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ritaweeda

Question about the Olive in the Martini...

ritaweeda
3 years ago

Ok - I'm 66 and just discovered gin martinis. I'm a late bloomer, what can I say?? About 25 years ago I tried gin and said "oh yuck!" Same with scotch. I just recently tried gin a gin and tonic and liked it and then I tried a gin martini and surprisingly liked it. So I have always liked olives but my question is - why does the olive taste so much better after it's been soaking in a gin martini? Is it because I'm shnockered already and just imagining it or is there some scientific reason for this??? - Please no preaching, I'm freakin' 66 years old, for crying out loud!!!

Comments (170)

  • maifleur01
    3 years ago

    I have one of those large bottles of scotch on the one shelf the restoration people left along with an assortment of other stuff mostly wines that I know are way past their prime. I think it was purchased in 2002 for my husband's 60th birthday. It is I think Cutty Shark which was what one of the guests drank. I think it may be 3/4 full. I have been told it should be drinkable which is why the crew left it. It was not a brand that I liked because I thought it was too harsh. Think it may have mellowed by now????

  • bbstx
    3 years ago

    I’ve certainly drunk my share of Dewars. I think it is often the “well” scotch at many bars. I keep Famous Grouse and Dalwhinney in my liquor cabinet. Famous Grouse is about the same price as Dewars. We buy it because the hero in some book my husband was reading drank it. Dalwhinney is a single malt scotch. Last year for Christmas, I bought my BIL a bottle of Balvenie Caribbean Cask Single Malt Scotch. It is very interesting. It is aged in oak barrels for 14 years, then the aging is finished in rum casks. YUM!


    ritaweeda, you and I probably fall in the same place on the Smoky Martini. I thought it was interesting and it is certainly something to keep in mind when you are out of vermouth but want a martini.

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  • OutsidePlaying
    3 years ago

    Bbstx, I read those novels too and the author’s name escapes me at the moment. I still have never tried Famous Grouse but I do like some good single malt scotch now and then. One of my favorites is Glenmorangie.

    Dh likes bourbon and at one time was a Wild Turkey fan until he discovered Blantons, EH Taylor, and some of the higher priced bourbons. We took a few days to visit distilleries on the Bourbon Trail this spring and I discovered several others I liked quite a lot. And I’m not really a bourbon fan, but wow! Mostly longer aged versions of the typical Maker’s Mark and Woodford Reserve besides the others I just mentioned.

    Another good Gin I like in G&T’s is Hendricks.

  • jerzeegirl (FL zone 9B)
    3 years ago

    My favorite gin is New Amsterdam. It tastes like flowers.

  • bbstx
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    OutsidePlaying, is the protagonist Dirk Pitt, from the mind of Clive Cussler? I tried googling to see what he drank but I never found out. I like some single malt scotches and some I cannot stand. I tried Laphroaig once. Blehhhh! From the Laphroaig website: Laphroaig – pronounced La-froyg – is one of the most divisive Scotch whiskies, loved by those who enjoy its medicinal, smoky flavour and looked on in amazement by those who don't. I’ll say!

    I am so jealous! I want to do the Bourbon Trail! I like Blantons, Jefferson, and Woodford Reserve. I have those in the house, but tucked away. I only share them with DSIL. After all, he’ll be picking out my nursing home!

    I do not care for Hendrick’s, although there is a bottle of it in my liquor cabinet.

    jerseegirl, I‘ve never tried New Amsterdam, but I‘ve seen it recommended for stocking your home bar.

  • OutsidePlaying
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    No, it wasn’t Dirk Pitt I was recalling. It was a another war hero. The series was centered around a kid who became a military hero and moved through the ranks fairly quickly. There was a general who drank Famous Grouse. The story centered around Ft Rucker AL in some chapters and the development of military helicopters and their eventual use in the Army, we passed all the paperbacks around at work a long time ago. As I am thinking, they were titled, The Lieutenants, The Captains, The Majors, and on through the ranks. Then the author started writing another series. I’ll look and see if I can find one of those.

    edited to add: W.E.B. Griffin is the author. After I remembered the titles, I looked it up. He was a former military man and it showed in his writing. The series was called Brotherhood of War. He wrote several other series as well, most of which I read.

