Thursday, September 12, 2019

P. G. Wodehouse and the Perfect cocktail

There is a tow of P. G. Wodehouse books on a shelf that's eye level with my bed - they have little Martini glasses on the spines, a constant reminder that cocktails are something of a theme for Wodehouse (as are hangover cures). There is probably no writer better suited to being enjoyed with a cocktail and some form of Martini is as good a choice as any.

There are a lot of versions of the Martini, it's a drink that seems particularly susceptible to fashion. When the Savoy Cocktail Book was written - which is about the right time for vintage Wodehouse vermouth proportions were much higher.

The Perfect cocktail is a sort of Martini, and is worth making for a couple of reasons. It calls for equal parts of gin, French vermouth, and Italian (rosso) stirred well over ice and then strained into a glass.

The first good reason to make this is that there's a pernicious idea about how dry a Martini should be. I have no problem with people enjoying a good gin, or vodka, neat, but I don't consider that to be a Martini. Starting with a lot of vermouth is a good opportunity to dial back the machismo and find what the right ratio for you might actually be.

The second reason for making the 'Perfect' is that it's good practice for mixing more than one type of vermouth, which doesn't necessarily feel like an intuitive thing to do. Having taken care to buy good Vermouth the natural thing for me to do is to want it to speak for itself in a drink. Mixing two together feels like a lot of personality in one glass to me - I have to persuade myself to do it.

Having started with the Perfect, I know now that I like a Martini to have a good bit of vermouth in it - something between 1/3rd to a 1/4 of the drink. I also know that I'm still more comfortable using only one vermouth at a time but that I also appreciate the balance of flavours that using two gives. I'm also sure that both Bertie Wooster and Psmith would approve of the quest to get it right.

1 comment:

  1. I do love Bertie and Psmith and all of P.G. Wodehouse's characters and have read Cocktail Time. I posted about Wodehouse in a recent blog post. His books are feel good reads, and I am sure the guys enjoyed many a cocktail at The Drones Club and about town.