Saturday night was a stay at home movie night…although come to think of it, we ended up watching a bunch of episodes of World War II in Color that were on the DVR. Not quite a movie, but it was video entertainment. Gwen and the girls whipped up a cheese fondue for dinner (I guess I should call it a TV dinner since we did eat in front of the TV) – it was delicious!
In keeping with our habit, we both wanted a gin based, martini style cocktail. I thumbed my way through Sally Ann Berk’s “The Martini Book” and found a cocktail called the Hoffman House Martini. In its heyday, the Hoffman House was one of New York’s premiere hotels and bars. Located on Madison Square (before there was a Madison Square Garden), it hosted an A-list clientele. It was also at the forefront of the movement that took martinis dry — removing the sweeteners out of the cocktail and using dry vermouth. Alas, this venerable piece of cocktail history is no more. The Hoffman House was torn down in 1915 to make way for an office building. Fortunately, their cocktail lives on.
Hoffman House Martini
- 4 oz gin (use a London Dry)
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- 4 dashes Angostura orange bitters
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass with ice. Stir to chill and combine. Strain into a chilled cocktail shaker and garnish with cocktail olives (in my case, three of them, sans stuffing of any kind).
I used Beefeater gin for this (although Bombay or even Plymouth would also be good choices). And it was delicious. It was like a dirty martini on steroids. The orange bitters really popped in this drink and brought out the botanicals in the Beefeater. I normally use Angostura bitters in my martinis, but I believe that I’ve been converted to using the orange bitters going forward. And trust me, changing my regular martini is a once an epoch event, so you know how much I enjoyed this drink!
I’d love to hear your take on it – give it a try and let me know how you like it!