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April 14, 2010

Is a 10-ounce martini too big?

martiniWhen I was young(er), I used to think that bigger was better.

A 10-ounce martini? Bring it on! A giant, bulbous glass of wine? Gulp, gulp, gone. A trash can full of jungle juice? Sluuuuuurp.

As I've grown, and ever so slightly matured, I've started to frown on such humongous drink portions. Is an eight-ounce pour of red wine really necessary? Or a 10-ounce martini?

Glasses have grown in size, gang. So has the amount of alcohol needed to fill them. The 10-ounce martini, which I've seen (and occaisionally drank) is popping up more and more around town.

The average shot glass holds about an ounce and a half. That's about six shots of vodka in one martini. Whoa ...

In and of itself, gluttony isn't all that dangerous. But it can get deadly if you hop in your car after having two of those suckers. I can see someone justifying it in their mind -- "I only had two martinis in two hours." But if those two martinis were 10-ouncers, you've got a problem.

Let's get back to less serious affairs. Should martinis really be that big? Whatever happened to the six-ounce martini?

Maybe the answer is giving customers an option. Sam's Kid in Fells Point serves six- and 10-ounce martinis, though, annoyingly, neither their drink or food menus are online. Still, choices are good.

What do you think?

(LA Times photo by Con Keyes)


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Posted by Sam Sessa at 7:57 AM | | Comments (41)
Categories: Bars & Clubs
        

Comments

You have to ask if there really is a Martini's worth of alcohol in the drink. Houlihan's on Pier 5 has pitchers (1 Liter) of Long Island Iced Teas, half price (~$4) during happy hour. My Public Health student roommate was APPALLED. Everyone around us was sucking them down with straws. We asked the bartender and she said there's really only about 2-3 shots of alcohol in each, so its not really a LIIT or a bargain at all.

Sam,

I think you meant to say "That's about six shots of lovely, wonderful gin in one martini...", since martinis should only be made with gin and not vodka.

If you want vodka, then it should be called a "'tini" or "spiked flavorless water in a fancy glass" or "vodka martini".

I loathe bartenders that assume I mean vodka when I ask for a martini.

With that said, I have no problem with a 10oz martini... it just means I don't have to order as many.

awww c'mon man. what happened to you? you used to be cool.....

My issue is when I get a martini/fruity vodka-concoction-disguising-as-a-martini and it's filled all the way to the brim and spills over the edge every time I try to take a sip. Love the extra booze, hate that it's a total mess to drink. I'm clumsy enough as it is!

Maybe you're right, Squeaky -- I mean, Allan. Maybe I shouldn't have written this post the morning after consuming six (or was it nine) of those 10-ounce martinis. Haha just kidding ... maybe.

I just talked to a colleague of mine, who said if you ever go to an antique store and find some vintage bar ware, you'd be shocked at how small everything is. A manhattan glass looks like a miniature bird bath, he told me. I believe it.

As the size of glasses grow, so do the spots on my liver.

yeah, i went out for "1 or 2" that turned into 9 + shots.

I recently went to the doctor for a checkup and they asked me to fill out a questionnaire. One of the questions was something like "Do you ever have more than three alcoholic drinks in a night?" I was like ... ummm ... who me? Never. It also asked me how many drinks I had in the average month. I'm not good at math to begin with, but that one really stumped me.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, but you're saying that it would be OK to have one 10 oz. martini, six shots of vodka, and still drive safely?

Only on Tuesdays.

hee hee

6 shots? Only if you get your martini neat. Ice dilutes it a lot. And those three ginormous olives displace a fair amount of liquid.

Ever see the drunk driving PSA where the cop opens the guy's door and it's filled with presumably a 1000 ounce martini? One problem: the olives float.

Bryan - You have to understand that bartenders these days assume a customer who orders a martini is expecting vodka because that is what most people today think a martini is supposed to be made with. The times they are a changing!

@Dave the Wave -- All these changin' times make my head spin. I wanna go back to the olden dayz, when shampoo bottles were made of glass.

Ordering a gin martini is like ordering a red zinfandel. I willn't do it! Nay.

I've never had a vodka martini; wonder what it tastes like.

I like martinis because I like the taste of gin. And olives. Olives and gin together help meet the recommended daily allowance of five servings of fruits & vegetables.

What year did vodka become the default spirit for a martini?

@Laura Lee -- 1968, the year the Beatles went from "I Want To Hold Your Hand" to "Why Don't We Do It In The Road?"

I curse that year every night. Then I take a bath with my glass shampoo bottles and sip a delicious Gin Fizz.

Thanks, whipper snapper. Now it's time to sit out on the verandah with my Gin Rickey.

You yunguns and yer fancy cocktails. I'll just set a spell on my davenport and sip a sassparilla and laudanum

The Baltimore Chop is FIRMLY against oversized cocktails. They're strictly the province of DB's with 60 mm gold watches and Ford Excursions.

It's something people who go to Milan are into.

