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We have all seen the films. The sophistictated James bond, swaggers over to the barman, and ask's for a vodka martini, shaken not stirred (unless it was Sean Connery, for whom it is shhhaken, not shtirred.). But what is martini?
Martini is a type of Italian vermouth, made by the Martini & RossiDistilleria Nazionale. The particular type of Martini that I am reviewing today, extra dry was first made in the year 1900 (released on new years day to be exact. So, with such a history in making the drink, you would like to think that they are the best in the business.
Vermouth, is a type of fortified wine. Typically, the main ingredients are wine, herbs, sugar and alcohol to strengthen. Extra dry Martini does not have sugar added, which gives it a very bitter taste. Historically, this has been used as a way of getting rid of bad wine. The producers mask the poor wine with herbs, and the bump in some fortiying alcohol such as gin.
If you have read any of my wine reviews before, then you will know that I am a fan of fine wine. Therefore the fact is that I was pre-disposed to hate this. Still I gave it a go, as my wife drinks it and there was some in the house. The only thing I knew about it at this point was, that is is really cheap. She gets it for under four pounds for a bottle.
The bottle looked stylish enough. It is green glass, with a white label. On the label is black print with a small amount of information on the drink itself, and the Martini and Rossi producers. The bottle has a screw cap, which I suppose is handy if you are a drunk on a beach, and need easy access.
There is no real smell to the drink, and if anything I would say it was slightly fumey. This, I put down to the fortifying alcohol put in. Although, I realise most people would drink this mixed, I tried some straight to taste the drink itself. I poured, and the drink was a greeny, clear colour. Kind of like water you would empty out when changing your fish bowl. This was slightly off-putting, but I still would not mix it. I am a firm believer that you should not have to mask a drink in order to drink it. When it hit my mouth, I was physically shaken by the taste. And not in a good way. The drink just tasted dry. The best way I can describe it would be to ask you to take a cork out of a bottle, suck on it. Maybe even chew it up in your mouth.
Gagging slighly by the taste, I thought the best way to get rid of it would be to swallow. This was a grievous error on my part. On swallowing, there followed an even worse flavour. The aftertaste is offensive to say the least. I suppose this must taste like pure ethanol, or perhaps turpentine. However, being the trooper that I am, I persevered in order to give a full review for my friends here on the site. I thought that the drink is perhaps best mixed, and that to drink it neat was a big mistake. So out came my bottle of sprite, which my wife uses as a mixer. I put a small amount of Martini in the glass, cringing slightly as I poured.I then put in a generous helping of sprite. The result was a catastrophe of the grandest proportions. Swilling it in my mouth, I was overcome by what I can only assume is the taste of petrol and vomit. Basically, the sprite's only effect was to make it fizzy. There was still the fumes, and the pure alcohol taste. There was still the dry, rotten flavour. All I can say, is that there are far more pleasant ways to damage your liver, than to drink this stuff!
So, 007 may like this stuff. It may be seen as classy. But as far as I am concerned, they can keep it. If this is the way to be classy, then I will continue to be a wino.
P.S. Is goes without saying, that I did not finish off the drink. I remained sober that night. You could say that I was shaken, not slurred.
Martini Dry was launched, with great international success, on New Year's Day in 1900. The company had been experimenting with the production of a dry vermouth since 1890 in some foreign countries, such as Cuba, in order to compete with the French sec vermouth. A straw coloured vermouth with a sharper perfume, it reveals raspberry, lemon and the subtler hints of iris. This aromatic wine is dry without being bitter, with a white wine base it allows the aromas to come alive in the glass.