  • bbstx
    3 years ago

    OP, DH is a *big* W.E.B. Griffin fan, so that must be where it came from! Glad you were able to figure it out.

  • ritaweeda
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    OK - I know this thread has been milked to death but I have to one more thing. I just had a martini and asked DH to taste an olive that had been soaking in it for about 20 minutes. I asked him if it tasted wonderful or could he tell anything different. He said he didn't taste anything different at all - so I'm afraid that maybe it's the buzz that's doing it. Bummer. BTW he refuses to drink martinis- maybe a smart move.

  • maifleur01
    3 years ago

    ritaw it may be what you are tasting if you are using an pitted olive is the combination of juices that are from the inside of the olive. The olive itself may not be any different but those juices are. Just ignore him and consider your self as having different tastebuds.

  • bbstx
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    ritaweeda, Oh, you’ve done it now. I’m going to go soak an olive in some gin. I don’t feel like having a martini, but I am curious about the taste of the olives.

    Several years ago, I bought some olives stuffed with lemon peel. They were great for martinis!

  • ritaweeda
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    By all means let us know what you decide. I have a feeling it's the buzz that's doing it.

  • chase_gw
    3 years ago

    Now you gone and done it........just made myself an extra dry vodka martini, on the rocks, with three olives...I won't eat. Thankfully it just turned five and I won't feel like too much of a lush!!!

  • ritaweeda
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    But I want you to eat the olives - I'm trying to figure out why the olive is so sublime. Please eat them. And report back.

    Also, I made this last martini extra dry without the sweet vermouth, I like it. Give me a break - I'm a martini newbie here. I still think it's the buzz. Just like way back when and I was smoking pot and certain food was just so awesome.

  • marylmi
    3 years ago

    I went out with friends this weekend and I tried a gin & tonic. I was surprised ( sort of) that it tasted much better than the one I had at home with my cheap gin! I asked what brand of gin and they said Tanqueray. I don't know what the price is but I'll check it out. Next I'll try a gin martini! :)

  • Elmer J Fudd
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    The flavor variables are the gin (life is too short to drink cheap anything, whether spirits, beer or wine), the tonic (I prefer Schweppes for its reliable mid-range flavor but there are others), what citrus and how much is put in (lemon, lime, both, neither) and the proportions.

    Tanqueray is very good. I used to prefer it before switching to Bombay Sapphire. I still like it, also a good mid-level choice. .

  • foodonastump
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Definitely “no” to cheap gin, unlike vodka whose subtleties can get lost in a mixed drink, gin stands out. My preference for everyday was Beefeater. Less Christmas Tree than many others. But if it’s not for you and your preference, Tanqueray is what I’d keep in stock. Hendricks was nice on occasion, but too pricey to waste on someone who‘s going to mix it with tonic.

    Scotch, if you want a single malt available for a hypothetical guest, I’d go with Glenlivet. Good price point. A snob won’t love it but they’ll be happy you have something better than a mediocre blended.

    Haven‘t had a drink in about 4.5 years I think, self-imposed extended Lent-wagon, don‘t think about it much but admit this thread has me waking up jonesing for a dry gibson for breakfast. Maybe when I’m 66!

  • patriciae_gw
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Every good Gin has its own flavor profile. Good gin is going to be more expensive. I enjoy craft gins. I once got to try a brand new offering form It's five O'clock somewhere A distillery here in Washington. It was sort of illegal because it hadn't been fully OK'd by the state yet but I was persuasive as a Gin aficionado. It was almost liqueur like it had so much flavor. Sipping Gin. It's good in a mixed drink too. You can buy it in the stores here now. Good stuff but expensive. I suspect that if I soaked an olive in that even I would like olives.

