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    Episode 167 – Macchu Pisco with Melanie Asher

    This spirit is produced in the desert valleys of Peru, south of the equator. The climate provides a lot of sunlight, and the grapes used for the spirit generate a great deal of sugar, which is not great for wine but is ideal for brandy distillation. This terroir is catalyzed by a geographical denomination of origin that necessitates native yeast fermentation, prohibits barrel aging, and restricts grape usage to a group of eight approved varietals, which produces spirits rich in mineral and fruit flavors and high in purity.
    About Macchu Pisco
    Each bottle of Macchu Pisco has 10 or more pounds of grapes per bottle. According to Melanie, the farmers are paid above market rate for their grapes, and no chemical sprays are ever used to treat the fruit. The portfolio includes several different bottles and price points, including the premium Macchu Pisco, the super premium La Diablada line, and the luxury Ñusta bottling, which is packaged in a handmade bottle and made in extremely small quantities.
    Macchu Pisco Tasting
    We tasted through six different expressions during this interview and have provided our tasting notes for you below.
    Macchu Pisco – Green, pear aromas on the nose, which largely carry through and ripen on the palate, with a medium-long finish that tastes of orchard fruit peel.
    La Diablada (Acholado) – A blend of 8 different grapes, named after the dance of good and evil danced during Carnival. Incredibly soft and floral on the nose, with abundant rose perfume and a hint of honeydew melon. On the palate, round and soft, with grapey notes emerging. The finish is even longer than the base expression, with less astringency.
    La Diablada Italia – Made using only the Italia (or Muscat of Alexandria) grape, this expression is an exercise in focus. The nose bursts with muscatel sweetness and citrus peel, with the palate presenting an exquisitely round, sweet flavor highlighted by honeysuckle and lees. The finish is, again, medium-long and incredibly mellow.
    La Diablada Amelia’s Centenarian (Acholado) – Dedicated to Melanie’s Abuelita, this is another blend of 8 varietals. On the nose, abundant lychee and prickly pear with a bit of characteristic tartaric acid brightness. On the palate, it tastes almost like a watermelon Jolly Rancher; incredibly juicy but wonderfully complex. The finish is, like the others, long and pleasant.
    Founding Farmers Pisco – Blended by bartender John Arroyo, with a heavy influence by the Italia grape. On the nose, it’s distinctly desserty, compared to the fruit and floral profiles of the other expressions: bready, with cacao and flan notes. On the palate, it’s rich and robust, with the grape emerging to elevate what would otherwise be a very dark flavor profile. The finish, like the nose, is rich and yeasty.
    Ñusta – Macchu PIsco’s luxury expression. The nose is bursting with orange blossom and Turkish delight with hints of caramel. On the palate, it balances the grape and the confectionary flavors masterfully. The finish is extremely long and complex, inviting you to sip, consider, sip, consider. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 166 – Give me Liberty and Give me a Drink with Jarrett Dieterle

