Weekend Update 2/25/2017: We have to have standards! (aka, Martinis for Science!)

This week’s Friday round up of links was one of my biggest collections, with over 100 linked stories, and I didn’t see much in the news yesterday that struck me with that sense of “Dang! I wish I’d known that to include in this week’s list,” nor many that made me go “Oh! We have to follow up on that!” Part of the reason is that I seem to be coming down with something and had barely enough energy to get through my work day yesterday, let alone spend any break time reading news. I crashed right after logging out at work, then got up and started dinner and so on.

But I noticed that once again a couple of links that I had bookmarked to include in yesterday’s list were missed, and one of them absolutely must be shared!

ANSI STANDARD K100.1-1974: SAFETY CODE AND REQUIREMENTS FOR DRY MARTINIS. The American National Standards Institute is (to quote Wikipedia): “a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel in the United States. The organization also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards so that American products can be used worldwide.” ANSI was originally founded nearly 100 years ago when five societies of engineers and three government agencies founded the American Engineering Standards Committee. The organization went through a few name changes over the years before settling on the current name in 1969. ANSI doesn’t impose standards upon industries and so forth, but provides an accreditation of the processes that industry groups, committees, and so forth use to adopt standards. It then publishes the standards once adopted by the group.

Anyway, the amusing document I have linked is a real ANSI standard, originally published through the ANSI process in 1966, and last updated in 1974. When you read it, you can tell it was meant as a joke, but we all know how engineers and scientists can take a joke too far. I don’t know which part made me laugh hardest—probably the table entitled “Maximum Permissible Olive Displacement.” I’m very happy to note that the official ANSI standard for martini forbids vodka from the drink. They won me over right there!

The martini I made according to the ANSI standard.

The martini I made according to the ANSI standard.

For purely scientific reasons earlier this week I made a martini according to the specifications and thoroughly test it. It was delicious. The standard calls for a 16-to-1 ratio of gin to dry vermouth (variants as high as 20-to-1 are also permissible), and only one olive, the size of which depends upon the size of the serving glass and is listed in the table that made me laugh. I used my favorite gin, Bombay Sapphire.

When I usually make my own martinis at home, the ratio I use is 7-to-1 or 8-to-1. And I really love olives, so I usually put about three olives on a single toothpick to go with the drink. So this was definitely different than my usual. Very good, and I will probably start making them at a higher than 8-to-1 ratio more often in the future. It’s a little difficult to hit that ratio the way I usually make martinis, because normally I make them in a smaller coup-style cocktail glass (of which I own an antique set). The coup glass holds about a 3oz or 3½oz drink, so I would need to measure ⅛ of an ounce of vermouth to 2oz of gin (plus room for the olive); while all of my measuring devices only go down to a ¼ of an ounce. I can eyeball an eighth of an ounce, but it isn’t ideal.

For my experiment I used my more modern martini glass which can hold about a 5oz or 5½oz drink, so it was ¼oz vermouth to 4oz gin, plus the olive.

The second martini was a my usual proportions and with three olives.

The second martini was a my usual proportions and with three olives.

As I was getting to the end of the drink, I figured for science sake I needed to compare it to another version. Either my usual 8-to-1 ratio with three olives, or my favorite martini, which is to make puppy eyes at my hubby (who used to be a bartender) to make me one. His method it so put ¼oz of vermouth in the shaker with ice, swish it around, then pour the vermouth down the sink, and then pour gin over the ice (which has trace amounts of vermouth) clinging to it, shake it, and pour it into a glass. I have tried to make them exactly as he shows me, and they just taste like plain gin when I do it. When Michael does it, some how, it still has the magical hint of vermouth. Anyway, I asked my husband, and he said he was willing to make me one, but since most of the time I made my own, the most responsible scientific comparison would be to compare it to my usual recipe. So that’s what I did.

I liked it as well. I can’t really say that one was significantly better than the other, though I did like the higher ratio of gin, my main critique of the ANSI standard martini was that with only one olive there was an even tinier trace of olive brine in the mix, and I missed it. I have to confess, here, that often I like what is called a Dirty Martini, where you add between ½ to an ounce of olive brine to the recipe. A lot of martini people don’t like dirty martinis (my good friend, Jared, refers to dirty martinis as “vile” in a rather emphatic tone of voice; but then, he insists that lemon peel is the superior garnish for a gin martini, so what does he know?).

Anyway, clearly more experimentation is needed. I’ll probably be trying the higher ratios of gin with my usual number of olives. And, of course, I need to try a dirty variant. In the interest of science, I will probably even try the ANSI ratios with a lemon peel garnish. It’s all for science, right?

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About fontfolly

I've loved reading for as long as I can remember. I write fantasy, science fiction, mystery, and nonfiction. I publish an anthropomorphic sci-fi/space opera literary fanzine. I attend and work on the staff for several anthropormorphics, anime, and science fiction conventions. I live in Seattle with my wonderful husband, still completely amazed that he puts up with me at all.

5 responses to “Weekend Update 2/25/2017: We have to have standards! (aka, Martinis for Science!)”

  1. SickChristine says :

    I should have waited to read this at night because now it’s 10 am on a Sunday and I want a martini.

  2. chrishansenhome says :

    I prefer Manhattans, which is really a bourbon or rye martini, except the amount of vermouth added is pretty hefty. A Perfect Manhattan is one jigger of whiskey to 1/2 jigger each of sweet and dry vermouth. Tasty.

    There is a British Standards Institute document specifying the correct way to make a cup of tea. That one isn’t a joke.

    • fontfolly says :

      Manhattans are my other favorite drink. Though I don’t like Dry or Perfect Manhattans, much.

      I usually make classic Manhattans in the manner of my favorite bartender: 1½oz of sweet vermouth, 2oz o Bulleit Rye whiskey or Maker’s Mark bourbon, a few dashes of Fey Brothers West Indies Orange bitters, and then garnish with a Ba-da-bing cherry and either orange peel or half a slice of orange (blood orange when the store has it). My next favorite is a Black Manhattan, which I usually make with 1oz of amaro averna liqueur 2½oz of one of whisky or bourbon I have in stock, bitters (either the Fee Bros of Angastora Orange), and cherry and orange slice. I’ve also found an incredibly good variant using Crown Royal’s Regal Apple Whiskey (which is very sweet and apple-y): 1½oz of amaro averna and 2oz of the Regal Apple Whiskey, and Anagstora Orange bitters, cherry and orange again.

      The Regal Apple whiskey if too sweet when paired with sweet vermouth, but balances very nicely with the averna, which isn’t as sweet as sweet vermouth. The next time I get a bottle of the Regal Apple, I should dry making a Dry and a Perfect Manhattan with it, because it might go well with the dry vermouth.

      (I see you’re following me on twitter! Hello, glad to have you! Don’t be surprised if you see pics of manhattans from time to time on my feed.)

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  1. Friday Links (nevertheless he perjured edition) | Font Folly - March 3, 2017

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