    Oh to answer the buzz question, eat the olive first. If its sublime its the gin.

  • bbstx
    3 years ago

    I loved listening to this podcast about vodka. Here is the teaser: A bottle of fancy vodka, like Grey Goose, costs about $35. A bottle of the cheap stuff can be under $10. That's a wide range, but, by definition, vodka is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. So, could there really be a difference between vodkas? Or is the difference all in the marketing?https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2018/02/23/588346329/episode-826-the-vodka-proof


  • foodonastump
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    “By definition, vodka is colorless, odorless, and tasteless”

    I’d question that definition. Maybe that’s what they strive for but I’ve never tasted a tasteless vodka. That said, I agree about marketing. Take absolut for example, for me it’s about the worst of the worst but darned if college kids wouldn’t scream for it back in the day. Great marketing. I find some “higher end” vodkas as bad as some cheap ones. Svedka (cheap) was about the only one I could enjoy straight from the bottle. :)

  • maifleur01
    3 years ago

    I remember being snowbound at a neighbors for a couple of days who were vodka alcoholics. I still remember the smell of the vodka. There is also a flavor to it. I am writing about the plain not the flavored vodkas that are now found.

  • plllog
    3 years ago

    Odorless cheap vodka is used to freshen ballet costumes between shows (they do get properly cleaned but need more help than a practical cleaning schedule can do). Spray on the stinky bits and let evaporate.

    Cheap gin is known (at least in the past) as "blue ruin".



  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 years ago

    Isn't that "taste" vodka has the alcohol?

  • foodonastump
    3 years ago

    Google “why do vodkas taste different” and take your pick. This seemed like a reasonable article:

    https://www.thespruceeats.com/vodka-101-760707



  • bbstx
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    When my nephew was in college, he used his Brita pitcher to filter cheap vodka instead of water like his momma bought it for. I think his plan was to run the vodka through the filter 3 times before drinking it. I don’t believe he noticed a difference, but I doubt that he was tasting for smoothness!

    FOAS, what is The Spruce Eats? I’ve found myself going there on more than one occasion for recipes and information. It is new to me, but seems to be reliable.

  • foodonastump
    3 years ago

    Good question, bbstx. I found myself going to the “about” section of their site shortly after I posted. Didn’t read long enough to get the answer but I was wondering for the same reason as you were: comes up in a lot of searches, seems reliable, no idea who they are.

    LOL about the Brita!

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    3 years ago

    The Spruce is a reincarnation of About.com. Been around for a long time as a generalized digital pubication. Somewhat similar to Houzz/GW but contracts with "experts" to write the articles rather than offering discussions or soliciting contributions from readers.

    Just how "expert" the experts may be is up for some discussion. Much of the gardening stuff is bunk!

  • ritaweeda
    Original Author
    3 years ago

    I've run across that site often, too and never took the time to investigate it. Another one I've run into often is Alibaba which looks like a gigantic import site. But getting back to martinis, I had never thought that vodka had any taste except for raw alcohol myself even though it was my most frequent liquor source other than tequila. However I was gifted with a bottle of Grey Goose a few years ago and although I don't see any taste difference I do think it's a smoother vodka. I don't seem to have a lot of discrimination in the taste-bud category when it comes to alcohol, though. Except that at least now I can't stand real sweet wine or beer with a strong hops after-taste.

  • bbstx
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Thanks, gardengal48, for that info. Mostly, I’ve found fairly good recipes on The Spruce Eats. And looking at it just now, I found a recipe for a drink that a lounge here makes that I love! Vodka, St. Germain, grapefruit juice. They call it Pretty in Pink. The lounge here calls it Barbie. I call it that vodka drink with St. Germain and grapefruit. I hate cutesy drink names!