    “The tradition of getting absolutely hammered is as old as civilization itself. Commercial breweries date back to ancient Mesopotamia, proving that alcohol is essential to human achievement. But where there’s good beer, there are always crappy beer laws. The Code of Hammurabi limited how much beer citizens could receive each day, and to this day, our right to crack open a cold one is subject to various restrictions. Until recently, Nebraska required brewers to physically hand off their beer to a distributor for a certain amount of time–known as an “at rest” law–and then essentially buy it back in order to sell it at their own taprooms. The law was mercifully reformed, but Nebraska still remains one of several states that completely prohibits breweries from directly sending their own beer to outside retail locations, even if they’re right down the street.”
    So, now that you’ve got yourself a cheeky classic cocktail riff and a small sample of the silly laws that inspired it, let’s turn our attention back to the interview.
    SHOW NOTES
    Jarrett Dieterle is a resident senior fellow studying alcohol policy at the R Street Institute, a think tank in Washington, D.C. His book, Give me Liberty and Give me a Drink, was published on September 15, 2020. It details the ironic, comical, and often extraneous booze-related laws enforced in the United States. Dieterle humorously assigns an inspired cocktail to each regulation, bringing an air of comedy to his writing as well as a clever way to expose the idiocies of these policies. His goal, as he states, is to give people bite-sized access to a wealth of information on the topic of alcohol policy which they may have previously taken for granted. He emphasizes that these idiosyncrasies are not bound to one state; they expand over the entirety of our country, rooted in Colonial times. 
    The one thing Dieterle hopes a reader will take away from Give me Liberty and Give me a Drink is that they begin to question their surroundings. Give me Liberty and Give me a Drink takes something which functions in the background of awareness and systematizes it, transforming it into a cohesive existence which prompts the question of why? Why do these laws exist? Why do we need them?
    The age-old dichotomy between freedom and security is often brought up in the argument of alcohol regulation. The negative externalities are obvious. Jarrett is not trying to deny that drunk driving, alcohol abuse, and illicit alcohol are issues that need government supervision. However, it becomes nonsensical when we focus on Prohibition-era laws which have prevailed past the 21st century. For example, the Massachusetts “Blue Laws,” which prevent the purchase of alcohol on Sundays and require businesses to pay compensation if they wish to continue sales. There is no discernable pattern in their data that the Blue Laws have impacted drunk driving, and yet the regulations stay in place.
    Some other rather infamous laws include: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 165 – Breaking Bloody (Part 2: Brian Bartels)

    If there was an early 20th century analogue to Comedy Central or Saturday Night Live, it would be Vaudeville. This variety show genre mostly consisted of a series of unrelated comedy, burlesque, dancing, magic, and theater acts and drew huge audiences from the early 1900s all the way through the early 1930s.
    Among the actors who achieved fame in this genre was George Jessel, who set the standards for the types of over-the-top lifestyles that many current day Hollywood celebrities lead. In one of his three memoirs, Jessel recounts a story about staying up all night drinking at a bar in Florida in 1927, then rummaging around to see what was left to drink the next morning. As the story goes, he combined vodka, spices, and tomato juice and then promptly spilled the beverage on the dress of socialite Mary Brown Warburton, who allegedly reacted by saying, “now you can call me Bloody Mary, George!”
    There is widespread speculation as to why this claim to the origin of the Bloody Mary only emerged several decades after it was supposed to have occurred, which casts definite doubt upon Jessels story. But let’s face it: Jessel was an entertainer, and his story definitely has that going for it.
    Bloody Mary Variations
    In the middle of the 20th century, the Bloody Mary spawned a number of riffs or variations. Most of these either modified the alcohol source, the acid and spice profile, or both. The following represent probably the most popular Bloody Mary variations, most of which remain somewhat popular to this day.

    The Red Snapper – Until after World War II, vodka was often scarce in the United States. As such, many chose to use gin in its place. The Red Snapper cocktail is a gin-based Bloody Mary where nothing really changes besides the base spirit. This drink may have been a somewhat unsuccessful re-brand of Petiot’s Bloody Mary, since the owner of the St. Regis Hotel at the time had a wife named Mary and wasn’t fond of the cocktail’s name.

    The Caesar – The Caesar is a Bloody Mary variation that deploys clam juice, either as an ingredient in a house-prepared mix, or via a packaged tomato juice product like Clamato. The briny, umami character of the clam juice helps to thin the tomato-based mixer and add depth of flavor to the drink.

    The Michelada – The Michelada is a Mexican-style Bloody Mary variation where beer is substituted for vodka. Generally, the citrus component of this beverage is lime (instead of the traditional lemon), and Mexican-inspired spices are often used in the drink or on the rim of the glass.

    The Red Eye – The Red Eye can either be viewed as a pared down, beer-based Bloody Mary, or a lazy Michelada with no citrus. It contains beer, tomato juice, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce (or a substitute). The idea of the Red Eye is to be able to assemble it without as much care or finesse as the Bloody Mary, and its generally accepted function is to act as a hangover remedy.

