Tuesday, April 29, 2008

French Martini - Liberated from my laptop at last

I should add, that when my girlfriend and I went to see Figaro Friday night at the Berkeley Rep we were there because of the 30 Below Night party. No they don’t super cool the theater and give everyone parkas. They sell cheap tickets to people under 30 in an attempt to get more young people in the door. A great idea, but since even at those prices twentysomethings are too hip to go see theatre, they pack the night with pre-show cocktails and a post show dance party as added incentive. Alas, by leaving at intermission I was deprived/spared the post show dance party, but I did partake in the pre-show libations.

The cocktail du jour was a French Martini. Not having any idea what’s in a French Martini, but being a Martini fan myself, I did some research before I went. First off, it's a vodka martini, which really isn't a "martini", it's a "vodka martini" so it should technically be a "French Vodka Martini", unless you give the creators license to decide that a "French Martini" is by default made with vodka. I'm not sure I do.

Secondly, it contains Chambord and pineapple juice.

Notice no vermouth. Another strike against the label "martini" given that Martinis are called "martinis" because of "Martini" brand vermouth. In point of fact, if you walk into a bar in Italy and order a "martini" you will get Martini brand vermouth, and nothing else. Meaning the vermouth is perhaps more intrinsic to the cocktail than even the gin.

Also notice, no olive. Now I’m not saying an olive would be good in a French Martini. I just mention it as further evidence that the “martini” moniker is a misnomer. After all, if you take the olives out of a Martini and substitute cocktail onions, suddenly you have a Gibson. Or really a Gin Gibson as Gibsons are, by default, made with vodka, much in the same way Martinis are, by default (in any high quality establishment), made with gin.

Finally, the French Martini was invented quite recently by the fine marketing people at Chambord.

So what should it really be called? Well, given that the signature ingredient seems to be the Chambord and given that Chambord invented it, I think it should really be called a “Chatam International Incorporated” or simply a “Chatam” for short. That makes way more sense, right?

All that said, they were yummy!


  1. I am continually annoyed by bartenders who attempt to put vodka in my glass. I prefer a sweet maritini, which is vaguely impossible to get in bars.

  2. The wonderful people at Chambord need to research the names of the drinks they create. A true French martini has been around for hundreds of years and uses Lillet. Now when people order a "french martini" a bartender or server has to question if the guest knowns whats in a true "french" martini or if they freqently dine at places like TGI Fridays or Ruby Tuesdays.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

In 1789, the governor of Australia granted land and some animals to James Ruse in an experiment to see how long it would take him to support himself. Within 15 months he had become self sufficient. The area is still known as Experiment Farm. This is my Experiment Farm to see how long it will take me to support myself by writing.