I threw a dinner party a few years ago that started with round after round of giant, industrial-strength martinis. The first course was gazpacho. There was no second course; I never made it back to the kitchen. My friends didn't complain that night, but I did notice that the next time they came over for dinner, they went out to eat first.
Early in my drinking career, I believed that a cocktail could never be too big or too strong. When martinis came back in vogue a decade ago, huge glasses were the norm, glasses in which a small school of sharks could cruise without ever brushing against each other. Out on the town, I annoyed bartenders by directing them merely to whisper "vermouth" over the surface of the gin. At home, I kept bottles in the freezer so the ice in the shaker wouldn't melt and dilute the drink. My martinis were as volatile and lethal as nitroglycerin.
So why is it that I now annoy bartenders by asking for "reverse martinis," made up of one part gin and three parts vermouth? And why do I prowl flea markets and antique stores for glasses that hold an olive snugly?