about content. But, spirits are about soul and passion, and that is what Thomas set out to make, creating Purity Vodka, which is the winner of more than 100 gold medals in blind competitions.
You may think wine when you think Santa Ynez Valley, but you can also think vodka and whiskey because Ascendant Spirits Distillery, the first legal distillery in Santa Barbara County since Prohibition, is located in Buellton, the heart of wine country.
We stopped by Ascendant Spirits on a recent trip up to wine country. After all, a few tastes of vodka and whiskey are a great start to a weekend filled with wine. Owner and Distiller Stephen Gertman was on hand to give us a tour in between the fermentation taking place that day. We got a first hand tour of the process to make Sempre Fi Corn Whiskey.