    Lightning Round
    We asked Brian Bartels a few Bloody Mary-related Lightning Round Questions. Here are his answers!
    Favorite Way to Garnish a Bloody Mary LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 164 – Kleos Mastiha with Effie Panagopoulos

    One last thing: we drop the word organoleptic in this episode, and I wanted to back up and make sure you know what we mean when we say that. Fittingly, this word has Greek origins: a fusion of the words Organon – meaning “organ” – and leptikos – meaning “disposed to take.” Put those two root words together and we get a word that refers to our sensory organs’ ability to perceive (in the case of Mastiha) flavor and aroma qualities. This word also refers to the potency of certain substances. So when Effie and I are talking about precisely the best way to extract flavor from mastic resin or the downstream effects of consuming the product, that’s where you’re going to hear that word “organoleptic” come into play.
    With that, please sit back and enjoy this fascinating conversation with everyone’s favorite Greek Spirits Muse, Effie Panagopoulos.
    SHOW NOTES
    Effie Panagopoulos initially perforated the spirits industry amidst her four-year stint at Boston College. Cocktailing at a dive bar “Mary Anne’s,” which Effie affectionately nicknamed “Scary Anne’s,” and a beer/cordial bar, she found her start. Graduating from bartender to supplier, Effie landed a gig with Bacardi in 2004 and moved to San Francisco. At the time, SF was forefront in cocktail culture. The city was full of cocktail snobbery and esoteric booze; the perfect city to get your feet wet. 
    In the summer of 2008, Effie was recruited by Rémy Cointreau to become a national brand ambassador for METAXA, the largest greek spirit brand in the world. METAXA brought her back to her roots in Greece, reigniting her love affair with the old country. Mykonos reintroduced Effie to the unique taste of Mastiha, a liquor derived from tree resin which can only be found in 24 villages across Greece. She recognized the flavor profile immediately from Ypovrichio, a greek dessert Effie ate as a child. Inspiration hit and she decided to bring Mastiha to the United States as the brand we know and love today, the “bartender’s olive oil,” KLEOS. 
    As a PDO, a protected designation of origin ingredient, Mastiha is required by law to be sourced and bottled in Greece. Through intense trial and error with issues from consistency to viscosity, Effie worked with Greek distilleries to perfect the KLEOS recipe. As the first greek female to create a liquor brand, Effie found it apropos to team up with the first greek female distiller to produce her spirit. KLEOS undergoes double distillation through two forms of Mastiha. The first round, raw resin, allows for the extraction of flavor and aroma compounds while the second round, essential oil, rectifies the spirit to ensure there is no variance. This laborious process is worth it, however, as KLEOS has been rated the highest Mastiha globally with 5+ stars from the English spirits industry writer and publisher Simon Difford, and 94 points in the Ultimate Spirits Challenge. 
    Effie recognized that America does not have enough of an aperitif and digestif drinking culture for KLEOS to survive on its own. The challenge, which she dominated with an incredible vigor, was to create a Mastiha good enough to drink on the rocks, but also simple enough to be used as a workhorse for the bar. KLEOS is perfectly that; everything a bartender, spirit fanatic, and cocktail enthusiast could want and more.
    Drinks to Make:
    Signature cocktail for KLEOS is the KLEO-PATRA JONES. The recipe is right on the bottle. Effie also riffed off this drink to make the BIG IN JAPAN – KLEOS, Shiso, and Lemon.
    How to get your hands on KLEOS Mastiha:
    United States – Greek Wines Delivered – Ships to Alaska, California, DC, Idaho, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, Virginia, and Wyoming.
    International – The Whiskey Exchange, Master of Malt, Amazon.co.uk
    LIGHTNING ROUND
    Favorite Cocktail
    I’m going to go with a KLEOS Mezcal 50/50 with a pink grapefruit wedge. I’m not a loyalist when it comes to Mezcal, but I do love Del Maguey Chichicapa and my friends over at El Silencio.
    If You Were a Cocktail Ingredient, What Would You Be?
    Angostura bitters because it’s essential.
    Cocktail with Anyone, Past or Present
    Socrates in the Ancient Agora in Athens. It would be my KLEOS Mezcal 50/50, and I would want to hear him pontificate on philosophy. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 163 – Cocktail Ingredients You've Never Heard Of

