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Tiki Central Forums » » Tiki Drinks and Food » » Vodka history anyone?
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Vodka history anyone?
hanford_lemoore
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Joined: Mar 23, 2002
Posts: 1869
From: Tiki Central
Posted: 2003-01-13 12:33 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2002-12-31 15:50, thejab wrote:
when a fella named Smirnoff wanted to import it from the Soviet Union so he invented a drink called the Moscow Mule (vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice) to increase it's popularity. In the 60s James Bond films



Recently I saw a TV show about the origins of drinks, on FoodTV or A&E or History, and they said that Smirnoff also paid the movie studio to switch James Bond's Martini from a Gin to a Vodka one. I think the show claimed that that was how the Vodka Martini was invented, and it was James Bond was drinking it purely to boost sales of Vodka.

~Hanford


 
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Limbo Lizard
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Joined: Aug 24, 2006
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From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2011-08-15 3:05 pm   Permalink

Good article about history of vodka in the U.S., and especially its fairly recent soaring popularity and proliferation of brands and varieties. Also, towards the end, comments about vodka by craft bartenders.
Vodka Nation - How the flavorless, colorless, odorless spirit became a billion-dollar business
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capheind
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Joined: Aug 24, 2010
Posts: 43
From: Bakersfield, CA
Posted: 2011-08-15 6:16 pm   Permalink

Vodka Martini isn't a drink, its gibberish, like "cat hairspray monkey", or "honest politician".

 
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Limbo Lizard
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Joined: Aug 24, 2006
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From: Aboard the 'Leaky Tiki', Dallas
Posted: 2011-08-15 8:20 pm   Permalink

The article rather agrees:
"But perhaps the greatest marketing coup for [Smirnoff owner] Heublein was a product placement in the first James Bond movie, Dr. No (1962). Dr. No serves Agent 007 a vodka martini, famously “shaken, not stirred,” and the vodka of preference is Smirnoff. It’s a strange way to make the cocktail, according to Jason Wilson, drinks columnist for the Washington Post: “A martini should always be stirred,” he writes. “That’s the only way you can achieve that silky smooth texture and dry martini clearness . . . a shaken martini is a weaker drink.” And don’t get him started on vodka substituting for gin: “There simply is no such thing as a vodka martini. The martini is certainly more of a broad concept than a specific recipe, but the one constant must be gin and vermouth. Beyond correctness, vodka and vermouth is just a terrible match.”
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TikiHardBop
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Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 409
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2011-08-16 10:01 am   Permalink

Best quote from the story:

But it is the chicken breast of cocktails. It is the most boring, least thoughtful, sort of one that you can mix with. For a craft bartender—someone who believes in humanity—this stuff is just a joke and will fade away.



 
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TorchGuy
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Joined: Apr 24, 2008
Posts: 204
From: Renton, WA
Posted: 2011-09-03 05:50 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2011-08-15 20:20, Limbo Lizard wrote:
“A martini should always be stirred,” he writes. “That’s the only way you can achieve that silky smooth texture and dry martini clearness . . . a shaken martini is a weaker drink.” And don’t get him started on vodka substituting for gin: “There simply is no such thing as a vodka martini. The martini is certainly more of a broad concept than a specific recipe, but the one constant must be gin and vermouth. Beyond correctness, vodka and vermouth is just a terrible match.”



I think that's why there's the trend for martinis to be as dry as possible: because what's popular is VODKA martinis, and vermouth and vodka DON'T go together. As for shaking, let's assume we're working with what passes for a martini made with vodka: vodka and ice and nothing else. Shaken, you get ice chips and a frosty effect.

Why are they still CALLED martinis when they're NOT martinis? Because martinis are trendy. Have been for a few decades. They are supposed to be the drink of class. Vodka martinis are called that for the same reason that thousands of bars made appletinis, or anything else-tinis: it's a nice cocktail, it tastes good, but stick it in a martini-style glass, tack on the suffix 'tini, and suddenly it isn't just a tasty drink, it's a tasty HIGH-CLASS drink! BECAUSE it's "a martini".