  • CA Kate z9
    3 years ago

    My first venture into Vodka was Grey Goose because that's what the pie dough recipe from Cook's Illustrated called for. Consequently it is what I started drinking in homemade drinks. One time DH and I were at a bar waiting for others and I ordered a Lemon Drop Martini. What they brought was awful... to me. Waiter asked what Vodka I was use to drinking. When I said Grey Goose he said I was a Vodka Snob and made me a new martini. I, apparently, can tell the difference in cheap and expensive vodka and always ask for Grey Goose or better. ;-) Having said all this, vodka can be made from potatoes or grains and each do have a different taste.... in my 'expert' opinion.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    3 years ago

    bbstx, one of my favorite summer drinks is a Greyhound - vodka and grapefruit juice served over ice. Don't need any of that elder flower stuff in there !! :-)

    I must not be a vodka snob - I can't tell the difference between a high end vodka and the cheap stuff in a mixed drink. But I can with tequila. And Scotch. But to me, Scotch is a sipping whiskey, drunk neat - no mixers, not even water!

  • bbstx
    3 years ago

    I have 2 vodkas in the house right now...Tito's and Cathead. I'm sure I can't tell the difference between the 2 or between those 2 and a premium vodka. I used to buy really really cheap stuff (Taaka, I think - bottom shelf, plastic bottle) because it was used for Bloody Marys during football season. But my sister said it gave her a headache, so I switched to better booze. But I'm not going to make Bloody Marys with Grey Goose!

  • moosemac
    3 years ago
    last modified: 3 years ago

    Love olives marinated in Martini juice! Ciroc Vodka Martini or Hendrickson Gin Martini both work for me. My husband calls them lighter fluid!

    Of course I would never turn down a Tito's, Grey Goose or Bombay Sapphire Martini either! Used to drink them dry now I like them a little dirty. Been drinking them since 1975. LOL Of course the drinking age was 18 back then...

  • carolb_w_fl_coastal_9b
    3 years ago

    The link bbstx provided from Planet Money is very good explainer about why some vodkas may taste more smooth than others. I listened to it back in 2018, when it 1st came out. Here's a link to the transcript, if you don't want to listen:

    https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=588345420

  • foodonastump
    3 years ago

    But I can with tequila. And Scotch.

    Tequila - I can taste the difference and I prefer cheap! I’m happy with a bottle of Cuervo or Sauza, 1800 at best. You can have the Patron and the rest of the fancy brands that made a name for themselves a couple decades ago. Funny how tastes are. Now Scotch, there I’d spend as much money as you give me.

  • patriciae_gw
    3 years ago

    Distillation: When you distill something the stuff being distilled is slowly raised to the temperature that it becomes volatile and rises up to go through the tubes where it condenses back into a liquid. The various substances in the original mash volatilize at slightly different temperatures. The differences are amazingly slight. So the stuff that comes off at the beginning will be different from the stuff that comes in the middle and the stuff you get at the end. The headings(first stuff) are always removed, middlings kept and sometimes the tails depending on what you are after. Each time you distill you remove more of the extra flavorings from what ever it is you are making your liquor. For Vodka the flavor will be affected by what it is made from because the different bases have their own chemical properties. Gin is made by first making Neutral spirits and then redistilling that with a bunch of herbs and perhaps running that distillate through again to refine it. The care with which the distillation is done, careful temperature control and determination as to what point you keep what you have distilled makes the difference in taste and pricing. Cheaper gin typically has a less distinct herbal concoction because that is the expensive part.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    3 years ago

    Last family gathering in Mexico, we had a class on tequila. With liberal tastings :-) I have never tasted such smooth, silky liquor in my life!! Better than the best VSOP brandy! If given a choice, I'd go with Don Roberto Reposado all day, everyday. Provided someone else was buying :-)

  • plllog
    3 years ago

    In my youth, a school group took a tour of the Sauza plant. It was very interesting. They gave us tastes of the raw tequila (not blended or adjusted or aged, just right out of the vat), and you can imagine how rough that was!

