I sat looking at them; three lovely olives, clinging together on a stir stick. I felt so bad. A lot of effort goes into, not only "being" an olive and growing in the mediterranean sun, soil and wind, but ending up in my drink in, what I thought was, a fine Toronto bar on Cumberland. The whole journey was put to rest, selfishly and terribly by the dopy bartender that screwed up my martini : "Thumbs McGee."
I love martinis. Specifically, I love a vodka martini with only the slightest bit of vermouth. If you suggest that I have one with chocolate, cranberry juice, or a herd of goats in it, I will verbally thump you, and then pull your socks up over your ears. I'm 48 years old. Don't mess with my martini. The bartender that served me this latest disaster didn't mean any harm. She just wasn't concentrating. She couldn't have been. Why? There was an ice cube. I saw it. I crunched it with my teeth. An ice cube in my martini. That's like having Richard Simmons at your breakfast table. It's horrifying. And very, very sad. That, and the fact that the martini tasted like it had been sitting in the bottom of a rusted bucket for a day...but those poor olives. They had come so far, and then, in their moment of glory, they find only defeat. I ate them quickly to put them out of their misery. I heard them scream...
It's tempting to tell you the name of the bar...but instead, I'll tell you where you can get a martini that will change your life:
"Batifole," 744 Gerrard Street East, in Toronto.
The people there are brilliant.
Do this: ask for a "Vesper."
A "Vesper," is the original James Bond martini. It is made with an ounce of gin, an ounce of vodka, and a half ounce of Lillet Blanc. Revel in the look of the drink. Revel in the fact that you can feel your legs, because, shortly, you won't be able to. It's best to make an evening of it. Have some good friends join you. Order from a menu full of the best food you will ever taste. The evening will be "magnifique." Why? Because your drink, a very important drink, was made with love and attention. Not like that other place. That other place should be leveled and turned into a parking lot.
I'm sorry for the olives. It wasn't their fault. The Vesper had only a lemon peel in it; a lemon peel that was very, very happy and fulfilled.
"Batifole." C'etait absolument merveilleux.