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Tab dump

1) No, seriously, cancel Haiti's debt.

2) People shouldn't be termed "deficit hawks" unless they voted against the bills that blew up the deficit.

3) Jon Chait is hopeful on health care.

4) A letter from Haiti.

5) You clicked on this already, right?

6) "Granted, the odds of surviving a 6-mile plummet are extra­ordinarily slim, but at this point you’ve got nothing to lose by understanding your situation."

Recipe of the day: Actually, I'm asking you guys for one. I want to up my home cocktail game. In particular, I want to make a very good dirty martini. I prefer gin, but either way. Anyone got tips, tricks or recipes?

By Ezra Klein  |  February 1, 2010; 6:40 PM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Rep. Paul Ryan's daring budget proposal
Next: Predictions are hard -- especially about the future


Since San Francisco has some amazing bartenders, it would be worth reading the S.F. Chronicle's piece on martini making:

"...we convened one afternoon at the bar at San Francisco's Fifth Floor, where Bezuidenhout consults, with a long line of gins and vermouths. For wisdom and stirring help we invited three other San Francisco bar wizards: Marcovaldo Dionysos, who established the cocktail program at Clock Bar on Union Square; Eric Johnson of Delarosa in the Marina and the forthcoming Bar Agricole; and Ryan Fitzgerald from Beretta in the Mission District.

"The bar top was crowded with gin and vermouth, a thermometer, a stopwatch, a cooler of chilled glasses and an afternoon to kill."

They look at shaking vs. stirring, mixing time, and all sorts of other variables.


Posted by: meander510 | February 1, 2010 7:02 PM | Report abuse

As Erik Ellestad put it on eGullet, "what do you do when a friend or customer asks for a "dirty" Martini?

Try to talk them out of it?"

Friends don't let friends etc.

Posted by: thehersch | February 1, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

The key to a good dirty martini is practice. I've always found that the third or fourth one of the night is superb. Seriously though, I'm no bartender but I went on this same quest a few years ago and here are some things I learned:

- leave the stainless steel shaker, martini glasses, and gin in the freezer all the time so everything is nice and cold
- I like Bombay Sapphire but just make sure it's a decent gin
- use crushed ice - at the end of pouring you can shake some nice little ice flecks onto the top
- your choice of olive stuffing, I like bleu cheese ok, but usually go with jalepeno - habenero if I'm feeling masochistic
- the ratio of gin to olive juice is the key; my wife likes a lot more olive juice than I do; that's where you'll have to experiment; 3 or 4 to 1 is probably a good starting point - that's pretty dirty though; I go with more like 8 to 1


Posted by: briande33 | February 1, 2010 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Again, I'd say the greatest incentive to passing HCR is self-preservation. It's no fun being in the minority. I think most members of Congress realize that.

Posted by: leoklein | February 1, 2010 8:33 PM | Report abuse

This recipe pleases me and has always pleased friends for whom I've made it:

4 oz. gin
A dribble of vermouth
A dribble of olive brine

Pour into a single-serving shaker that's packed with ice, and shake well.

I prefer Junipero gin, but Bombay and Tanqueray will both definitely do.

Posted by: levistahl | February 1, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

Ah, asking for martini recipes has got to be the most blatant comment bait there is. But yeah, what thehersch said.

Orange bitters or a few drops of scotch can take the edge off the ginniness.

But really, if your guests are martini drinkers then they'll know exactly how they want them prepared, and if they aren't then they'll be unlikely to take to any variation in particular and there's no point in wasting good gin.

Posted by: tps12 | February 1, 2010 9:55 PM | Report abuse

Also, the perfect and sweet martinis are given short shrift.

Posted by: tps12 | February 1, 2010 10:00 PM | Report abuse

not dirty:

into a mixing glass 1/2 full of crushed ice, go 3:1 Plymouth or Gorden's gin to Noilly Pratt dry vermouth, plus a couple drops of favorite bitters. Stir until VERY COLD.

Into a FROZEN martini glass, swirl 1 tblsp cointreau or triple sec around the inside to coat, and discard rest.

Strain martini and garnish with 3 olives.
(oh, go ahead and add some juice if you must)

Try a Casino:

1 1/2 oz gin
1/4 oz maraschino liqueur
1/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3 drops orange bitters

stir over crushed ice and strain - lemon twist garnish

The gin and cherry liqueur keep it from being as tart as a lemon drop.

Posted by: chasm3 | February 1, 2010 10:49 PM | Report abuse

4 oz Bombay Saphire gin
1 oz sweet vermouth
1.5 oz olive brine (yes, I'm serious)
Twist of lime or a drop of orange bitters (I prefer lime)
As many olives as you can skewer on a toothpick.
Everything kept cold, preferably freezing (except olives)
6 or 7 good shakes should do ya
Serve in a pre-frosted martini glass (doesn't taste the same, otherwise)

I use regular grocery store olives (you know, pimento stuffed green olives), especially for the brine, for a consistent olive-salty flavor untainted by more exotic stuffings or brines.

This makes a pretty salty martini. Mmmn. Olive juice and gin.

Now, I need to go find an interesting recipe for a potato vodka martini.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | February 1, 2010 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Ezra, it might be a little late for anything in this thread to get noticed, but is there some procedure where one party can insist that some number of legislators from the other party vote first? In the Ryan thread I was thinking about the proposals from the deficit commission, and that the Dems might want to put some of them into practice but not take all the blame. Can they make Republicans vote first until they get some number of "aye" votes to avoid the Republicans backing out of an agreement at the last moment?

Posted by: MosBen | February 2, 2010 8:08 AM | Report abuse

"Bic's Place" recently posted an informative and funny piece on gin martinis.

Posted by: remrebound | February 2, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Stick with gin, it's the real thing. I don't drink martinis dirty, but have been drinking the standard version for 20 years. To my taste, the brands of gin recommended above are all good but Hendrick's is noticeably better. Something about the botanicals they use works especially well in a martini.

I'd also like to echo that a frozen glass is key -- it doesn't take long, just put it in the freezer right before you gather your bottles and do your mixing.

I also recommend shaking the hell out of it to get it really cold and to break up the ice so that a few little chips come out in the pour. Along those lines, go with modest-sized glasses, make them small, and have more than one.

Posted by: CatfishHunter | February 2, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse

I'm with thehersch on this one. Also with Bernard DeVoto who wrote, "And, I suppose, nothing can be done with people who put olives in martinis, presumably because in some desolate childhood hour someone refused them a dill pickle and so they go through life lusting for the taste of brine. Something can be done with people who put pickled onions in: strangulation seems best." (It's well worth the read. Wondrich calls him The Cult of the Dry Martini's High Priest and Executioner.)

Posted by: | February 2, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

check out - Dirty Sue is the best bottled olive brine on the market. They have some great recipes as well.

Posted by: et1969 | February 2, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

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