Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Bombay Sapphire Martini

That's it! I have officially lost control of this blog. Joe informs me that this week we are doing HIS favorite drink, and that is that.

What am I to do? Mix my own? I had no choice but to put my trust, once again, in Joe's alchemical prowess in the manipulation of spirits.

In retrospect, I believe I chose wisely.

The Recipe:

While chilling a large martini glass, into a cocktail full of ice, add:

- a 7 count, (yes, I said SEVEN,) of Bombay Sapphire Gin
- a 0.02 count, (give or take a drop,) of dry vermouth,

- stir emphatically with a bar spoon,

- Strain into the now chilled Martini glass,

- garnish with a twist of lemon.
Recipe by Joe the Bartender, Passage to India Restaurant, Salem, MA

Joe the Bartender's notes: A question I am often asked is "What do you drink when you go out". The short answer is a 'Bombay Sapphire Martini, straight up with a twist.'
But like most of my answers to simple questions, I also have a multifaceted answer, (otherwise known as ramblings.)

To understand how I got to a BSMSUW/T I, like Darwin, need to examine the origins of my personal evolution of drinking.

Just as ape first climbed down from the trees, my early days where very basic and consisted of drinking cheap draught beer at my local pub.

The next step in the evolution process was "finding a mate." I realized that this was not going to be achieved by hanging out in the pub and playing darts with my buddies. So, putting on my glad rags I ventured forth to the more trendy bars and nightclubs. Drinking at these establishments was akin to a mating ritual as depicted in an edition of National Geographic:

"The male of the species first orders a bottled beer. Czech, German or French are acceptable selections. He always drinks straight from the bottle. In this fashion he is presenting the label in a display of sophistication. The aim is to attract a female of the species impressed by his selection and taste. It says: "Look at me! I drink expensive beer beer from exotic places, and I will share my money and sophistication with you!"

(Incidentally, as good as this sounds on paper, it is possible that someone forgot to tell the women , as it didn't really seem to work.)

The next step in the evolution process was the wine bars. The early 80's in London was a time of great excess. Everyone seemed to have money, and easy money is easily spent. I spent the next couple of years either working or drinking in these establishments. (For those unfamiliar with wine bars, they were bars that primarily sold wine and champagne. You sat with friends and quaffed huge quantities of either French, Spanish, German or Italian wines. Everyone was called "darling," everyone was an aspiring sommelier and everyone ordered bottle upon bottle of wine.) Eventually the whole pretense became somewhat tacky.

Turning my back on the wine bars, the next reasonable step was towards membership to CAMRA. That is the UK's campaign for real ale. Otherwise known by Americans as that flat warm beer that English people drink. At this point you should google "CAMRA."

but please remember to come back...

Welcome back!

Somewhere along this time line, I noticed that I had acquired a wife. This made me part of a couple. As a couple we started going to dinner parties. What drink you brought with you said a lot about you as a couple. a bottle of wine was usually accompanied by some Aquavit, white port, ouzo or cherry herring. If your offering was brought back from a recent trip with a story attached, even better. I remember one dinner party where a young lady produced a case of wine she had received from her very own vineyard in Alsace, a wedding gift from her father. Although the wine wasn't very good, this offering could not really be topped.

I feel now that I have reached the pinnacle of my evolution. I am at an age where I can order a proper martini without seeming pretentious. (You really do have to be at least out of your twenties.) And this is how I like my martini. Bombay Sapphire, straight up, with a twist.

Will I evolve further? If so where? Or will I start to slide back down the ladder ending in a barrel of cheap draft beer.

Chris the Barfly's notes: My experiences with this drink are far less autobiographical than Joe's. In fact, I have only had the one, (that he forced upon me!) so, in this section, (known as the brief section, from now on!) I will give my impressions of this cocktail based solely on my limited exposure to it. I hope it suffices.

Well, despite the fact that this cocktail is, for all intents and purposes, straight gin, it is surprisingly smooth. Where most virtually undiluted spirits of such a proof are generally sippers, (or shots!) this drink had me taking larger mouthfuls, just to get the full taste of the gin all over my palate. This is most certainly due to the smoothness of the Bombay Sapphire, backing up all the claims that Joe has made regarding this particular brand. I truly enjoyed this martini and and will never again doubt Joe's judgement.

I learned that this blog is not about control, and who has or doesn't have it, but in the ancient and revered symbiotic relationship of mixologist and thirsty patron, trust is the key.

Trust me.


  1. I will speak to Chris about this "straight gin " comment This evening. A cocktail by its very definition is a combination of ingrediants. Gin, Vermouth and as importantly the ice melt water. I have seen recommendations on putting the gin, vermouth and even the cocktail shaker in the freezer. Don't, you want the ice to be able to melt a little.
    Joe the Bartender

  2. Y'know, for a guy who uses terms like "sploosh," "splash," and "dash," as units of measurement in his recipes, you're pretty exact about MY comments!

    But point taken, nonetheless.

    1. I find if you let it sit in the chilled glass for a second or 2, the flavor melds with the lemon twist.