A "vodka martini" is just a method to quickly get vodka cold. Put it in a glass with ice, and by the time it gets cold, it's diluted. Me, I like vodka neat and ice cold, so if a really basic bar doesn't have vodka in the freezer or fridge, I can ask for that and get a basic drink they can't screw up. But, correct, it is still not a martini. A martini consists of gin, vermouth, and a garnish of some sort; WHAT garnish is up to you, and can and will influence the flavor. Olives of various kinds, citrus twist, cocktail onion (though technically, that's a Gibson - several probably false stories claim someone named Gibson, who was not a hard drinker, would pay servers to fill his glasses with water, and the onion made them identifiable among all the real martinis).


 
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TikiHardBop
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Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 409
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2011-09-06 10:00 am   Permalink

TornadoTiki specifically ordered a GIN martini this weekend at a local place and the bartender made it with gin and a little bit of olive juice only! You could see her debating back and forth on calling the guy out on it and she finally gave in and asked where the vermouth was. He told her that "everyone drinks it that way"! She pressed him for vermouth, which he couldn't find, and he finally disappeared downstairs for about 10 minutes before he came back with a bottle.

And this isn't the only time this has happened. I've had two bars in downtown Melbourne (FL) and a large nightclub in downtown Orlando that contained 3 bar areas and they all failed to have a bottle of vermouth.

Unfortunately, what has happened is that the term "martini" is now used interchangeably with "cocktail", although we, and especially the cocktail bar owners, should know better. To me, it shows a lack of professionalism. What would you think of an Italian restaurant that called every type of pasta "spaghetti"? You'd think they don't what they're talking about. The same here.

It's always interesting, as well as refreshing, to leave the hinterlands and attend Tales of the Cocktail, where for a solid week, you can hear people talk about cocktails and never once use the word "martini" unless they are referring to the actual drink made with gin and vermouth!

And while I'm ranting -- menus! Check out your local menu and see what they call "cocktails" and what they call "martinis" and try to discover any logical connection between them. It's mystifying to me to see half the drinks at a place called one thing and the other half called something else.



 
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arriano
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Joined: Jun 13, 2006
Posts: 1280
From: Dog Patch - San Diego
Posted: 2011-09-06 1:44 pm   Permalink

Yeah, I don’t know what the answer is. I blame “ultralounges.” I blame “Sex in the City.” I blame disco. I blame liquor company conglomerates. I blame Hollywood. I blame Vegas. I blame Miami.

When I complain about a bar’s version of a Mai Tai that consists of orange and pineapple juice, dash of grenadine and rum, I get the response of “Well, that’s how we make it.” And I’d be in the minority of complainers. But if you asked for a Screwdriver and received pineapple juice and tequila, everyone would complain.

I will say that I think a lot of the ‘tini bars are slowly going out of fashion. I’m seeing a lot more bars (New York, LA, San Fran, Portland, Seattle, etc.) that focus on quality craft cocktails and getting them right. It will take awhile for it to trickle down to smaller cities, but I think it will eventually.

I say, patronize good places and encourage others to do the same. Only when it’s “not cool” to go to ‘tini bars will they die. And then 15 years from now someone will come up with a retro-style bar with fake martinis and it will start all over again.

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VampiressRN
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Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5668
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2012-03-24 4:18 pm   Permalink

Don't know if this would be of any help, but sharing. Seems to me it might be just cheaper to buy better vodka...LOL

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-Cheap-Vodka-Taste-Better
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MadDogMike
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Joined: Mar 30, 2008
Posts: 7259
From: The Anvil of the Sun
Posted: 2012-03-24 4:40 pm   Permalink

Vamp, will that turn Bacardi into Appleton's?
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TorchGuy
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Joined: Apr 24, 2008
Posts: 204
From: Renton, WA
Posted: 2012-03-26 6:44 pm   Permalink

To note: The original Bond cocktail, in "Casino Royale," the first Bond novel, does include vodka though it isn't a vodka martini per se, and is shaken. Specifically, it consists of three parts gin, one part vodka, 1/2 part Lillet (the now-defunct Kina Lillet), with a lemon twist.

