Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

The Perfect Martini


I am a slave to my fluids, my fluids in the morning and the evening.

Judge me not. 

In the morning, it’s a big mug of very strong Peet’s Arabian Mocha Java or Mocha Sanani, prepared in a French press. Coffee, like disco, is . . . life.

In the early evening (after 6pm) it is the fermented juice of the grape or variously flavored spirits. I’m always game for decent wine, a glass of champagne, a Manhattan, or a bit of fine Scotch whiskey. But my evening fluid of choice lo these last 35+ years is a martini. 

It started around 1983. My former in-laws were moving out of the house they’d lived in for 30 years in Santa Rosa, California, and were giving away scads of stuff. By the time my ex and I got there, there were only two objects left to be had: an old freezer in their garage and a cocktail shaker they had received as a wedding gift back in the early 1950s. Despite the fact that my ex and I lived in a tiny apartment in Berkeley, she was already shaping the word “freez . .” when I blurted out “SHAKER!” She looked at me incredulously (the look I always received when I did not agree with her or do her bidding) and asked me tartly “what are you going to do with that?” I told I’d figure it out and reminded her that we had nowhere to put a coffin-sized freezer, for heaven’s sake.

I got home and called my father, who spent 50 years as a marketing honcho in the wine and spirits business. I told him of my acquisition, and inquired as to what I should do with it. “You make mahtinis!” “Okay”, says I, “how does one make a ‘mahtini’?” “You put ice in the shaker, pour in some gin, a little vermouth, shake it up and drink it!”

From such prosaic beginnings began a lifelong pursuit.… continue reading, and see the recipe, only on Patreon!