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Wednesday, December 22, 2021

* DRINK BOOK OF THE MONTH! * The Martini, by Matt Hranek (Artisan)

THE MARTINI; perfection in a glass (Artisan, 2021, 150 pages, $22.65 hardbound) is by Matt Hranek, who also wrote the definitive THE NEGRONI. It's a great basic guide, covering gin, vermouth, bitters, garnish – and even vodka (if need be). All the gin preps here can easily become vodka preps. It all depends on how much juniper-forward tastes you would enjoy. There's a cultural history of the drink, barware and glassware, various techniques (stirred, shaken, et al), and a whole pile of over 30 illustrated variations to try out. The martini is the consummate cocktail:  writers, actors, politicians. You could start with the Martinez from 1849, but it's a lot sweeter since it uses sweet vermouth. It's more like a gin Manhattan without the bourbon. The concluding section has a listing of appropriate snacks, an espresso martini, and a listing of global places to savour this drink.  Quality/Price Rating: 93.

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