Candy Apple Martinis!
While on our mini vacation this weekend, we indulged in a rare treat for us - a cocktail at a bar. Generally speaking, we’re far more apt to make cocktails for ourselves at home... it’s a very rare occasion that we have someone else do it for us.
Now, this is for a few reasons. For one, we’re frugal. We’re also not people-people, for the most part, and tend to stay away from (usually) noisy bars. The third reason has only really become an issue since I moved to Minnesota - it’s HARD to get what I want!
You see, I love martini cocktails, which have been my drink of choice since... jeez, turning legal (age 18, back home!). I developed even more of an appreciation for them during my training at the Toronto Institute of Bartending, and well... that’s my style. I’m not a beer drinker, and I’m not all that fond of commercial wines.
Also, as I may have mentioned in previous posts... I like my drinks to verge on “diabetes in a glass”. Save the “dry”, please. My absolute favorite is the Candy Apple Martini - my recipe for it follows!
So... what’s the problem?
Here’s the thing.. It seems that “martini cocktails” are a regional thing... and not popular here in Minnesota. Also, terminology gets in the way... so here’s a little lesson.
Martini:: Strictly speaking, a martini IS a cocktail (2 or more spirits/etc mixed), just not a “martini cocktail”. What constitutes a proper martini can cause heated debates among connoisseur and pedants, but generally consists of vodka and vermouth. NOT my thing!
Martinis have been around since 1763, when a German composer by the name of Martini liked to drink a mixture of dutch gin mixed with a dry white wine. The drink has a long and evolved history since that point, with many bits of the minutiae hotly debated.
Martinis / Traditional Martinis / Classic Martinis are approximately 2 oz of spirits, served in a shallow martini glass. While they may be accented by a splash of bitters, or other flavorings (olive juice, for example), there aren’t any liqueurs or mixes incorporated. Also, the only garnish for these drinks tends to go IN the drink - cocktail onions, olives, lemon peel. You would not see sugar rims, umbrellas, etc in a classic martini.
Flavored Martini: : A flavored martini is served the same as a classic martini - approximately 2 oz of alcohol, poured into the same shallow martini glass - however, it’s not straight spirits as a traditional martini is. Generally speaking, you would find 1 oz of vodka, and 1-2 oz of a flavored liqueur. Some examples would be:
Appletini - 1 oz vodka, 1 oz Sour Apple Pucker
Chocolate Martini - 1 oz vodka, 1 oz creme de cacao
Flavored vodkas may be used (say, vanilla vodka in that chocolate martini!), but there is not really any “mix” used, short of maybe a squeeze or splash of juice.
While the glass is the same, the presentation can be more fun - glass rims can be dipped in sugar, cocoa, crushed up candy canes... whatever. Garnishes are more likely to be on the outside of the cocktail (rim), than on the inside - apple slices, lemon wheels, pineapple wedges, whatever you want.
Many of the aforementioned pedants turn up their nose at the idea of flavored martinis actually counting as martinis... but, whatever. I’m not getting into that argument!
Martini Cocktails: Martini cocktails go a step further than flavored martinis, and incorporate 2-4 oz of mix - fruit juices, bar lime/sweet and sour, fruit purees, etc.
A more voluminous drink, these will be more in the 4-7 oz range, and are served in a large martini glass, or “martini cocktail glass”*.
I prefer martini cocktails to both traditional and flavored martinis, because I am not a fan of alcohol on its own - I like it as an ingredient that works together with others for a lighter, usually fruity drink. The other styles of martini are a little too harsh for me - I DO drink like a girl!
So, many of the bars I have been to in MN not only haven’t got large martini glasses, they’ve never heard of them. When you order a “Candy Apple Martini”, you’re apt to get something that’s missing the mix (cranberry juice, in this case!) entirely. Some places are nice about offering to make them - if they have the ingredients, that is - but I hate feeling high maintenance.
This weekend, the bartender cordially indulged my request, but carried on like I have NO idea what I'm talking about, etc. Sorry mister.. but YES, pineapple juice DOES belong in a French Martini!
Now, the weird thing is that I KNOW Cosmopolitans - a martini cocktail- are/were popular here, as a result of Sex and the City. Did they make they with no cranberry juice or something? Is Minnesota’s lack of true martini cocktails just a Minnesota/midwest thing, or are they tough to come by across the country? I don’t know! Tell me how this works in your area!
In the meantime, check out my favorite martini cocktail: The Candy Apple Martini!
A disclaimer: This is my own recipe for Candy Apple Martinis, the way I like them. They vary slightly from what I was taught: 1 oz unflavored vodka, 1/2 oz Sour Puss Apple, 1/2 oz Butter Ripple schnapps, 3-4 oz cranberry juice. Hey, it's my blog, I'll mess with recipes if I want to!
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