We have a great post on Tuesday Author Chats by my friend and fellow Sisterhood of Suspense author, Joanne Guidoccio celebrating her latest release. You’ll enjoy this. (You’ll notice she and I are both fans of turquoise. ) 🙂 Don’t forget to read to the bottom for the contest.
When it comes to food and hospitality, Chef David Korba is the consummate pro. In addition to developing signature entrées and desserts, David also offers trademark martinis with such tantalizing names as Babyface, Bellini, and Long Kiss Goodbye.
Definitely an auspicious start to Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. But the VIP dinner quickly spirals out of control and the guests leave with empty stomachs. Well, almost empty stomachs…those trademark martinis provided a pleasant interlude before all the drama started in Too Many Women in the Room.
Here are ten interesting facts I uncovered during my research of this classic cocktail:
The martini was created sometime between the years 1862 and 1876. According to one account, the martini is a descendant of the Martinez, a sweeter version made with gin, sweet vermouth, and cherry juice, invented by famous bartender Jerry Thomas of the Occidental Hotel.
An early recipe for a martini appeared in The World’s Drinks and How to Mix Them (1907) written by William Boothby: “Into a mixing glass, place some cracked ice, two dashes of Orange bitters, half a jigger of dry French vermouth, and half a jigger of dry English gin. Stir well until thoroughly chilled, strain into a stem cocktail glass, squeeze a bit of lemon peel over the top and serve with an olive.”
The martini first gained popularity during the Prohibition era. Drinkable “bathtub gin” was easy to produce and made martinis more readily available. The wide mouth of the martini glass made it easy to dump the contents during a raid.
The stem on a martini glass was designed to keep the warmth of your hands from affecting the temperature of the drink.
The concept of “bruising the gin” has been debated by many martini aficionados. Is a shaken martini better than a stirred martini? Many believe that shaking breaks up the ice and adds more water, weakening the drink, while others claim the shaken martini has a more rounded taste.
Somerset Maugham declared that “martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other.”
James Bond orders his martinis “shaken, not stirred.” In Casino Royale, Ian Fleming provides the following recipe: “Three measures of gin, one measure of Vodka (Russian or Polish), and half a measure of Kina Lillet aperitif, shaken until ice-cold and with a large, thin slice of lemon peel for garnish.”
The martini dipped in popularity during the 1970s but has shown resurgence in the past fifteen years. The television series Mad Men, based in the 1950s, has contributed to the martini’s resurrection.
At the Algonquin Hotel in New York City, you can order a $10,000 martini. Instead of an olive, the garnish is a diamond.
Here are some famous martini quotes:
“Martinis are the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet.” H. L. Mencken
“A man must defend his home, his wife, his children, and his martini.” Jackie Gleason
“I never go jogging, it makes me spill my martini.” George Burns
“Happiness is…finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry.” Johnny Carson
“If it wasn’t for the olives in his martinis he’d starve to death.” Milton Berle
When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.
Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?
“I’m a nobody here,” David said, glancing down at his plate. “And with my credit rating, none of the banks would endorse a loan. I’m screwed.”
“What if I backed you?” I couldn’t believe I was speaking so casually, all the while my heart beat at an alarming rate.
David rubbed a hand over his chin and flashed a grin at me. “Gilda, darling, you’re sweet to offer, but I don’t think you know what’s involved here.”
Susan nodded in agreement.
Were they playing me, I wondered. Since winning nineteen million dollars in Lotto649, I had encountered many sharks who hoped to prey on my easy-going nature. A quick Google search would have revealed my three-year-old lottery win. Old news, but still there on the second and third pages.
“Would one hundred thousand dollars be enough?” I asked. “In case you don’t know, I won a major lottery several years ago.” Since winning, I had received many proposals from across the province and had backed three local ventures. In each case, I had chosen to remain a silent partner.
David’s right hand trembled as he poured himself another glass of wine. Susan’s mouth dropped open, and she gave a little gasp.
“I take it that’s a yes,” I said.
More mild protests followed, and another bottle of wine disappeared. We were all a bit tipsy when we shook on the agreement. And so Xenia was born.
In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.