“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
My husband Mark was inspired by my pickled jalapeños …
… to create a new drink, a zesty vodka martini.
Besides being a great photographer (see that lovely picture?) , author, and teacher (see Mark Holmes Photo), Mark is a bartender by training and inclination. And, to my taste, the best martini maker in the world (although my sampling might be limited).
Whether it is his famously dangerous Chocolate Martini or the more traditional Bombay Sapphire Martini (my personal favorite), he just seems to have the touch and technique for raising spirits to Jazz Age glamour.
I volunteered to accompany him on his latest taste adventure.
Since he wanted to showcase the pickled jalapeños, he chose vodka instead of gin, avoiding any argument between the botanicals of the pickles and those of the gin.
His technique was perfect. He filled two martini glasses with ice and water. The steel shaker got just ice, 1/3 full. Then, 1 teaspoon (1/2 for each drink) of the pickling juice from the jalapeños. Next, 4 large jiggers (that is, 6 ounces for 2 drinks) of premium vodka. Then, he stirred it with a long spoon.
“Never shake a martini — it bruises it,” he said.
Discarding the ice water from the glasses, he strained the palest golden liquid into the two glasses, dropping two jalapeños rings into each.
“Cheers!” we said, with a clink, eyes locking.
The first sip was a heady taste of Russian winter, the jalapeños more a fragrance than a flavor. As we drank, it warmed, like gliding down to Mexico, awakening the jalapeños. The last sip was bold and spicy, with a touch of sweetness. The sting was in the tail.
You can drink your pickles, and eat them, too.