    One trend in the 1800s that sort of paved the way for soda fountains is the popularity of sparkling water as a health tonic. Even before the soda shop became a mainstay of American culture, the wealthy elite were huge fans of drinking flavored fizzy waters to alleviate their headaches, or other little maladies. But, as technology continued to evolve, soda fountains became much easier to install and maintain in public venues.
    This represents another thread in the intertwined history of booze and medicine. These soda fountains resided in pharmacies partially because druggists already had the tools and knowledge to create concentrates and carbonate them. But if you give a pharmacist a soda rig, it turns out, he’s really likely to start throwing things like booze, cocaine, or opium in your soda. And around the turn of the 20th century, all these things were still considered medicinal in their own ways.
    Another movement that was taking off around this time, of course, was the temperance movement, which is a bit too complex to get into here, but the general thrust of it is that alcohol was considered bad for families, so if, as a politician or public figure, you claimed to be pro-family, well, to the temperance movement and the anti-saloon league, that meant you kinda had to be anti-booze. This is why soda shops were able to continue thriving during Prohibition because even though pharmacies were putting some really questionable stuff into some of their concoctions, it wasn’t alcohol, so it was pretty okay.
    As the decades marched on past the roaring twenties, into the Great Depression, then World War II, and beyond, the ingredients used in fountain drinks got less dangerous and a little more desserty. But one tangy category of drink that remained somewhat popular was the phosphate or “acid phosphate.”
    In a similar way that you’ll see fancy bartenders today making acid adjusted orange juice or crystal clear daiquiris using a blend of citric and malic acid, phosphate soda drinks were carbonated long drinks, often flavored with fruit syrups, with the addition of a little tincture that contained food-safe phosphoric acid supplemented with calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
    According to cocktail writer Wayne Curtis:

    Acid phosphate does two bewitching things to a drink: The acid gives it sourness without making it taste like anything in particular. And the salts enhance existing flavors, much as they do with food. The various elements of the drink (sweet, sour, bitter, sharp) are each discernible, but none is overwhelming. Adding a teaspoon or so of acid phosphate makes a cocktail seem slightly off center, and makes your tongue tingle.

    Today, many savvy bartenders use acid phosphate in a similar manner to what Curtis describes – as that little pinch of acid and salt that brightens a flavor profile and accents the other notes in the drink. The first time I had one was probably around 2013 or 2014 at a brunch spot in DC called “Founding Farmers,” and I gotta say, it was a refreshing way to extend that old brunch time tradition, the hangover cure.
    Aromatic Spirit of Ammonia
    Speaking of hangovers, don’t forget about aromatic spirit of ammonia, our other chemical cocktail ingredient of note. According to an article on ArtOfDrink.com, it’s a 10% solution of ammonium hydroxide, mixed with water, alcohol and the essential oils of lemon, nutmeg and lavender.
    Back in the 1800s, aromatic spirit of ammonia was used as OG smelling salts to prevent fainting or revive someone who has already fainted. In fact, they’re still available today at many pharmacies right alongside the heavily ammoniated smelling salts found in first aid kits. This compound was also said to have anxiety reducing properties, which may be explained away by the placebo effect. But one thing is for darn sure: ammonia is a base, which means it neutralizes acidity, so if there’s one thing I could actually see this substance being useful for, it would be dyspepsia.
    Although aromatic spirit of ammonia isn’t nearly as popular behind the bar as acid phosphate, it does have its signature drink: the ammonia coke. By adding just 2 or 3 milliliters to a standard glass of coke, you’ll notice a marked drop in acidity from the cola, as well as some pleasant “top notes” from the lemon oil, lavender, and spices.
    This is one additive I’d like to see used more behind the bar because I really dig the way it acts as both a flavored tincture and a pH modifier. Rarely are you going to come across ingredients that pull double duty so effortlessly, which is, I think, a really solid reason for folks to start experimenting.
    The Sourtoe Cocktail Club
    Rounding out this little romp through often-overlooked and esoteric cocktail ingredients, we’ve got a real stinker: the preserved medial and distal phalanges of the human hallux, which is another way of describing a pickled human toe.
    As you might expect, pickled toes aren’t super popular in the craft cocktail world. It’s not like you can just order one as the garnish for your next Gibson or Dirty Martini. But one particular pickled human toe was the inspiration for a Canadian group called the Sourtoe Cocktail club.
    For more about this obscure ingredient, I need to quote directly from an article from CBC Canada, which reads:

