For the love of martinis

1 Mar

I was sitting here drinking a martini and I thought, it must be time to do another Happy Hour blog.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.””

I don’t know if John Lennon drank martinis, but he was a wise man none the less.

I’ve been meaning to write more blogs but life keeps happening. Not that my life is exciting, but it is time consuming. So, here I am writing a blog.

And drinking a martini.

I used to drink martinis and then I stopped drinking altogether. ..

It was meant to be a 30 day experiment back in April 2008. I committed myself to 30 days in which I would eat better, stop drinking, meditate daily, and write daily. April gave way to May (and June…) and then it was all part of a count down to my 50th birthday in August. During this time I also committed to writing 50 blogs in 50 days counting down to my 50th birthday.

I had such stamina when I was 49…

The end result was, I wrote a lot of blogs, I lost weight, and I stopped drinking.

At least in the short term.

The plan was to have a martini on my birthday. So, I bought my favorite gin–Tanqueray–and on August 28, 2008, I shook up a martini, poured it into my favorite martini glass and….discovered (after 3 months of sobriety) that I had totally lost my taste for gin.

Oh,  I choked it down. But it wasn’t the same. *Sigh*

Where did I first develop a taste for martinis in the first place…?

I blame  Bewitched.

Most likely not their fault, but I have to begin somewhere.

Samantha Stevens used to greet her husband Darren with a big pitcher of martinis when he came home from a harried day at McMahon and Tate. (For years that show formed my impression of the advertising business. Thank God, Mad Men came along later to clarify things…Those guys drink a LOT of martinis…and other stuff…)

Even as a child it bothered me that Darren expected Samantha to make those martinis by hand like an ordinary wife, when in reality she was able to conjure the perfect martini with sheer magic. If she were my wife, I’d prefer the magic martini, but that’s just me.

And then there were some other TV shows and movies that crossed my impressionable young brain—not to mention Look and Life magazines. All I know is, I got the impression that there was something special about a martini.

I think it really began with the glass. I have always had a thing for the martini glass.

Yet, when I began to venture into drinking as a young person…(don’t judge–we’re not talking heroin here!) I drank mixed drinks involving vodka or Southern Comfort (Janis Joplin hadn’t been gone all that long and we still remembered…)

Later there was bad wine (then better wine) and eventually, yes, beer.

I didn’t seriously venture into martini territory until I was in my 40’s. I think I assimilated the message at an early age that martinis were for adults. I knew I was at the legal adult at 18, but am was still waiting for my second puberty in which I fully embrace my maturity…

Until then, I got the impression, while in my early 40’s, that perhaps I was grown up enough to venture into martini territory.

Again, it began with the glass. I remember mentioning to a co-worker that I thought it might be fun to collect martini glasses. I don’t know where this notion came from. It was not a burning passion. The next thing I knew, it was my birthday and my co-worker gave me an amazingly ornate martini glass. It was a cool gift. Then I started finding interesting  martini glasses in antique stores, thrift stores, and even dollar stores. Then other friends began giving me martini glasses as gifts.

It was around this same time that I was traveling for business. (Nothing like business travel to make you feel like a REAL grown up!)

One of my trips took me to a training class in Chicago. It was August. I am sad to say, I don’t remember the year exactly–but it must have been 2002 or so. I ventured out after hours. I can’t say where I wound up exactly. Except to say it is all in black and white and there was a chanteuse singing to piano accompaniment. The lesbian behind the bar let on that the dame doing the singing was her main squeeze. The next thing I knew, I was ordering a martini.

“Olive?”

Oh yes!

From that moment on my business trips were punctuated with the search for the perfect martini. Room service in San Antonio–don’t get me started! A martini with a New York Strip at Annie’s in Washington, DC–perfection! Salt Lake City—OK, I had to do with sake (and that’ s another blog..)

At a nice little place on Dupont Circle in Washington, DC (where I spent most of my business travel–thank goodness!) I had a martini with gin and sake (replacing the vermouth.) Oh my, that was good…

And that became my “at home martini” when my husband (who has no magical powers, alas) would greet me with a pitcher of martinis at the end of a harried day at…. Well, not so much. But he would replenish the liquor cabinet if I left him my debit card…)

But then, I lost my taste for gin. And somewhere along the line “martini” became a pseudonym for “mixed drink served in a martini glass.”

And I so love the glass…

One day, not too long ago, my husband/long time companion/partner and I ventured into a local liquor store and found some nice young lady demonstrating gin.

Gin needs to be, like, demonstrated?

This isn’t a PDA for gin. And I am getting no promotional consideration from NEW gin distributors from here to AMSTERDAM. All I am saying is, this lady and her elixir of sin renewed my interest in gin.

Plus, we got a cool T-shirt, so there’s that.

All of which tends to undercut my thesis that martinis (at least as they were originally presented to me in my impressionable youth) were sophisticated and SO adult!

Whatever. My glass is dry…

Happy hour, to one and all.

6 Responses to “For the love of martinis”

  1. Lyndsay ~ The Kitchen Witch March 1, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    I had my first dirty martini in the bar at O’Hare airport waiting for a connecting flight. It goes without saying, the rest of the afternoon passed in a lovely haze 🙂

    I remember when you did the health kick – it was very inspiring!

  2. Gay Groom March 1, 2011 at 8:58 pm #

    I started drinking martinis at airports as well. Used to travel a lot for work and since I was nervous when flying… after a couple I didn’t care if we stayed in the air or didn’t. I also made a mean martini back in the day…

    But I stopped drinking back in 2002… so my martini days are over. Even on my wedding day (when we went through way too many bottle of Moet and Chondon… I was drinking (ironically) good old Canada dry 🙂

  3. Fred March 1, 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    Never did acquire a taste for Gin. My first and last encounter with Gin was when I raided the liquor cabinet of a wealth old man’s cabin where we were living and working and took it to a party back where we used to live and are back living and it was Sloe Gin and I gaged on it. Then poured the rest of the bottle down the sink.
    Personally I have a thing for shot glasses. I was into drinking whisky shots. The shot glasses I have come in a variety shapes. I like the ones with stems most probably used by little old ladies for medicinal purposes. In any case I now use them for shots of Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.
    Cheers.

  4. Mike March 2, 2011 at 5:24 am #

    I enjoyed your story – especially the “Betwitched” part. I certainly remember Sam’ greeting her harried husband at the door with a martini! The martini has always been symbolic, even to the extent of 007 ordering a Vodka martini…..

  5. That Weather Girl March 4, 2011 at 5:40 am #

    I love that photo! And I don’t need to tell you about the influence of Life and Look magazines on me, do I?

    • catzenspace March 5, 2011 at 8:08 pm #

      Life and Look totally impacted our lives. They brought us amazing images. I think the fact that we could stare at those images and revisit them again and again had a tremendous impact. One more thing we have in common.

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