Two sources of bemusement encountered during a recent trip to Iowa:
1. A Martini is a cocktail made with gin or vodka and, optionally, dry vermouth. The drink is made more or less dry by adjusting the proportion of vermouth to gin or vodka; Winston Churchill supposedly said that it was sufficient to pass the vermouth cork over the glass. I will pretend, for the moment, to be a forward-thinking guy and allow that the category has expanded to include a glass of vodka or gin and a substitute for vermouth (for instance, sake). But I would still not include drinks like the Cosmopolitan and the Lemon Drop, no matter the shape of the glass they’re served in; these are perfectly fine cocktails, but they aren’t martinis, any more than a Jack and Coke is a Manhattan or a Tequila Sunrise is a Margarita.
In an Iowa City bar and grill, the “Martini Menu” contained 14 drinks. Of these:
- 3 were made with regular vodka.
- 6 were made with flavored vodka.
- 5 were made with flavored rum.
- None were made with gin.
- None were made with vermouth.
2. Julie and I have started watching the first season of Lost on DVD. It’s a fun show so far, one that features an entertaining premise, considerable suspense, and satisfying, well-executed surprises. It also features characters broad enough to land a plane on.
I know there are plenty of twists coming, and since I’m writing this from inside a DVD time capsule some of what I write here may have been made obsolete before I even turned on the computer; nevertheless, I’ll take that risk and congratulate the show’s writers for putting the following people on one plane:
- a Mancunian rock star who’s also a drug addict,
- a young, blonde, Southern Californian woman who’s shallow and self-absorbed,
- an Iraqi who was previously a torturer in the Republican Guard, and
- an Asian woman who comes from a mysterious gangster family, and also knows the secrets of herbal medicine. And her husband is a cook! Ooh, maybe one of them knows martial arts, too!