    The Sourtoe Cocktail is practically a rite of passage for visitors to Dawson City, Yukon. It’s a simple drink (a shot of whiskey, usually Yukon Jack) with an unusual accompaniment: a mummified human toe. 
    How did the Sourtoe cocktail come to be? It all started during prohibition, with a nasty case of frostbite. 
    In the 1920s, the rum-running Linken brothers — Louie and Otto — got caught in a blizzard. Louie put his foot through a patch of ice and soaked his foot. When the brothers got back to their cabin, Louie’s right foot was frozen solid.  
    To prevent gangrene, Otto used his axe to chop off Louie’s toe. He placed the toe in a jar of alcohol to commemorate the event. 
    In 1973, legend has it that Captain Dick Stevenson found the jar (and the toe) in a remote cabin.
    He came up with the idea of the Sourtoe Cocktail Club — an exclusive club, with one membership requirement.
    In order to gain admittance to the club, potential members must drink the legendary sourtoe cocktail. There’s just one rule: “You can drink it fast. You can drink it slow. But your lips must touch that gnarly toe.

    Now, if you didn’t think this story could get any weirder – of course, you’re wrong. Because in 2013, a…wait for it…New Orleanian named Joshua Clark came in and SWALLOWED the mummified toe of Louie Linken.
    This put him on the shit list of toe master Terry Lee, and although they have been able to continue the tradition with a “backup toe” since that fateful day, the damage was done. Clark immediately paid the $500 fine for swallowing the toe, but was subsequently banned from the Downtown Hotel where the tradition continues to take place.
    There’s a really fun 20 minute documentary about this whole situation on YouTube – which we’ll embed on the show notes page – where Joshua returns to Dawson City, Yukon in an effort to make amends with the toe master. It’s actually a really great little watch, especially if you have a drink in-hand, so I won’t spoil it for you in case you’d like to see for yourself how this story concludes. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 162 – Spirits of Latin America with Ivy Mix

    1 ¼ oz of Agricole Rum (which is a style made from cane juice, rather than molasses)

    ¾ oz of Bourbon

    ½ oz of Manzanilla Sherry (Ivy recommends a brand called La Guita…which is delicious)

    1 ¼ oz of Poblano Pepper syrup (which we’ll cover in a moment)

