Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Filthy Martini


It has long been the case that Mrs Lowe prefers the Dirty Martini to it's sweeter, more citrus counter-part. I confess it's a cocktail I find extremely unpalatable, the olive brine being a cloying, heavy, dominating flavour which simply destroys the delicate subtleties of any half-way decent Gin (in my humble opinion).

However, in the interest of research, I set about trying to create a Dirty Martini which even I, having made no attempt over the years to hide my contempt for such a concoction, could enjoy.


The key, I decided, would be to find a way of delicately combining the olive brine without simply destroying the delicate botanicals in the base gin. Also, logically, I had to ensure that the base gin did indeed have those delicate botanicals to begin with.
The choice of base spirit was relatively simple. I'm trying to put a modern twist on a classic recipe here, so Sipsmith Gin with it's contemporary take on the London Dry Gin style was an obvious candidate.

Starting the tried and tested way was simplicity itself. A quick vermouth wash of the fresh ice, and a large slug of the best thing to come out of Hammersmith for 25 years (since my wife was born there), Sipsmith Gin.

A dozen or so laps around the ice chills the gin sufficiently, and brings us a quick double strain away from service. At least it would do, if we were aiming for a traditional dry martini.

You've probably spotted the lack of olive brine in my recipe so far. Well done you. Have a biscuit and a pat on the back.

The olive brine has been taken out of this recipe, combined with lecithin and whisked into a very light, foamy froth (or 'air'), which is then used to sit afloat the martini, rather like the traditional cloud of smog hanging over the Thames.

The result - a whisp of olive brine with each sip. Rather than sitting heavily at the bottom of glass of otherwise delicious gin, the olive air very delicately flavours each visit to the glass, without ever coating the palatte, leaving the gin botanicals free to express themselves.

Sipsmith's fresh, fruity profile inspired the addition of the final garnish - a raspberry liqueur caviar. As well as finishing the cocktail on a surprisingly fruity note, it also brings a rather pleasing aesthetic into the mix.
I'm very pleased, and equally surprised, to say that I actually found this cocktail rather drinkable. But my tastes haven't changed all that much - I can wait to try out a lemon air. I'll report back once it's done.

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