    FOAS, when you said you prefer "cheap", I was thinking you meant the kind of rotgot we had at college parties that tasted like right from the vat. I agree, that good Cuervo is a lot better than the stupid expensive stuff, and Sauza just tastes like home. :)

  • Lars
    last year

    I can't tell the difference between cheap vodka and expensive vodka, and my brother and I have done blind taste tests to tell whether we could identify how much a certain vodka costs - we couldn't. Therefore we buy cheap vodka, but then we make highly flavored drinks and there is no way we could notice the difference.

    Gin is a completely different story, and we only drink gin martinis for martinis. For that, we want to have Bombay gin (preferably Sapphire, but the regular Bombay is fine), but I really prefer cocktail onions to olives, and so you could say that I'm a "Gibson Girl" - I got that line from a movie. Kevin prefers olives, and we have other uses for olives, and so we stock olives instead of cocktail onions, since we rarely drink Martinis or Gibsons.

    I have a barkeepers recipe book, but I've hardly used it - mainly just as a reference.

    For gin and tonic, I am fine with Seagram's gin, but I strongly dislike Tanqueray and much prefer Seagram's. I do not like the flavor of Tanqueray, and it also gives me a headache. I also do not like Beefeater gin. The only cheap gin that I ever liked was Mexican ginebra, I have a feeling that it was made from agave and might be somewhat similar to tequila, Anyway, I liked it much better than any inexpensive gin I've had in the U.S., including Tanqueray. I had it at a wedding reception in San Blas, Nayarit mixed with fresh coconut water from coconuts taken from the beach. I have never otherwise tried to mix gin and coconut water.

    All I know about Scotch and Bourbon is that I do not like them. I do, however, like Bushmill's Irish Whiskey, and my brother keeps that on hand. He drinks it on the rocks from time to time, but I use it to make Irish Whiskey pies or Irish coffee, although I do not like coffee. I do like coffee with Irish whiskey and whipped cream. I also prefer Canadian whiskey to Scotch or Bourbon.

  • seagrass_gw Cape Cod
    last year

    Lars - have you ever tried Hendricks gin? It's become my preferred gin for a G&T and for a martini. Produced in Scotland, of all places!

  • Lars
    last year

    I have not tried Hendrick's gin, and I do not remember seeing it, but I will look for it at the liquor warehouse that I go to in Marina Del Rey when I return to L.A.

  • patriciae_gw
    last year

    Gins have their own herbal blend. Each and every one of them. Gin is always a blend of Juniper berries and other herbs. The "others" is the thing that distinguishes the various sorts of gin. It is normal to prefer one over another. You might have to try a few of them before you find your own. A work I wouldn't mind myself.

  • chisue
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I don't think it exists anymore, but I liked the more prominent juniper flavoring in House of Lords gin -- not an expensive brand, as I recall. I'd as soon drink gasoline as vodka. I'd thought Hendrick's was Dutch, but no?

    I haven't read back through all these comments, but hope someone addressed removing the 'decor' (olives, orange wedges, little umbrellas, whatever) before lifting the glass to your mouth. We're watching Atlantic Crossing, where I just saw the Crown Princess of Norway nearly put her eye out on a toothpick in a martini glass. Take that *out* and either consume the item or set it aside until you finish the drink!

  • Lars
    last year

    I never put toothpicks in olives or cocktail onions before putting them in my drink, and so I do not have the danger of being attacked by a toothpick. Therefore, I wait until the olive comes out on its own and eat it then. If the olive does have a toothpick, then I take the olive out first.

    A friend of mine likes Boodles gin, which I've seen at Trader Joe's, and it is a good inexpensive gin. I'm going to have to try Beefeater's again.

    Since I make my own tonic water, it has a lot of the botanicals (I use 14) that lots of gins have, and so when I make a vodka tonic, it tastes like gin and tonic. The tonic I make tastes far superior to any tonic water I have tried, and I've bought expensive ones that do come somewhat close. I store concentrated tonic syrup, which also takes up less space and cuts down on recycling.