By the same token, I hate getting a friendly double-poured highball. I'd rather just have a second drink on the house.

Ordering a gin martini is like ordering a beef cheeseburger.

I drink because I like the taste of a cocktail, not because i want to get pished out of my head, so I seriously dislike getting the big 'Crate and Barrel' jugs they pass as a Martini glass in a lot of venues these days. I drink my drinks neat, which means half way down my supersized cocktail it's too warm to enjoy. Also, measurements in the vast majority of bartender books are for traditional, smaller, glasses, which means too often my drink is too sweet, too sour, too whatever, as the bartender does not know or bother to recalculate the ingredients. Please, let’s leave the supersizing to McDonalds and out of my bar.

"You have to understand that bartenders these days assume a customer who orders a martini is expecting vodka because that is what most people today think a martini is supposed to be made with."

-------

The only problem is that most people are idiots... which is probably why (other than at Bad Decisions) you can't find a bartender who makes a Manhattan with rye instead of bourbon anymore.

Few bars carry rye. And vodka replaced gin as the default spirit in a martini, get over it. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS

You're right, new transported man. I momentarily forgot our mission statement here at the Midnight Sun think tank, which mandates that we conduct research and engage in advocacy to correct the international trade imbalance, eliminate exploitation of indigenous labor forces, and serve as one of the main policy actors assuring environmental reform in an age of globalization.

Thanks, Dave F. You, sir, are obviously NOT an idiot.

Weeeeee..... zooooom....... martinis.

I don't care about the size as long as you serve them in a rainbow of colors while sitting on a unicorn.

http://www.swankmartini.com/satin_breeze.php

Well said Laura Lee

Hey, good to see you here, LEC

"Few bars carry rye. And vodka replaced gin as the default spirit in a martini, get over it. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS"

----------

I don't have a problem with change; if people want a glass of vodka with a dash of dry vermouth and an olive, that's fine... but why do you have to call it the same thing as something that already exists? The problem with the "common usage" argument is that it's an argument from ignorance. By that logic, the words "irony" and "acronym" have changed completely from their original meaning. If somebody misuses one of those words (which happens every day), is that a sign of forward thinking? I don't think so.

you forgot AIDS

re: "common usage" argument

It's a pickle. Off the top of my head, I could argue that the difference resides in how the shifts came about. I suppose that over time, martinis defaulted to vodka via popular taste, not out of ignorance. But the misuse of "irony" or the synechdochial appropriation of words like "Kleenex" are a function of ignorance, nay, idiocy.

"Few bars carry rye. And vodka replaced gin as the default spirit in a martini, get over it. FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS"

----------

I don't have a problem with change; if people want a glass of vodka with a dash of dry vermouth and an olive, that's fine... but why do you have to call it the same thing as something that already exists? The problem with the "common usage" argument is that it's an argument from ignorance. By that logic, the words "irony" and "acronym" have changed completely from their original meaning. If somebody misuses one of those words (which happens every day), is that a sign of forward thinking? I don't think so.

Vodka or gin, (or both), as long as it's clear and has olives or onions and dry vermouth it's a martini in my book. The word Martini actually refers to the Martini Rosso dry vermouth more than the liquor.

After all, James bond drank vodka martinis.

Now when it starts getting fruit and purty colors then it's no longer a martini, it's a mixed drink.

I knew that'd get 'em riled up :)

I try not to order martinis at locations where I feel the bartender is clueless (re: "GIMME GIN!"). Obviously, Im not always successful.

If the times are-a changin', I suppose from here on out I will have to restrict my drinking establishments to where the bartender can tell me first hand about the national craze when the foxtrot erupted on the scene.

Okay, bgal, here we go...

From the first James Bond novel Casino (1953):

'A dry martini,' he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'

'Oui, monsieur.'

'Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's [an English gin], one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. [this is NOT vermouth!] Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel. Got it?'

===========================

So, no, James Bond didn't drink vodka martinis, not really. 3 pts gin + 1 pt vodka = gin

Here's the twist. Smirnoff paid to have the Bond martini changed to a crap vodka martini, an early case of product placement and a terrible one because it changes the story a little.

Maybe the Bond movies eventually had the effect of making the vodka martini acceptable.

IMHO a martini should NEVER be shaken.

And now it's martini time. It's been a damned good day.

"Big doesn't necessarily mean better. Sunflowers aren't better than violets."

-Edna Ferber

Where can I get a decent Zima martini?

@BankStreet -- I'm sure that was very reassuring for Edna's husband.

@RayRay -- Zima Zima! Who got the keys to ma beema?

Sunflowers aren't better than violets."

Not true. Sunflowers are the best.

"Being an old maid is a great deal like death by drowning -- a really delightful sensation when you ceased struggling."

-Edna Ferber

"The problem with some people is that when they aren't drunk, they're sober."

William Butler Yeats

Sam, how about a topic on great drinking quotes?

There's a time and place for vodka, and the time is before 3pm and the place is in a Bloody Mary.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at erik.maza@baltsun.com. Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.
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