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Fate of the American Martini?


John Gertsen, bar manager at Drink in Boston, insisted that if I was serious about becoming a cocktail connoisseur, then I absolutely had to learn to make a proper martini—proper meaning the late-19th-century martini, as opposed to the 20th-century version. I’d nearly mastered mixing a pretty damn good martini using Noilly Prat vermouth. But it looks like I’ll have to remaster the drink, since Noilly Prat is reverting to its original, European recipe. The new Noilly Prat formula was brought to my attention in a piece by Eric Felten in the Wall Street Journal, which ponders the fate of the American martini in the face of this sweeter, cloudier vermouth. Felten’s take: “World-weary sophisticates for whom the martini is a violet-hour balm will want to look elsewhere for the cocktail component, perhaps trying the dry French vermouths from Boissiere or Dolin.” Looks like I’ll need to restock my bar.

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