Back to class with Eau de Vie

The James Bond films are known for their blatant product placement, but it was Bond’s famous martini instructions “shaken, not stirred” which challenged the drink’s origins and caused controversy among connoisseurs worldwide.

At Eau de Vie’s Martini Masterclass, ‘Dr Phil’, the waistcoated bartender who has studied everything martini, tells us that the classic (read: authentic) martini was stirred so as not to bruise the gin.  Not merely a strong cocktail in a stylish glass, we learn that the martini has a history full of politics, science – and of course, culinary debate.

A hidden bar which prides itself on knowing its Hendricks from its Anchor Junipero, Eau de Vie is the ideal setting to learn about the evolution of a cocktail that found its feet during the American prohibition era.  Water is served in antique crystal tumblers, and strains of Chicago’s ‘All that jazz’ reinforce the sense that one is in an intimate speakeasy set up for the discerning tippler.

Winston Churchill makes a regular appearance in this alcohol enhanced history lesson, where his most important contribution to history appears to have been the popularisation of the dry martini (the more vermouth, the wetter the martini) – stating that “I would like to observe the vermouth from across the room while I drink my martini”.

Sipping our lychee martinis, the students seated around the bar are told that ice is the most important part of any martini (beware a bartender who doesn’t fill the glass!).  Crushed or broken ice is another warning signal.  Serious about its commitment to quality, Eau de Vie has liquid nitrogen on hand to ensure that the drinks are served at ideal temperatures and makes its own vermouth on the premises.

After concocting and drinking approximately five variations of martinis (the experiential part of the learning experience), our recollection of the techniques may be hazy but we have a newfound appreciation of the level of skill required.  Wet or dry, vodka or gin, stirred or shaken – the drink of tuxedos, Aston Martins and general sophistication is definitely one worth outsourcing to the experts at Eau de Vie.  As Dr Phil spins around the bar, pouring shots, stirring the drinks and juggling the glasses, he reminds us of the most important ingredients – theatre and flair.

The Martini Masterclass was run by Eau de Vie as part of World Cocktail Week.  Keep an eye on their Facebook page for future events.

Tickets were provided courtesy of Eat Drink Play

Check it out!  Eau de Vie comes to life in this brilliant video by the team at Barology

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