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.


Thursday, October 13, 2016

Hurricanes, Cholera, and Martinis


      The 2016 Atlantic hurricane season is off to an ominous start as Matthew hurtled through the Caribbean portending a ruinous spell.  These potent storms brew off the west coast of Africa, wind their way into the Caribbean, and oftentimes meander up the east coast of the United states inducing fear and panic.  By the time the storms extend up to New England, much of their momentum has abated and fortunately for us, it is a rare thing indeed for a major hurricane to significantly impact us.  Matthew was the latest and most powerful of these swirling bundles of nature's fury to cut a swath of destruction along it's path.  The immediate affects are evident as the media inundate us with live video of the damage and destruction inflicted through a combination of lashing winds, pounding waves, raging storm surges, and torrential rainfall, but a hurricane's effects can be longer lasting.  After the initial drama of wind and waves plays out in our 24/7 culture and there are no more news clips to be had of capsized boats and battered homes, the real effects of the devastation sink in as communities struggle to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and possessions. Frequently, in less industrialized areas without back up systems in place for electricity, heat, and clean water and sanitation, pestilence in fact, may be a more significant part of the morbidity and mortality as outbreaks and epidemics tend to occur in the sometimes squalid living conditions.  And so, in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, a report of a potential cholera outbreak in Haiti has surfaced, like a fog creeping forth out of the tropical verdant swamps.


      Upon hearing the news of cholera in Haiti, I could not help but think of the miasma of the great swamp described in Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. "At nightfall, at the oppressive moment of transition, a storm of carnivorous mosquitoes rose out of the swamps, and a tender breath of miasma, warm and sad, stirred the certainty of death in the depths of one’s soul." The title of this novel says it all.  It is a quintessential representation of the conflict in the novel as Dr. Juvenal Urbino is systematically trying to rid the land of the cholera plague arising from the miasma of the swamps, just as his marriage is trying to rid his wife, Fermina Daza and her long time suitor, Florentino Ariza of their romantic love. The book also plays on the term cholera, which the adjectival form in Spanish, c√≥lera, can also denote passion or human rage. While some see this as just a story of undying romantic love surviving and triumphing over realism, that is a rather sophomoric interpretation of the novel, which is probably how it made Oprah Winfrey's book list. Marquez himself warned the reader- don't fall into my trap.  Marquez forces the reader to compare and contrast the varied forms "love" may assume.  The romantic, but also obsessive, love that Florentino professes toward Fermina is compared to physical illness--perhaps not so innocent and healthy after all.  It is not quite so black and white, and it should really be left up to the reader to ponder- perchance over a Martini.

Nantucket Gales

     Off the south coast of Massachusetts lies the Island of Nantucket made famous by the whaling industry and immortalized in Herman Melville's classic, Moby Dick.  It is here that Triple Eight Distillery is brewing up their own storm of sorts. Gale Force Gin is produced here and it is a spirit that is most aptly named, for it is a firm brew that stands up, like the two red flags on the bottle as a sign of warning for gale force winds (or maybe for the alcohol content of 88.8 proof).  The style is more in the classic London Dry fashion, but slightly less juniper forward. Triple Eight Distillery uses a total of nine botanicals in the production of Gale Force Gin, however only four are listed-  along with Juniper are Angelica, Orris root, and Grains of Paradise.  There is a clear citrus component, the origin of which is not specified.  Tasting notes- a softened Juniper up front, a distinct citrus follows  and a smooth peppery finish.  It is a standout for the classic Martini and also is unabashed in a Negroni.

When Mother Nature exhibits her choleric behavior
Pour yourself a Gale Force Martini

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