Discerning Drinking, Chapter Sixteen.


Originally posted 18th September 2012

My Mum is experiencing a kind of personal Renaissance the rest of us can only dream of.  In the last year or two she has taken up the trombone and has embarked on an odyssey of gigging in two three four five bands almost every night of every week.  For that, I give her two thumbs up.  In the inevitable post-band drinks, she takes to cocktails (clearly runs in the family then) but only likes to drink them if they come in that ‘special glass’ and then motions to Dad or I a ‘V’ shape.

A martini glass?” one of us ends up saying.

That’s the one

I don’t really know why it had never occurred to me before 2012 but here was a great idea for a birthday present for her.  If I get mum a few of these then she can drink all her drinks out of them!

I have long been a fan of the website Urban Bar.  I first came across them in one of Simon Difford’s cocktail books, as their stocky-stemmed Polish-made glassware was used in abundance for the photoshoots of tasty cocktail recipes.  I have never really had a good enough reason to buy the Urban Bar martini glasses myself – seeing as at Carmine’s, such glasses have a shorter life expectancy than a snail crossing the M25 – so figured that Mum’s birthday was the occasion to get some.  They arrived quickly (Urban Bar seem very slick in their operation) so I wrapped them and packed them off home.  Job done.

Two weeks later, I was in the office and had a call from Concierge saying that four more had arrived.  A quick scan of my bank statement confirmed that I had not been charged for the pleasure so I decided to be honest and let the good people at UB know that if they sent me postage, they can have the glasses back.  They didn’t; simply replying that I can keep them.  So there you go kids; honesty really is the best policy.  Who’d have thought that?!

Anyway, I decided to christen my not-so-ill-gotten gains with a classic martini.  Natch.  I chose:

Abbey Martini

A cocktail with over seventy years of history (it’s closely-related to the Bronx), this is a classic twist on the Sweet Martini; laced with orange and historic ingredients.  I’m not sure exactly what I mean by ‘historic ingredients’ but it’s sure as shit got no Powerade in it.  It does however, have:

  • 2 shots Dry Gin
  • 1 shot Martini Rosso
  • 1 shot Orange Juice
  • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake everything together and strain into a chilled, stylish martini glass.  Enjoy!

I wish. The Abbey Martini – in my humble opinion – should have been confined to the history books long ago.  It’s pleasant enough – but here at Carmine’s we are now long beyond ‘pleasant’.  We desire palatable fireworks, taste sensations and consistent excellence in consumption.  Not a drink which manages to be violently dry yet sickeningly sweet at the same time.  How does that work?  I mean, Jesus couldn’t have accomplished that – and he fed the five thousand.

I may be overreacting.  It certainly wasn’t the worst drink I have ever had; and thanks to the Urban Bar, it was certainly the most stylishly served.  I am a die-hard advocate of the belief that the glass makes the drink, but apparently there are limits.  Let’s hope that Mumsie has better luck with her glasses…

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