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, August 28, 2017

The Martini and World Dominence


      If ever there existed a cocktail that could dominate the world, then that cocktail could only be the Martini. That statement may seem a bit outlandish, but like most things in life, there is always a little bit of truth mixed in with even the most untruthful of things.  I have always considered the Martini to be somewhat of a game changer, but until recently I was unaware of the connection between the Martini and the Atomic age. The Martini has been identified with numerous world figures, politicians, actors, authors and the like, but I had never really associated my favorite drink with the scientific community.   But, it seems J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Father of the Atomic Age whose unwavering leadership led the Manhattan Project, had an affinity for the Martini just as those Uranium atoms had an affinity for holding together.  His steadfast determination turned Einstein's theoretical equation, E=MC2 into a brutal reality.  His statement below sums up the feelings of those in the bunker after the first atomic detonation.

-We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, "Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds." I suppose we all thought that one way or another.
                                           -J Robert Oppenheimer

It has been said that he lived on Martinis and cigarettes as the toll of the project bore down upon his soul.  The Father of the Atomic Age crafted his Martini with Gin(of course), a splash of vermouth, lime, and a touch of honey.  And so it was the iconic Martini that helped fuel the genius of Oppenheimer, propelling the US and the world into the Atomic age and changing the face of the world political hierarchy.  No other cocktail can claim such a distinction.


      Kurt Vonnegut was a humanist, non religious in the traditional sense, and decidedly anti-war.  While serving during World War II, he was captured and detained as a prisoner of war.  He was held in an abattoir in Dresden, Germany and that experience provided the background and inspiration for his seminal novel, Slaughterhouse Five.  As much as I thoroughly enjoyed the travels of Billy Pilgrim through both time and space in that novel, the story line of Cat's Cradle is a bit more apropos to this blog.  The novel is the story of the narrator who is attempting to catalog the experiences of the person, and the people around him, who created the atomic bomb and what they were doing on the day of the bombing of Hiroshima.  The scientist in question was trying to play the children's string game of cat's cradle with his son, and thus the title for the novel.

-No wonder kids grow up crazy. A cat's cradle is nothing but a bunch of X's between somebody's hands, and little kids look and look and look at all those X's….[And] No damn cat, and no damn cradle.

Vonnegut uses this simple children's game to symbolize the dichotomy of truth and lies and how one's perspective is all that separates one from the other, whether it be the differing perspectives of father and son, or the larger views of a government and its people.  So too does the harnessing of the atom's power open the door to the possibility of a nearly limitless power supply or conversely, the proverbial Pandora's box to the world's destruction.  In a lot of ways, cat's cradle is a bit like life.  The more you play the game, I find that you either repeat the same patterns or get hopelessly muddled in a string of deceptions.  

The Atomic

            In addition to this potential for limitless power or destruction, the Atomic Age was also responsible for the creation of two cocktails, the Oppenheimer Martini and the Atomic Cocktail.  A creation of the Washington Press Club, the Atomic Cocktail was crafted in celebration of the dropping of the bomb on Hiroshima.  The ingredients included Gin, Pernod, and vermouth and was offed up at the club for a mere 60 cents.  Those were the days!  The USA just exerted itself as a world superpower and a sense of optimism pervaded the country.  The person responsible for this had spent at least some of his time working with the scant supplies in the desert lab at Los Alamos to craft his Martini with Gin(of course), a splash of vermouth, lime, and a touch of honey.  Here's the recipe:

The Oppenheimer Martini

4 oz. Gin                                                  Stir the Gin and vermouth with ice until chilled.
Smidgen of Dry Vermouth                       Strain into a chilled Martini glass whose rim has
Lime Juice                                               been dipped in equal parts lime and honey.             Honey

Offer a toast as Oppenheimer did-
"To the confusion of our enemies!"

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