Mongo's Mongologue #13: Vodka, Gin, Martinis & Sweater Melons
Thank you for your warm comments relative to MM #12 (California Bloody Mary Mix a la Mongo). I was happy to see that one of our staunch supporters here at the FPT, skep, enjoyed my recipe for the most delectable Bloody Mary mix known to Buddha, Chute Beast, FP, e, and kiwi.
In MM #12 I discussed adding vodka to taste, having concocted such a wonderful mix. Today, we shall discuss the damage-controlling component of a Bloody Mary, vodka, as well as other libations.I recently had a PM (not that kind of PM) from one of our readers regarding the use of a vodka named 42 Below in a California Bloody Mary a la Mongo. I have researched this matter in earnest.
42 Below is a vodka distilled in New Zealand. The name comes from the fact that New Zealand is below the forty-second parallel. It is reputed to be the best vodka in New Zealand. Having said, let us discuss vodka, how it is made, and the true premium brands. There are many misconceptions about vodka. Most of our readers here at the FPT undoubtedly believe that the true premium brands are made from potatoes. This notion is false. The next time you are getting demo'd on vodka from any purveyor, take a look at the bottle and note the ingredients. The bottle will say that the content is comprised of "Grain neutral spirits."
Well, what the funk does that mean?
While it is true that Pollocks (members of the tribe from Poland) made vodka from potatoes, they did so out of mere convenience. "Grain Neutral Spirits" means that the purveyor took any cheap-ass grain; wheat, most commonly; and made their mash therefrom.
The way vodka is made is one takes any cheap-ass grain and ferments it. One then distills this mix to make fire-water. One brings this to approximately 180 proof. It is chemically impractical to take the distillate further. These facts have been confirmed by a consultant to the FPT, Greg, who has a Master's degree in Chemistry from the University of Michigan. (Unlike my previous analyst who went to the University of California, Davis; the geneticist who selectively bread the wamagranate; this scientist actually exists).
Thus, we see that the genesis of vodka is essentially pure alcohol. One then cuts this to the desired strength with water. Our intelligent readers here at the FPT will therefore understand that a "fine" vodka can be as easily made in Compton as in Warsaw.
Vodka is vodka. I will challenge any FPT reader to a shot contest wherein such reader claims to be able to tell the difference between Smirnoff and Compton Select.
Having discussed these essentials, we note that vodka is not aged. Although time does not allow for the discussion of rum, we will now discuss another un-aged spirit, gin.
Many of our readers here at the FPT are of WT heritage and adore the quintessential martini. Let us briefly discuss the matter...Gin is also an un-aged spirit. Unlike vodka, there are actually differences in the premier brands. When a WT refers to a "dry" gin, he refers to a gin that does not contain many "flowery" ingredients. The essential ingredient in gin is the juniper berry. However, many quality brands include other tasty morsels, such as the caraway seed; e.g. Bombay.
To make an excellent martini, one merely has to go to Bill's liquor, buy a pint of quality gin, go into the parking lot, and power. That is what is known as an "extremely dry" martini. However, if one of you derelicts actually has a date, and might want to lick a boob, one might find himself in a restaurant. In this event, one must trust the bartender to make a dry martini.When we discussed a "dry" martini, we are talking about the lack of vermouth. The classic martini from about a hundred years ago was two parts gin to one part dry vermouth. But, we are Americans (most of us) and we know what works. Vermouth sucks. Vermouth is a fortfied wine, the composition of which is beyond today's babble.
If you find yourself in a restaurant, wanting to meet some sweet sweater melons, but you're trashed and notice that the sweater melons in front of you is of the largess, so you want to get really trashed before you make your move, take this advice from IaM:
Ask the bartender for a dry Beefeater martini. He will more than likely use just a flash of dry vermouth. He will mix the Beefeater in a stainless steel container over ice. He will then add a spanish olive. As an aside, the only difference between a martini and a gibson is that a gibson contains a cocktail onion instead of an olive. This writer always prefers the gibson.
This columnist must apologize for the lengthy exposition above. This was supposed to be a primer on hard booze. In the next column, I will discuss the aged spirits; namely, bourbon, rye, scotch and whiskey.