    ½ oz Pineapple juice

    ¾ oz Lime juice

    Combine all these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, give it a good, hearty shake, then strain into a Collins glass over crushed or pebble ice, garnish with a lime wheel, and enjoy.
    To make that Poblano pepper syrup, Ivy recommends de-stemming 8 poblano peppers (but leaving in the seeds for a bit of spice), then juicing those until you have about 2 cups of pepper juice. Add that to a blender with 1 cup of agave syrup, blend until integrated, then bottle and refrigerate.
    What we love about the Pancho Perico cocktail is its expert balance of multiple sweeteners and acids. You’ve got sweet notes from the rum, bourbon, and poblano syrup, acid from the Manzanilla sherry and the lime juice, and then the ½ oz of pineapple juice that straddles the line between sweet and tangy.
    Personally, we’re a green drink podcast, especially when it’s summertime. So if you’re looking for a gorgeous highball that will blow away your guests this Labor Day weekend, we recommend grabbing the ingredients for the Pancho Perico. It’s not the simplest drink, but in the words of everyone’s favorite amphibian role model: it’s not easy being green.
    SHOW NOTES
    Ivy Mix has dominated the bartending industry for 16 years and has perused the cocktail scene since 2009. Using the popularity of agave spirits as a gateway, Ivy and her boss-turned-partner, Julie Reiner, opened Leyenda in 2015. This pan-Latin inspired bar functions as an avenue for Ivy to introduce people to the complex and amazing spirits of Central and South America.
    After being defined as a successful woman in a male-dominated industry, Ivy wanted to move beyond gender definitions of her career to say yes, but I am also so much more than that. Through Speed Rack and Leyenda, Ivy fully immersed herself into every facet of mixology. Spirits of Latin America is Ivy’s newest project that takes an in-depth look into the drinking culture and history of Latin America. This book diverges from the typical tequila, gin, or vodka, shining a light onto grape-based spirits such as pisco, singani, and yaguara cachaça. As Ivy says, “there’s no book like it.”
    LIGHTNING ROUND LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 161 – Tales of the Cocktail 2020 with Caroline Rosen

    Now, you might be wondering at this point why we’re bothering to give you a cocktail recipe as cloudy as this one. Well, one reason is that some ungodly percentage of first time visitors to New Orleans visit the birthplace of of the Hurricane Cocktail – Pat O’Brien’s, and the history of this bar, coupled with the supposed origin story of the cocktail are actually kinda compelling.
    Pat O’Brien is a gentleman who ran a speakeasy in the French Quarter during Prohibition, and according to legend, the password for this elicit bar was: “Storm’s Brewin’.” Later on, when drinking was legal again, he purchased a sprawling residential building and converted it to a bar with an attractive courtyard and a dueling piano stage, which is still popular to this day. I’ve been there – and as you’d expect – it’s pretty much all tourists and bachelorette parties.
    AND YET – Pat O’Brien’s is pretty much the undisputed home of the hurricane cocktail.
    See, in the wake of Prohibition and during World War II, there was a glut of rum from the Caribbean because everyone was suddenly obsessed with all the stuff they couldn’t get – like whiskey and imported stuff from Europe and because the military efforts abroad had a lot of manufacturers pivoting to help the war effort. 
    The following statement comes directly from the Pat O’Brien’s website:

    In the 1940’s many US distilleries were used to manufacture necessities for war time, and domestic liquor was scarce. However, Rum coming up the Mississippi river from the Caribbean islands was plentiful. In order to buy a case of Bourbon, for example, there was strong incentive to purchase large quantities of rum. With General manager George Oechsner Jr at the helm, the folks in the bar experimented with recipes, and eventually everyone agreed that passion fruit was a hit! A glass shaped like a hurricane lamp was the perfect vessel and the Hurricane drink became New Orleans favorite libation.

    Fast forward to today, and you’ve got Pat O’Brien’s selling jugs (and powdered packets) of their Hurricane mix (as well as a bunch of hackneyed DIY recipes on the internet that involve Hawaiian fruit punch). It’s all slightly reminiscent of a frat party, especially when you consider the ingredients that frequently bastardize the formulation:

    Galliano (of Harvey Wallbanger fame)

    Grenadine (possibly why the cocktail at Pat O’Brien’s is red instead of orange)

