Bite-Sized Beats #21: Lemon Twist Turpentine

29 Jun

I’m gonna talk about something I don’t talk about often on this blog.


It’s one of those nights right now where, despite some moderately fun times had with some more than moderately cool friends, I find myself alone, lights mostly off, and clutching to a martini.

There’s people I wish would be here, sure.  People lost who I can’t get back anytime soon, tired people too far past the brink of consciousness to rescue.  It’s a relatively late hour; the human body can only put up with so much, much less dulling around in a quiet apartment with yours truly.

That being said, there’s definitely something to be appreciated in letting yourself hang in the silence while holding a glass of Churchill’s finest. Sitting there doing nothing doesn’t work; the quiet gets too loud, you start drifting off to get away from it, and the whole meditation goes in the trash pretty damn fast.  It’s the martini that, oddly enough, sobers you.  Now that’s one martini, not twelve.  If I wanted to stumble around the living room yelling things at exes I’d just warp back to the 60’s and start an ad agency.  It’s been done already.  

But the one, solitary martini…it demands your attention.  It punctuates you, makes you taste the blast of juniper and tiny hints of vermouth, then lets you go again. Back to thinking, and reflection, and silence.  And then it pulls you in and releases, again and again and again, until it’s gone.  It’s those in-between moments where, if you’re like me, you’ll have your best moments of thought, the most revelatory ones.  And it’s the struggle through the complexity of those flavors, the jungle of sour and bitter and bite and cool, that gives your mind the supreme ability to get to that wonderful meditation.

It’s perfect, and of all the combinations of food and drink and music I’ve put together on this site, it may be the finest.  The martini…and nothing.

Let me show you how to make it the right way.

Here’s what you need:

– A lemon twist (that’s the peel only, don’t go throwing a whole wedge in there)

– Ice

– A cocktail shaker

– 2.5 oz of gin

– A small dash of dry vermouth

Here’s how you make it:

First, fill your cocktail shaker with ice.  And when I say fill, I mean fill: get it as high as it’ll go.  You want this sucker to be ice cold.

Add your gin and a very small dash of vermouth, just a hint.

Stir with a spoon, 40 times.  EXACTLY 40 times.  I don’t know why, but it’s the way I was taught, so it’s the way I’m gonna teach you.  And don’t try to go all James Bond on me and shake the damned thing.  Shaking’s for drinks that come in half a pineapple and three novelty paper umbrellas, not for martinis.

Put the cap on your shaker, filter it through into a chilled martini glass, and squeeze your lemon twist over the top.  If you do it right you should just barely get a drop of the oil from the zest out, and you should see some more starting to come through on the top of the peel.

Place the twist in your glass, turn off your speakers, and enjoy.

Till next time, readers.



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