As you may have noticed I hadn’t written about Martini yet. But if you think it’s because I don’t like this cocktail that’s a big mistake. On the contrary, I actually like Martini so much that I just stand in awe of this Icon 8) And now, after seven years of cocktail blogging I consider that I should move 8) So, I’m planning to devote a few posts to Martini this year – from its beginning to modern state, figuratively speaking from Harry Johnson to Audrey Saunders (curiously they both use the same proportions, so the circle is complete). However, I want to start from some interesting riff to pluck up my courage.
First mention of the Attention Cocktail is supposed to have appeared in Hugo Enslinn’s Recipes for Mixed Drinks (1916, USA), this book not only insists on its full name but also gives quite a weird composition – gin, vermouth, absinthe and violet liqueur in equal parts. Next an important milestone in the cocktail’s story is a recipe in the classic The Savoy Cocktail Book by Craddock, Harry (1930, UK). The cocktail was given not only a light, unceremoniously shortened name but also (and that’s way too significant) also pretty exquisite proportions in a Dry Martini style [I think, there is no difficulty to notice that Craddock’s Atty Cocktail is a Dry Martini with violet liqueur]. This it the Atty that went out into the world (as is proven by the fact that Harry Craddock omitted violet liqueur in the Aviation not because he didn’t have it but rather that he didn’t think it was good (or in the right place)). It’s worth noting that Atty isn’t the only reincarnation of the Hugo Enslinn’s Attention Cocktail, there is another similar mix – Arsenic & Old Lace, that utilizes the same ingredients. It’s supposed to have been created and named after an American dark comedy film directed by Frank Capra in 1944.
I have to admit that even in the Craddock’s proportion the Atty Cocktail sounds pretty interesting (except for that shaking), but in fact this post was inspired by an absolutely awesome version from PUNCH Magazine, there were changed proportions to a wet side, and added some orange bitters and a lemon twist [actually, IMHO, these are mandatory attributes of the King].
60 ml gin
30 ml vermouth dry
1 bsp. creme de violette
2 dashes orange bitters
Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with splash of absinthe and discard. Add first four ingredients in a mixing glass with cracked ice and stir. Strain into the cocktail glass rinsed with absinthe. Add lemon twist.
Just as I read the recipe I realized with certainty that like any other Dry Martini, Atty Cocktail demanded a maniacally pedantic approach to mixing 8) So let me briefly describe some details of My Way.
Two key moments in a Martini preparation and serving which I’m going to clarify today are the well-chilled glassware and using appropriate ice for mixing.
First of all I chill my favorite glass. Obviously the easiest way to chill a cocktail glass for Martinis is to place one in a freezer for a certain time. However this way is too rough if we deal with crystal ware (namely that sort of glasses that suits Martini the best). Crystal is a rather sensitive material and it demands certain, you know, soft-glove treatment if you want to see your crystal ware as shiny as when brand new. So, the best way to gently chill crystal cocktail glass is using crushed ice and soda water – simply put plenty of crushed ice in the glass and add cold fresh carbonated water to intensify thermal transfer. Let the glass stand tfor a few minutes while you are preparing the cocktail.
Next I add all the ingredients (and of course only the best that I could find, or at least – my most favorite) in a mixing glass (I never chill barware if I mix my plain Dry Martini – for achieving proper dilution, it’s important) and think some time about ice to mix the cocktail 8) As a matter of fact, in a home bar we have at least three sorts of ice for mixing (or even more, if you use ice-molds of different sizes for preparing ice cubes) – cubed, crushed and cracked. Specifically the last sort I prefer to use for Martini mixing. Fresh made cracked ice contains pieces of different sizes and forms that provide the best conditions for chilling and dilution of a Martini. For preparing cracked ice I use a bar spoon and very cold big ice cubes in a way described in this Michael Deitch article.
I always use plenty of fresh made cracked ice for my Martini. Usually I add at least two or three times more ice than ingredients by volume. And of course I only use stirring not shaking in order to not to bruise my gin and vermouth 8) A little more rationally, it could be rephrased – in order to not to oxygenize my gin and vermouth in highly dispersed mixed-phase medium 8) So, as you can see, I am a strong believer in gin and vermouth bruising ;)
After carefully mixing I finely strain the mix in the prepared cocktail glass. I always use tea-strainer because I consider that even tiniest ice pieces in my Martini are an epitome of evil 8) Martini must be absolutely clear and brilliantly shiny (sapphirely in the case of the Atty ;).
Also let me say some words about rinsing the glass with a splash of absinthe that is demanded for preparation the Atty. Actually, I had never liked this procedure because it’s not very effective and I am always greedy to discharge rinsings :) Fortunately these problems were solved after buying an atomizer, this thing really works!
All these steps allow me to obtain really great Martinis. One of which is Atty Cocktail.
Wow, wow, wow! The only thing I repeated while I took first, second and third sips of this heavenly blueish dry delight. Sometime ago one of my favorite cocktail bloggers – Doug Ford from Cold Glass described the Atty Cocktail with word «astonishing» and now I see what «astonishing» means 8) Actually it’s very curious to taste a word.
First what astonished me when I just took the cocktail in my hand was its aroma. The Atty has an absolutely unique deep perfume nose full of flowery, citrus notes with exquisite gin juniperic and vermouth subtle botanical flavor. From time to time I think that to embody some cocktails in perfume would be a good idea, I’m positive I would love an eau de toilette on basis of Satin Manhattan (aka Scotch Cooler) and Atty is a similar case (for another mood of course).
Besides, the taste of the drink is no less great than its flavor. The Atty Cocktail has rather a dry palate with base floral and junipery notes of gin and vermouth piquantly adorned with flowery violet and spicy anise notes of pastis (while I haven’t got good absinthe yet, I use Pernod as substitute). Of course I tasted several combination of gins and vermouths in this cocktail. For now the best results I obtained with a time-honoured combination of Bombay Sapphire London Dry Gin and Martini & Rossi Extra Dry, and my other lucky couple has become a combination of Hayman’s 1850 Reserve Gin with Gancia Extra Dry vermouth.
And finally let me say something about another great Martini’s characteristic, which the Atty possesses too – action. This cocktail has a significant Martini outcome. An impact. An ideal anxiolytic. A portal to another world 8) A fantastic cocktail!