The problems with making and drinking Martinis outside become evident almost immediately if you happen to be a purist like I am often accused of being.
Any amount of time that lapses while the drink sits in a cocktail glass can be detrimental to the overall temperature. So, to mix up the drink and then navigate from the kitchen (or wherever you make your Martinis), through the living room, out the front door, and into the lawn means the drink is gaining critical degrees. Moreover juggling two full Martinis in tall, delicate crystal glasses can be a treacherous endeavor even for a clumsy ex bartender, and if stairs are involved-- forget about it. Plus before redying the ice and gin one has to set up the lawn chairs, radio, and table. To make the second drink involves leaving the garden and going back to do the whole thing again. If the stairs and the swinging screen door didn't get you the first time, they surely will on the second trip.
It makes sense why some have said the Martini should be kept in the cities where it helms from. I used to think that the feeling of sitting at a bar in a pair of freshly shined black loafers tip-tapping on the brass rail of a fancy downtown hotel bar while my Martini was being prepared might be the best feeling in the world. Turns out sipping a Martini that I've made while sitting in a lawn chair while my bare feet woosh through thick freshly cut Kentucky bluegrass is a much more subdued but far more fulfilling moment.
"You can no more keep a Martini in the refrigerator than you can keep a kiss there. The proper union of gin and vermouth is ... one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived."
- Bernard DeVoto
So how do you get indoor quality martinis outdoors?
It would be far easier to batch the drinks ahead of time especially if this is a daily occurrence, but they never taste as good, and the refrigerator can't keep them as cold as they need to be. Well, Bernard...have you heard of a thermos? It works great for me.
Just like using a mixing glass, I instead fill a vacuum flask with ice and then dump out any meltwater that accumulates. Then I fill it with my usual ratio of gin to vermouth but for two rounds. In this case, 200 ml Tanqueray and 60 ml Noilly Prat. With a long barspoon, I mix this as I would any other Martini I'd make. When it is ready, I seal the vessel and head outside with two cocktail glasses from the freezer and a few lemon peels for garnish. I find that the thermos holds the drink exactly where I want it for the short amount of time it will take us to enjoy the two Martinis within. When it is time for the second drink, one of us runs in and switches out the glasses for a chilled set. Pouring another chilly Martini is as easy as pouring a glass of wine.
I am sure there is a minuscule amount of additional dilution in the second drink, but it doesn't bother me in the least.
"May six o'clock never find you alone."
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