I think your first martini is an experience best handled by an expert mixologist. The elegant striking form of a martini glass. The simplicity of the drink itself.
And as far as "firsts" go, mine was the Taj Majal. Funny that my first serious cocktail was a martini and my last serious drink was Cosmopolitan, the psuedo chic, pathetically pale pink and "whimpy" version of a Martini.
It was the summer of 1979 and I was traveling with my sister Alison to Bradley Beach, New Jersey. A friend of hers from work, Pauli, had financed the trip so there would be more "girls" at the summer rental beach house. (Every guy in New Jersey's name ends in "ee" it's either Pauli, Mikey, Joey, Frankie or Stevie) and they ALL live with their mothers.
My folks arranged for me to have dinner with Gil and Mary Robbins at their Greenwich Village flat. Gil and Mary were a legend in our family. My folks were God parents to their son Tim. Gil was a folk singer and composer. He left sunny California for the artistically forward New York. My Mom thought they might fix me up with their son. A gangly guitar playing geek boy,cute but:I don't know kinda skinny and he looked like a pothead. Alas (actual meaning: sux beyond belief!) I never made it to that dinner.
Blew that one didn't I?
That would have been a date with Tim Robbins, dho-pe!
My sister and I had decided to see "A Chorus Line" .We lucked out because it was actually like the one-millionth performance. A gazzilion past cast members clad in the signature sequin gold and black tight fitting leggy tux, made their way down the aisles doing the high kick all the way to the stage for the finally of "One" (singular sensation..da da da da da da da)
I think it lasted about forty-five minutes. I think? I was a "liddy" bit tipsy.
Blame it on Vince Sardi jr.. The master of the simultaneous 35-RPM rotating glass and shaker, Sardi's martini. The glass shaker, full of cracked ice and four ounces of liquid moonlight. The elegant chandelier stemmed martini glass full of rocks and vermouth.
The wrist quick rotation of both vessels, the lightning fast lashing, as he casually and simultaneous, charmed the entire bar,was a sight to behold.
"This your first trip to New York kid?" He wryly cajoled. "Yeah" I said.
"and your first martini kid?" "Yeah", I gulped. "Well this, lil' miss Sunshine, is THE Sardi's martini! My name is Vince and you, who would you be lovely blond lady?
I, in my rather suspect yet clever coolness said, "Liz".
As he splashed the vermouth and ice out of the martini glass he pulled the strainer over the shaker glass that was now dripping with condensation. Like a shimmering diamond studded chalice. The martini glass was now vermouth "scented" steamy white and frosted. The liquid from the shaker flew into the crystal-like martini glass. Not one drop missed the glass. With an elegant flick of the wrist Vince tossed the pimento centered olive into the glass and with the other hand slashed under the descending glass, a gold scalloped edged napkin. It was a first.
The last would be an unusually warm March 8,1999. Twenty something years later And the "martini" of my drinking career, the last shot, the last take, (the last shot of a film shoot being commonly referred to as the "martini") was an embarrassingly pale pink imitation of my past. Made with bad vodka in a flat bottom glass.
No stem. No frost. No romance. No topspin on the shaker.
Just liquor doing its job. Medicinal at best and honestly, I don't remember much after that.
What I do remember was the cop talking to me as I stumbled out of my car onto a curb on Chapala. I was on my way to pick up my two-year-old son from daycare. (I owe my life to that cop; truly he saved not only my life but also that of my son) If you recently saw Bill Maur's new Movie "Religulous" and you believe like him in "nothing". Than what I am about to say may make no sense. I loved the movie. But:I don't know. I just think there is something out there. "Something", bigger than my (spec on the planet) self, and that "something" took me by the scruff of the neck and said, "enough is enough sister! You are NOT getting off this easy. You have work to do. You have a son to raise. And you are not going to do it sucking on a whisky bottle!"
That was almost ten years ago. My son is now eleven going on twelve. He knows who I am and he knows who I was. I cannot help believing we all get a second chance.
So here today the Sober Spitbath begins. I am not one who believes in moral piety.
I am just a Mom who got a second chance. I hope to share some experience here.
The Sober Spitbath is simply my perception of life after alcohol...and maybe a little fun!