Sip while mulling over character development.
While the original martini is not a personal favorite, I am often lured into trying various takes on the classic. This recipe takes the dirty martini in a smoky, savory direction with the inclusion of Scotch.
12 Parts Kozuba Vodka (Distilled from Wheat)
6 Parts Gallo Dry Vermouth
9 Parts Red Label Scotch
4 Parts Water
1 Part Castelvetrano Olive Brine
8 Castelvetrano Olives
10 dashes Angostura Orange Bitters
Serve with a lemon twist and a Dash of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
The idea here is to premix a larger batch of martinis and bottle them for cooling in the freezer to serve later. Ordinarily, we would stir the martini with ice and strain into glass, but we skip the step today. This is why we add water, for the dilution, and we pour the mix directly from the ice-cold bottle.
Queen or Manzanilla olives are perfectly acceptable alternatives. I wanted to experiment with the Castelvetrano and tried to manually pit them. This resulted in a debris field of savory shrapnel.
Any Scotch will do, but be warned the subtle notes of more expensive vintages may be lost among the briny depths.
The olive oil adds mouth-feel and another layer of flavor. I found first-hand how the olive oil solidifies in deep cold, which is why we wait until the decanting to add a few drops. Ideally, I'd like to emulsify the oil into the drink with a few shakes instead of floating it on top. This cools and congeals the oil particles until they melt on the tongue. I understand some may be hesitant to include this ingredient, and to each their own.
After testing this out, I have to say the Scotch and olive flavors go surprisingly well together while playing nicely with the citrus notes and vermouth. While my comrades were not overly wowed, I was quite pleased overall.
I appreciated the convenience of bottling a pre-mixed concoction for travel and intend to do this more often when serving guests.
When the mood strikes me, I'll be making this again.
I got my template from the Islay and Olive Recipe from Maggie Hoffman at Epicurious.
For more ideas, check out her book Batch Cocktails: Make-Ahead Pitcher Drinks for Every Occasion
*The Minimum Drinking Age in the US is 21*
*Always Drink Responsibly*