Thursday, June 7, 2012

DIY Tanqueray 10 button for World Gin Day

Equipment needed
1 bottle of pre-mixed Tanqueray 10 and Lillet Blanc martinis, stored in the freezer for around two months (see below for recipe)
1 unwanted one-inch badge
1 tube of Tarzan’s Grip or any other plastics glue
Newspaper to cover the dinner table

1. After two months or so in the freezer, the plastic inset in your bottle should magically pop out. If this is too long to wait, one can always use brute force to pry the inset off the bottle.
2. Clean the front of your one inch badge and the back of the Tanqueray inset. It’s important for the glue to have a clean, dry surface area to bond over.
3. Squeeze a little dab of glue on your badge and another on the back of the inset. Press together and hold for about five minutes. Feel free to tidy up any excess glue from the join area.
4. Wear with pride on Saturday June 9, 2012, the fourth annual World Gin Day.

Pre-mixed Tanqueray 10 martinis
Keeping pre-mixed martinis in the freezer is a VIP trick taught to me by a fellow pen-for-hire. Not that making a martini is hard – it’s just that this is a frugal way of using leftover vermouth before it goes off (hint: unless you’re a bar or drinker that ploughs through heaps of the stuff, once opened, store your Punt e Mes, Martini & Rosso, Noilly Prat et al in the fridge to keep the inevitable oxidisation at bay. If you get the chance, try comparing a sip of months-old, cupboard-stored vermouth with vermouth from a freshly-opened bottle. The difference is staggering.)

Essentially, this “recipe” boils down to removing x amount of gin from a full bottle of Tanqueray 101 and replacing it with vermouth. Seeing as my martini ratio is 8 parts gin to one of Lillet Blanc, I removed 125ml of gin from my one litre bottle of Tanqueray 10 (the price difference between Tanqueray 10 retail and Tanqueray 10 duty free makes a survey of Tanq 10 stocks mandatory whenever plotting duty-free buying) and replaced it with the same amount of Lillet Blanc. Then screw the lid on tightly and gently shake to combine. Stick in freezer to chill and you’re pretty much good to go.

One important thing to note before you start knocking back pre-mixed martinis like it’s a long weekend Sunday: like most cocktails, dilution is critically important in a martini, perhaps even more so if you’re making martinis with a higher proof gin like Tanqueray 10. Perhaps you’ve heard booze nerds banging on about the quality of ice used in drinks, specifically, cold hard ice made with filtered water. This is why. Straight out of the freezer, your martini is, essentially, uncut. Imagine being served gin and vermouth which hadn’t been stirred down with ice. If you can't be bothered imagining, take a gulp. For most people, introducing (filtered) water is essential in making a martini palatable. Conventional wisdom suggests water should comprise about a quarter of your martini so take that as your baseline and work from there. Feel free to add bitters and your favourite garnish (grapefruit twist!) too, but the most important phase here is undoubtedly adding the water. Happy World Gin Day, ya’ll.

1 While it isn’t necessary to mix a full bottle of martini, I find starting with a pre-defined quantity – be it 500ml, 700ml, 750ml, a litre, whatever – helps with calculating vermouth ratios.