Good evening chaps. I was looking over the Classic Cocktail thread in the Speakeasy today. What a great resource. I for one am only too happy to see a sensible return of the classic mixed drinks of our Golden Age forbears. They are classic and for good reason. They stand the test of time and people keep coming back to them time and time again.
As for the venerable Martini, I have to confess that I have never had one. It is just as well. With all the vodka "martini" formulas out there, along with the James Bond "shaken, not stirred" images, it is no wonder the old classic underwent some sort of identity crisis these last twenty years. Now I am not arguing against anyone's liquor of choice. It is probably more personal than our shave lathers and we all know how personal that gets. Drink what you like and enjoy it. However, I have looked at many classic formulas for a Martini and found NOTHING to suggest it ever was or is intended to be other than gin based. I like gin and only really discovered that in the last ten years. So with that "settled", ahem, we now get down to the vermouth. More specifically Noilly Prat.
From what I gather, Noilly dry had become sort of a de facto standard for American Martinis. As I found out in the Martini thread, Noilly is changing its U.S. version of dry vermouth to that which is sold worldwide. This has of course left some Martini afficianados in great distress. I had recently purchased a bottle of the U.S. version just for mixing Martinis. I am thinking of purchasing a bottle of the "new" stuff as well. For a novice Martini drinker I think it will be neat to get to try each side by side. So, is there a B&B'er who has tried the latest version? If so, what do you think of it? I strongly suspect this version was used in the earliest Martinis. It would be interesting to get the opinion of an early mixologist as to the differences in taste. I am also intrigued by using it as an apertif which was its original intent. And last, if this version does not sit well with me, do you have an alternative suggestion? I have seen good reviews of a vermouth name Vya. Thoughts?