Friday, December 17, 2010

The Drinking Lunch

The month of December is known for celebratory meals, especially long Friday lunches. As the "unofficial" Friday before Christmas, today just so happens to be the biggest lunch day of the year. In this month's issue of OffBeat Magazine, we review the Rib Room, a restaurant that is a year round specialist in three hour boozy lunches. When taking your holiday lunch, there may be no better choice in the city.

In a recent Business Week article, Joel Stein examined the current state of the 3 Martini Lunch. We thought that this paragraph was a great opener:

"Businesspeople used to know how to waste time. Instead of updating their Facebook wall and shopping on eBay, they ordered three martinis at lunch and headed back to the office four hours later."

Even though the Mad Men days may be a thing of the past, at noon today many a man will attempt to recreate that lifestyle, if only for an afternoon. The only remaining question is: How do you take your martini? Here are our preferences:

Rene - A martini is gin served ice cold and with a healthy dose of vermouth. A 4 to 1 ratio is best. Reminds me of a story of a guy who had his martini recipe printed on the back of his business card. When he would order a martini, he would pass the bartender or waiter his business card, back side up. Some may say that is being an asshole, but I say prior preparation prevents poor performance. While I like olives, I prefer a twist of lemon and a bowl of olives to snack on. If they have Hendrick's Gin, as they should, I take it with a slice of cucumber, it is good for the eyes. A vodka martini with a "telegram from a bottle of vermouth" is just a shot of vodka. There is nothing pleasurable about that.

Peter - I have never been a vodka drinker, so I defer to gin. (Even though I usually make the official switch from gin to bourbon at the first cold snap, but then again it was 78 degrees yesterday.)  Like Rene, Hendrick's is also my #1 choice. But I prefer a little citrus in my martini, so a twist of lemon is a necessity. As for the level of vermouth, I prefer my martini as wet as a Slip 'n Slide.

What would Don Draper do?


Jeff Abbott said...

I don't like when I order a martini and the waiter says "Gin or vodka?" A martini is supposed to have gin if you don't specify vodka. Yes, I am petty. Prefer mine straight, with two olives. I prefer Tanqueray or Plymouth.

Anonymous said...

Don Draper drinks Old Fashioneds.

kf said...

My standard order is saphire martini, up. Most bartenders get it right. I prefer 4.5:.5 ratio. 1 olive.

Also, read in Kingsly Amis that a martini should be 4:1 ratio; dry martini 4:2 ratio; but extra dry is 4:0 ratio. Doesn't make sense, but I may have been drinking no. 3 when reading! Merry Christmas.

Rene said...


It is Kingsley Amis. More likely, he was drinking when he wrote it.

Frolic said...

Anonymous: I'm pretty sure Draper drinks anything in a glass. If I'm not mistake, he drank martinis at the lunch where he convinced (tricked?) Roger to hire him.

As far as martinis, I prefer 2:1 with a dash or two of orange bitters. My preferred vermouth is Dolin. I know you kids like all these new fangled gins, but I go with a classic London dry.

Peter said...


Glad to see that someone else besides me enjoys a heavy pour of vermouth in his martini.

As for these "new fangled gins," like Vietnamese food, these are all the rage with us kids under 30 living in the Bywater.

Rene said...

Speaking of martinis, is it just me or is a hot loaf of French bread and ice cold salted butter the perfect pairing?

2 martinis, 2 loaves of bread, and a half pound of butter. That is the perfect lunch.

Anonymous said...

dirty dirty martini with blue cheese stuffed olives please.

RBPoBoy said...

Yep. Hendrick's with cucumber. Paired with Christina Hendricks.

Jake said...

What Frolic said. Also, keep in mind that the name "dry Martini" does NOT refer to the proportion of vermouth in the drink. A DRY Martini is DRY gin and DRY vermouth, whereas a sweet martini is DRY gin and SWEET vermouth. And thenceforth into Martinezes, etc.

For me, 3:2 with Plymouth or 1:1 with Beefeater. Always Dolin. Always a dash or two of Regan's Orange Bitters. Stirred. Lemon twist.

@Rene: Good call on bread and butter. I'm not a big fan of cocktail-food pairings, but I spent a very lazy, enjoyable afternoon in Charleston a few years ago sipping dry Martinis in my preferred style with...chilled boiled peanuts. Heaven.

Anonymous said...

Not true, Jake.