Gin and…It

Posted by: on Apr 30, 2010 | No Comments

Today is the last day of classes for the semester, and with a slew of important papers and other-such-nonsense to attend to next week, I shall be taking this weekend as the calm before the storm, and will enjoy a relaxed Friday evening of cards and cocktails with a few friends.

One of the cocktails I find myself a lot lately is the Gin & It. Originally, this mix of gin and sweet vermouth was just called a Martini, the popularization of the Dry Martini eventually dethroned this once king of cocktails by the end of the nineteenth century. By the 1890s, it was already called the Sweet Martini, and by prohibition it had gone through its Gin & Italian phase, finally settling on the short, speakeasy appropriate, Gin & It. Most people don’t realize that “dry” originally meant the martini was to be made with dry (french) vermouth rather than sweet (italian) vermouth, not that the barman should simply glance at the vermouth or add most, dare I say it, add a drop or two. Martinis were originally made in a 2 to 1 ratio of gin to vermouth, now called a 50/50 if made with french vermouth of a Gin & It if made with sweet vermouth.

I like it just that way, 2 to 1, gin to vermouth, while some enjoy 1 to 1 or any other ratio you can imagine. I have even heard tell that a few bartenders are making them 2 to 1 and 3 to 1 the other way, with the vermouth dominating. This makes the drink a bit sweet for my taste, but to each their own. I recommend you experiment and find what works for you.

The real key though is good ingredients. I always advocate using good ingredients in cocktails, but here you will really taste whichever gin and vermouth you choose, so don’t sell yourself short. I find Hendrick’s works wonders (as usual) if I want a softer drink, and Beefeater is my gin of choice when looking for a more crisp, hard edged cocktail. It may technically be sacrilege, but I like just a small dash of Angostura bitters in mine as well….shhh…don’t tell.

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