For my first ROTW, I'm experimenting with three iterations of the second thing I ever learned to cook in my life.
When I think abstractly about Anderson Cooper, I think of a classy, refined man who enjoys the finer things. I imagine he always smells good and wears a real watch, and always has a nice pen on him. I will be honest, I don't know a lot about Anderson Cooper, but I have a very strong impression of the type of man I think he is, and if you had asked me what kind of drinker I took him for, I would have guessed he enjoyed good wine, maybe some scotch, and an expertly crafted martini.
I was very wrong.
It turns out that the silver-haired journalist grew up in an Aquavit household, and had never even tasted a martini until Anthony Bourdain made him one in a little teacup with some lemon zest. After a cautious sip, Cooper pronounces the cocktail to be "good," which is a big relief to me, to be honest. (You can watch the dramatic scene unfold in the video above.)
I'm not sure if Mr. Cooper will transform into a die-hard martini convert, but he would certainly be in good company if he did. Below you will find five influential martini drinkers and how they enjoyed this most classic cocktail.
Julia Child enjoyed "reverse martinis" which, as the name suggests, inverts the gin/vermouth ratio for a lighter, more aromatic cocktail. Since the drink is mostly vermouth, get a good bottle. Ms. Child was a fan of Noilly Prat, which can be found pretty easily. (Two ounces vermouth to one ounce gin is a pretty common ration, but Julia basically just drank a glass full of vermouth over ice with a gin floater, so go crazy.)
My favorite cocktail book ever (besides The 12 Bottle Bar) is To Have and Have Another, which contains "dozens of authentic recipes for drinks directly connected with the novels, history and folklore, and colorful anecdotes about the man himself." There is a lot of gin in this book, which isn't surprising, considering that Hemingway's martini of choice was "The Montgomery," which boasts a stiff ratio of 15 parts gin to one part vermouth. (The Montgomery is cool and all, but my absolute favorite cocktail in To Have and Have Another is the one that has you drill a hole in a coconut and pour two ounces of gin inside the drupe.)
James Bond is not a real person, but if he were, he would be the worst martini drinker in the world. That whole "shaken, not stirred," is a bunch of malarkey, as all of the ingredients in a martini are primarily ethanol, and thus have very similar densities, and thus do not need that much agitation. Ordering a martini this way will not only get you an eye roll from your bartender, but a watery martini to boot. I actually don't know why I'm even including him. I think it's just compulsory.
The 32nd president of the United States — you know, the one who repealed Prohibition — apparently loved martinis as much as I do, and is rumored to have carried around a little martini mixing kit. According to MentalFloss, his recipe was "two parts gin, one part vermouth, some olive brine, a lemon twist and an olive," which is a pretty bold garnish situation, if I'm being honest.
DID YOU KNOW THAT I LIKE GIN? I used to drink my martinis super dirty (sometimes with pickle brine) but I've grown to enjoy them almost bone dry. I basically want a glass of cold gin, preferably Hendrick's, with just a splash of vermouth and a Castelvetrano olive. So far my favorite martini in Portland was made at Laurelhurst Market, but I was told to check out Pepe Le Moko, so I'll let you know.
Are you a martini drinker? How do you take and make 'em? What do you think Anderson Cooper smells like?