Traditionally, it's true that the proper martini uses gin. Gin martinis are usually stirred; not only does this leave a crystal-clear drink in this case, but nearly all drinks using entirely transparent ingredients are stirred with ice so as to keep them very clear. Shaking a drink is a good way to get it much colder, much faster (and is often done with anything involving juices or semi-opaque ingredients). However, it'll put bubbles and ice chips in the drink - see below.

The vodka martini came in during the early Bond era and, yes, Smirnoff paid to be put into the films. At that time, we hadn't gotten to the "as little vermouth as possible" school of martini making, and vermouth probably went in those, though vermouth and vodka may not complement each other as well as gin and vermouth. Incidentally, the "as little vermouth as possible" idea may have come from an aversion to vermouth by drinkers (and bartenders) who don't know that vermouth goes stale!

These days, a "vodka martini" isn't a martini - a martini must include vermouth. "Vodka martini" is a classy way (remember, martinis are soooo hip and chic!!*) of ordering vodka neat, and shaking it with ice is the way to go as it makes the drink freezing cold and puts a nice frost on top from the tiny chips of ice. Whereas gin martinis should always be stirred, not because "you'll bruise the gin" but because part of the elegance of the true (gin) martini is the fact that it looks like crystal-clear glacier water! I see no problem with Bond's formula of 3-to-1 gin with vodka if you, like Bond, liked a big, stiff drink!

If you want a really classic vodka drink, though, grab that Moscow Mule. Better yet, hit some thrift stores and find some copper mugs with handles; that's what Moscow Mules (originally developed at the Cock'n'Bull Tavern to both bring in Smirnoff and boost sales of their homemade ginger beer) are properly served in.

*P.S. A huge pet peeve of mine, but off-topic. Bars, those many cocktails you call something-tinis are NOT martinis, even if you put 'em in a martini glass. An appletini is a fine, simple, light, fruity drink, but a martini it isn't!


 
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VampiressRN
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Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 5668
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2012-03-26 8:05 pm   Permalink

Nice post Torch!!! I know that all those flavored drinks are not Martinis but at some restaurants those are the only drinks worth sipping. I usually go for a Pear Martini...or in real life "Pear Cocktail."



 
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thePorpoise
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Joined: Jan 23, 2011
Posts: 1173
From: Tampa Bay
Posted: 2012-03-26 9:02 pm   Permalink

a vodka gimlet is also a very refreshing cocktail.

I never thought about it before- but a vodka martini is the only shaken drink i can think of that doesnt turn out foamy. i wonder why that is?



 
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TikiHardBop
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Joined: Feb 21, 2009
Posts: 409
From: Rockledge, FL
Posted: 2012-03-27 10:00 am   Permalink

The foam in shaken drinks usually comes from either fruit juices or egg whites. A "pure" liquor drink like a martini or a Manhattan, will not get "foamy" no matter how much you shake it. You will, however, get the little ice pieces and opaque finished product mentioned above.

Personally, my only use for vodka is to make infusions. Can't even remember the last time I made a vodka drink for someone.


 
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TAPATIKI
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Joined: May 08, 2012
Posts: 3
From: Guadalajara
Posted: 2012-05-11 12:12 pm   Permalink

Potato vodka is much better than grain vodka. My wife is Polish and drinks it like I drink coffee! I prefer it straight, she mixes with mineral water and ice.

In the US, Monopolowa is THE BEST! and very cheap price for the quality. Luskowaskya (sp?) is really good also. But we can't get potato vodka here in Mexico, so we always bring back as much as we can sneak in when we go to the US.

We have been making pineapple infused vodka lately. It makes for some decent evenings.
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