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"To provoke, or sustain,
a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English gin, especially in the form of a martini. To
be frank, given the primordial role played in my life by the dry martini, I really think I
ought to give it at least a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of
gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs
who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine
through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in
America it was said that the making of a dry martini should resemble the Immaculate
Conception, for, as Saint Thomas Aquinas once noted, the generative powers of the Holy
Ghost pierced the virgins hymen 'like a ray of sunlight through a window
leaving it unbroken.'
"Another crucial recommendation is that the ice be so cold and hard that it
wont melt, since nothings worse than a watery martini. For those who are still
with me, let me give you my personal recipe, the fruit of long experimentation and
guaranteed to produce perfect results. The day before your guests arrive, put all the
ingredients glasses, gin, and shaker in the refrigerator. Use a thermometer
to make sure the ice is about twenty degrees below zero (centigrade). Dont take
anything out until your friends arrive; then pour a few drops of Noilly Prat and half a
demitasse spoon of Angostura bitters over the ice. Shake it, then pour it out, leaving
only the ice, which retains a faint taste of both. Then pour straight gin over the ice,
shake it again, and serve.
"(During the 1940s, the director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York taught me
a curious variation. Instead of Angostura, he used a dash of Pernod. Frankly, it seemed
heretical to me, but apparently it was only a fad.)"
-- Luis Bu˝uel My Last Sigh
Translation ę 1983 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
The Bu˝uel martini
Luis Bu˝uel, the late Spanish surrealist director, made many
of my favorite movies: Un Chien Andalou, L'Age D'or, Los Olvidados, The Exterminating
Angel, Simon of the Desert, The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, Nazarin, The
Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, That Obscure Object of Desire, and so on.
He also made my favorite martini.
The Bu˝uel martini in 7 easy steps:
1. Chill glasses, gin, and shaker the day before.
2. Make sure ice is cold (at least minus-20 degrees
3. Fill shaker with ice and pour in a few drops of Noilly
Prat vermouth and half a demitasse spoon of Angustora Bitters.
4. Shake and drain, so that the only vermouth and bitters
remaining is what coats the inside of the shaker and the ice.
5. Add gin. Any English gin will do, but I
recommend Bombay or Tanqueray, depending on your taste.
6. Shake and pour into glass. Don't forget the
7. Sip carefully. Bu˝uel martinis have been known
to cause hallucinations and fits of manic well-being.
NOTES: A true Bu˝uel martini must have an olive.
(He's Spanish, after all.) If you add a cocktail onion, then I guess it's a Bu˝uel
Gibson. A twist of lemon makes it... well, it's still a martini, just not a
Bu˝uel. And always remember: There is no such thing as a "vodka
martini." Substituting vodka for gin makes your drink a
"Vodkatini." It is not a martini, any more than vodka and sweet vermouth can be
called a Manhattan.
your own copy of this hilarious Bu˝uel masterpiece
|The Discreet Charm
of the Bu˝uel Martini
tickled that he was able to sneak at least a part of his martini recipe into his 1972
masterpiece, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise (which actually won an Academy
Award for best foreign language film -- about as "mainstream" a recognition as
Bu˝uel ever received). It's a film about... well, about a group of rich people who
keep trying to assemble in various places for a meal, but never seem to get to eat.
(Kind of an inverse Exterminating Angel, where nobody can leave the room after
dinner.) Here are some excerpts from the martini scene in Discreet
For a vivid, even
shocking, illustration of what can happen when Bu˝uel martinis are enjoyed wantonly or
promiscuously (alone or with other beverages), click here -- if you dare!