    And other fruit juices like pineapple orange juice

    Now, one thing all these ingredients have in common is sugar – which suggests that you need something (or multiple things) to sweeten your drink and take the edge off all that booze and acidity. So keep that in mind as you’re seeking out the best hurricane cocktail recipe for you. This is the type of challenge we think today’s home bartenders are uniquely suited to tackle because the ingredients should be readily available (even the passion fruit puree or syrup), and you can really dial in the recipe to suit your personal palate, which is something you can’t always find at a bar.
    Garnishing Your Hurricane Cocktail
    In terms of consistency, it’s a bit ironic that the garnish for the Hurricane cocktail is the one item that seems to carry over with complete accuracy from recipe to recipe. They all call for an orange wheel or half-wheel and a maraschino cherry. In the spirit of the cocktail, this is normally a firebird red artificial cherry, but I’d highly recommend subbing in a brandied cherry if you’ve got one.
    Show Notes
    Tales of the Cocktail began in 2002 as a small, historical walking tour that featured New Orleans’ rich cocktail history and culture. Over the ensuing 17 years, it developed into a massively popular international cocktail convention with a more than 8 million dollar impact on the service industry of New Orleans. Some of the highlights of the event include: LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 160 – Carbonadi Vodka with Ricky Miller

    See, despite its inherent simplicity and lazerbeam focus, we think of the martini like a trick a BMX biker does on a half-pipe, or maybe a figure skating move. For these athletes, it’s all about rotation in mid-air, some other manipulation of the body while in mid-air, and some kind of specialized landing or finishing move. For a martini, it’s all about what booze you use, your ratio of booze to dilution, and what other little flavors or flourishes you want in there (or don’t want in there).
    And just like the triple axel in figure skating or the 360 tail whip in BMX, martini moves come with their own lingo. For example, we could walk up to a bar and order a stirred, 50/50 dirty vodka martini, and someone else could request an upside down, shaken gin martini with a twist. 
    So returning to the question: what is a vodka martini, and how do you make one, we can’t give you a single recipe that will suffice, but we can offer some tips that will help you find your perfect vodka martini.

    Tip #1: Choose your vodka carefully. As we discuss in this and other episodes, vodka has a reputation for being neutral and flavorless, but this is a myth. You can almost always detect some influence of the distillate base when tasting a vodka, so consider which bases appeal most to you. Vodka can (and is) made from just about anything under the sun. It also helps to learn about how your vodka is treated during the manufacturing process, including filtration and resting techniques, which can affect things like mouthfeel and ethanol burn.

    Tip #2: Be honest about what you want. If you want cold vodka without anything in it, just sip it on the rocks. That’s not a martini, and there’s no shame in that. Traditionally, Martinis always have some sort of flavor additive – whether it’s something like vermouth or bitters, or something a little dirtier like olive brine. So if you have strong feelings about either the amount or type of flavor additives in your martini, just specify. Your bartender should be able to replicate any ratio of ingredients you stipulate…as long as you come out and say it.

    Tip #3: Dilution matters intensely. There’s a reason why gin martini purists always stir their drinks. It allows for extremely controlled dilution, which can preserve the relationship between juniper, citrus, and bitters. But then again, there might be a reason why it’s popular to shake a vodka martini (especially a dirty one that contains lactic acid from olive brine). See, shaking increases dilution and introduces a ton of air into the drink, which can result in a creamier, thicker mouthfeel that rounds out the profile. So if you’re really dedicated to ordering or creating your perfect vodka martini, make sure you also put some thought into how you want it prepared.

    Show Notes
    After entrepreneurial ventures in the vitamin, sleep supplement, and energy drink space, Ricky Miller realized his true passion was in beverage marketing. He knew that he wanted to build a luxury brand and to sell a product that people could immediately experience and benefit from in the moment. For him, vodka was the way to go. He knew that he wanted to create a “Western Style” vodka, something that even non-traditional sippers could enjoy.
    When he was trying to build the brand story for his vodka, Ricky looked to Italy, but was told that vodka and Italy are a bit of a non sequitur. However, he realized that Italy and luxury goods (cars, clothing, art) are virtually synonymous and identified it as an opportunity rather than a problem. He settled on Italian wheat as his distillate base and then set about designing the process that would put his product head-and-shoulders above the competition.
    The Carbonado Process LEGGI TUTTO