Martini Quotes

"I'm not talking a cup of cheap gin splashed over an ice cube.

I'm talking satin, fire and ice; Fred Astaire in a glass; surgical cleanliness, insight.. comfort; redemption and absolution. I'm talking MARTINI.


Monday, March 23, 2015

The Anesthesia Martini

Anesthesia, and  Recipes


     As I look back to the start of my medical career as a fledgling resident in Anesthesia, I recall having a certain amount of trepidation.  I can distinctly remember how I was uneasy with the thought of choosing the type of anesthesia for a particular type of surgery.  Should a total knee replacement patient have a general anesthetic or a spinal anesthetic, or what about an epidural, which would also provide post operative pain control?  My anesthesia chairman and mentor, Dr. Paul Levesque said, "It is not cook book anesthesia, Dr. Curtin."  I have always remembered that statement.  I came to realize that as a consultant in anesthesia, I was expected to use my knowledge of anatomy, physiology, pathology and pharmacology to tailor an anesthetic plan for a particular patient for a particular surgery.  Patient conditions will change, surgical procedures will change, the medications will change, and the combinations seem infinite. 


      It is like that when one considers the Martini.  With the Martini, there are several ingredients to contemplate; the gin, vermouth, water, and garnish.  The water is out of our control.  That is in the hands of the distillers, but it remains important nonetheless, consider Martin Miller's Gin for example.  When creating a Martini, a balancing act is necessary to merge the flavor of the gin and it's botanicals with the vermouth and garnish.   As a youth, it seemed as if my friends and I would always be arguing about "the best."  There was always a best group, the fastest car, the best job, the coolest thing.    As I got a bit older, I began to realize that things are more about a enjoying a variety rather than an absolute best or worst.  There are shades of grey and I make no allusion to that absolutely trashy novel with no value in literature whatsoever. 

      I may not be a culinary genius, and I'm sure chef Ramsay would toss me out of Hell's Kitchen for one reason or another. That being said, I consider myself a good cook with a good sense of combining flavors.   I attribute this to my Italian heritage from the maternal side of the family.  The town in which I grew up was approximately 90% Italian.  For most of my youth, I believed everyone was in some way Italian and Roman Catholic. Life was good, simple, and safe.  Some of my earliest memories are remembrances from the kitchen- my mother's and grandmother's.  Although most of the time I was being chased around it with a wooden spoon!  

      Next time you are contemplating executing a Martini, consider it as a chef would deliberate executing a dish.  Just as you would balance sweet, sour, salt, savory, heat in your food, examine the ingredients to the Martini in a similar light.  The botanicals of gin come into play in an ever expanding assortment.  Lemon, pepper, licorice are all common accompaniments to the juniper in gin.  They tend to be softened by the vermouth.  Try playing those flavors against the garnish.  The traditional garnish chosen for the martini is an briny olive, or two or three, and the cocktail onion for a Gibson Martini, but there are others. There is the lemon twist.  Newer additions are the bleu cheese stuffed olive as well as the savory herbs lavender and thyme.  I had a bartender make me a Hendricks martini with a cucumber garnish which was absolutely divine.  I approach making a Martini, as I would any dish.  It is a fusion of flavors with an expression of love.  
As you can see, being an anesthesiologist, a chef, and a Martini mixologist are similar in a some ways.  I invite everyone to be a bit of an anesthesiologist when it comes to the Martini. Remember, gin was originally used for medicinal purposes, and in high enough doses, 

alcohol is an anesthetic!

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