Sunday, June 26, 2005

James Bond's Martini

Last week I made a venture into Atlantic City. I spent most of last Monday walking along the Boardwalk (looking for the intersection with Park Place, as well as title deeds ;) ), and along the way I stopped at Bally's Bikini Beach Bar. (Hey -- as a bachelor, I'm allowed to look at bikini babes. Wouldn't you agree?)

Anyway, at the bar they had this nice deal for certain drinks like the Atlantic City Sunset. Since they make'em in plastic cocktail shakers, for $10 U.S. you get the drink and you also get to keep the shaker. Somehow I wound up with two.

Now that I own a pair of cocktail shakers, naturally I thought I'd try making a cocktail. Since I'm also a James Bond fan (having written about two of his consumptive items before), I thought I'd try to make the classic item associated with 007: his martini.

In Casino Royale, Bond gives his definitive recipe for a martini. Using a champagne goblet (rather than the traditional martini glass), Bond's "Vesper" calls for the following:

3 measures Gordon's Gin
1 measure Vodka
1/2 measure Kina Lillet (a brand of vermouth)

Shaken, not stirred, in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice and served with a large, thin lemon peel.

Kina Lillet is not a popular brand of vermouth, so I substituted Martini & Rossi's dry version. Also, when I made my liquor purchases I'd forgotten that Bond had specified a brand of gin, so I wound up using Tanqueray instead of Gordon's. And since no brand of vodka was specified, I used Stolichnaya since it was on sale.

I'll say this much: this is a very strong drink. I don't have martini glasses, but with the ice it pretty much fills an old-fashioned glass. It's the type of drink that requires an elephantine constitition to deal with properly. Mind you, it's not a bad-tasting martini; it's just that it's a pretty strong one.

No wonder Sean Connery quit the job ...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

On Lobster

Last week I found out it was lobster season.

In an age when freezing technology makes seafood possible all year round, my concept of lobster season was sort of fuzzy. However, when the local pubs start selling lobster for $13 CDN each, I decided to go for it. (As it turns out, May and June are the optimum months for fresh lobster. I honestly did not know this.

Lobster, of course, is not one of those dishes people eat all the time. It's pretty expensive for most of the rest of the year, and I admit I'm one of those people who's squeamish about boiling something alive. For that reason I'm generally glad to eat lobster in a restaurant rather than cooking it myself.

Because of its association with shrimp, lobster probably has a reputation as being one of those foods that gets put on a "do not eat" list for people who have to watch their cholesterol. Thing is, most of the cholesterol in a lobster is in the head. I don't know anyone who eats lobster heads, do you?