  • lindac92
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I always leave the olive in my martini for about half the drink. If it's served up...i will lay it aside and then dip and eat about half way through...if on the rocks, I hold the pick aside with my finger while I drink

    Saying you don't like gin is like saying you don't like fruit.....many are very different from others....same with scotch...I am a regular Scotch drinker but hate some extra peaty single malts. And Irish wiskey is very similar to Scotch. If you like Irish wiskey you will find a Scotch you like.

    And the same with vodka....Popoff is very different from Skye or Grey Goose

  • Lars
    last year

    There probably is a Scotch that I would like - I can only say that I have not had a Scotch so far that I have liked. I'm afraid that if I found one I liked, it would be too expensive. I think Irish whiskey is close enough to Scotch anyway. I like Irish whiskey a lot better than the Bourbon I have had, and it's been a long time since I have tasted Scotch.

    I don't know whether there are places where you can taste difference Scotch and/or Bourbons, the way you do wine. I like going to wineries and tasting different wines, to figure out which ones I like. There is a huge difference from one wine to another, even at one winery. We do not always drink wine at dinner, but we do maybe two or three times a week.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year

    In my area, there are a number of boutique distilleries - much like boutique breweries or wineries - and many of them do tastings. In fact, many better local bars and lounges have what they call Whiskey Wednesday, where they focus on tastings of both local distilled spirits as well as the more well known brands.

  • glenda smith
    last year

    Anyone enjoy a gibson like me?




  • Lars
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Yes, I prefer Gibson to Martini.

    I did find some whiskey tastings in L.A., but they were mostly downtown. It looks like three of them are local distilleries, and one of them is actually in Culver City, and so that would be close to where I live.

    At one time, I went to a store in Culver City that sold beer brewing supplies and bought some diastatic malt to use in my cracker recipe. I also used it in bread. I should go back there and get some more malt, but I think I would prefer to buy it as a liquid.

    I checked the Los Angeles Brewery (which is in Culver City), and a bottle of single malt whiskey is $95.00. That's out of my price range. The Bourbon is $125.00😵

  • bbstx
    last year

    I am a gin lover, but I am not a fan of Hendrick’s at all. Last night DSIL made me a gin and tonic, a pretty pedestrian drink. This one was exceptional. I commented on how good it was. He made it with Tanqueray Rangpur which is very different from regular Tanqueray. It is described as having ”the zestiness of lime and the juiciness of mandarin orange.” He used my favorite tonic, FeverTree Elderflower Tonic.


    I’m with you @lindac92. I do not like the overly-peaty single malt scotches. My step-son wants me to go with him to a tasting of Japanese scotches at one of his favorite watering holes. I’m a bit hesitant, but I think I’ll go to be a good sport if nothing else.


    Lars, try Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whiskey. It is reasonable priced (some might even say ”cheap”). DH first bought it because the hero in some spy thriller that he was reading drank it. It is a nice middle of the road scotch.

  • jrb451
    last year

    A few years back we were traveling to Cape Breton Island to spend a week during their Celtic Colours Festival. We were staying at a B&B in Baddeck. Prior to leaving, I’d asked the innkeeper if there was anything from the lower 48 that he’d like me to bring up.


    He said that they did a single malt tasting throughout the week and I could bring up a bottle to “throw into the mix”.


    I’m not a big scotch drinker and thought whatever I’d bring from my local liquor stores would fail to impress the other guests which came from all over the globe. I was sharing my challenge with a store owner who asked if I’d ever tried the Japanese single malt Yamazaki? He said it was really good and scored well in competitive tastings.


    I thought it was worth a shot and it had the added bonus of not being sold in Nova Scotia liquor stores. You know what? It was the best liked single malt there that week.


    So, try the Yamazaki!