Change Has Come to the Dry Martini

In these economic times, it's hard to imagine anyone who doesn't long for a dry martini. But Jason Wilson in the Washington Post today asserts that the "post-war era dry martini" has gone the way of American exceptionalism. That is to say, down the drain.

"The Greatest Generation was great for many reasons," he writes. "But can we finally, at long last, be honest about one crucial thing? That generation's taste in martinis is awful." Wilson can't stand the entire ceremony around the classic cocktail, from the tired instruction to merely whisper the word "vermouth" to the celebration of "alcoholics" like Hemingway and Churchill, who  just wanted an excuse to drink something containing only one ingredient. As for vodka, Wilson quotes Philip Greene, an ambassador for the Museum of the American Cocktail, who asserts, "James Bond did a lot of damage to martinis." Not only did he introduce vodka, explains Greene, but the whole idea of shaking.

In the end, Wilson makes a case for a new kind of martini, utilizing the benefits of contemporary gins and more cutting-edge vermouths. As for gin, "One of my new favorites is G'Vine Nouaison, a gin distilled in Cognac, France, with a botanical formula that includes green grape flowers," he writes. "And there have been big recent developments in the world of vermouth" as well.  He recommends Noilly Prat's new recipe.

Indeed, Barack Obama has brought change to America and perhaps change should come to your apertif as well. But at the end of the day, though, a martini is intended to accomplish one thing. And that happens with or without vermouth and with gin—or vodka—both old and new.

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

A world map of Virgin Mary apparitions

She met mere mortals with and without the Vatican's approval.

Strange Maps
  • For centuries, the Virgin Mary has appeared to the faithful, requesting devotion and promising comfort.
  • These maps show the geography of Marian apparitions – the handful approved by the Vatican, and many others.
  • Historically, Europe is where most apparitions have been reported, but the U.S. is pretty fertile ground too.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less