I bought a copy of Mr Boston's latest edition
a few years back, an unassuming little red hardbound book. It contains not just a reference list of drink recipes, but a full tutorial of bar basics, classic techniques, cocktail histories, and a drink list vetted for quality. I enjoyed reading the initial chapters when I bought it, but have only recently turned my attention to plying the trade between its pages.
I must admit it started with a new favorite: margaritas. I looked up the classic recipe and was surprised by its strength - I typically add simple syrup to tone it down a little. We experimented with those for a while, and then I went for the Manhattan. That's really the one that put me over the edge. It took one of my favorite drinks (rye, with a rock or two) and turned it into something amazing.
So, I stocked up my bar further with 2 brands of gin and 3 of vermouth (each in sweet & dry) to tackle my next project: the martini, starting with dry. It seems terrible things pass for a martini these days. Everything from gin neat to vodka with a splash of vermouth (flavor? what's that?) passes for one, and I'd never had a good one. So I set myself up a vertical tasting of the ingredients and started mixing this past weekend. With assistance from the palattes of @RyanMM
I winnowed down my own take on the classic formula: 50/50 gin & dry vermouth with a dash of orange bitters and a lemon twist. I made a pair of them for @Aaron
and I last night and they were just perfect.
Immediately after enjoying that one though, I had the sweet vermouth out and was sampling them to rethink my Manhattan before I take on the regular (non-dry) martini. I think I have a problem, folks. A glorious, geeky, delicious problem.