Grape and Grain Will Bring You Pain, But I Still Recommend It

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Two upcoming events have recently crossed the desk of your intrepid wine and spirits reporter that I thought bore repeating. The first item is a confluence of some of my favorite things in the world, featuring wines and cheeses from very notable sources. Tomorrow night, June 16 at 6 p.m., Woodland Wine Merchant is presenting a tasting at Rumours East showcasing wines imported by Domaine Select and cheeses from Kenny's Farmhouse Cheese out of Austin, Ky.

Domaine Select representative Daniel Hubbard will be on hand to elaborate the backstory of each bottle that he has matched with Kenny's cheeses, which demonstrate a strong European influence. The pairings should be stupendous, and for $10, there's not a better deal to be had in town this week. (Unless you go looking for some post-CMApolcalypse Kenny Chesney snow globes for your grandson on Lower Broad.)

Please RSVP due to limited space at 262-5346.

After you've satisfied your need for wine and cheese on Thursday, it will be time to get ready celebrate National Martini Day, which falls inexplicably on a Sunday. Plan ahead and get yourself some really good gin and a fresh bottle of dry vermouth before the liquor stores close on Saturday night, or you'll find yourself having to make do with the cheap stuff or even worse, with vodka. Not to rekindle an ongoing comment war here on Bites, but while you may enjoy your chilled potato juice out of the same glass that you should serve a martini in, that ain't a martini. And the glass isn't even a martini glass; it's called a cocktail glass.

So if you want to offer up a tribute to the gods of Mount Martini, try at least one classically prepared martini this weekend. If you choose to make one at home, feel free to use the recipe below. If you'd prefer to let a professional do the mixing, please go to a place that doesn't have a Martini Menu featuring Fruitinis or Chocolatinis or try to upsell you on the olives that are stuffed with anything other than a pimento.

I like the martinis at Flyte and the Oak Bar at the Hermitage Hotel myself, partly for the atmosphere and the entertaining bar staff, but mainly because both places make a damned fine cocktails. So where's the best martini in town in your opinion, Bitesters?

And if you do feel obligated to pile on in the comments about my or your opinions on what is or isn't a martini, have at it. I've got thick skin and some chilled liquid courage in a cocktail glass in my left hand. My personal liquid courage recipe is 5 parts dry gin/1 part dry vermouth, by the way, but here is the most classic of all martini recipes pulled from the Old Mr. Boston De Luxe Official Bartender's Guide, which was printed the year I was born:

Martini Cocktail

Chill 3-ounce cocktail glasses to the point of frost. Fill pitcher with cracked (not crushed) ice. Ice should be dry and hard frozen. Measure out the exact ingredients for the number of drinks required, pouring in the dry gin first (gin should "Smoke" as it settles over the cold ice), then the Dry Vermouth. Stir briskly until drink is very cold. Strain at once into frosty, stemmed cocktail glasses.

Martini (Traditional 2-to-1)

1 1/2 oz. Dry Gin
3/4 oz. Dry Vermouth
Serve with an olive

Cheers!

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