Martinis at the Viaduct – a welcome Tuesday break

Left: F&M at Soul

Last night Helen & I entertained a visiting American colleague down in Auckland’s Viaduct district.
It was a quiet Tuesday night, but that didn’t stop us from showing our Missouri cousin some harbourside hospitality.

Fritz had done his homework before coming to Aotearoa. He’d seen my blog and knew that I was keen on a martini or two. We met up just after 9.30pm at Soul and proceeded to get to know each other a little better.

The Soul martinis are interesting. For a start they come in a long, narrow glass, more like a postmodern champagne flute than the traditional cocktail shape. We had the vodka version. Fritz likes his a little sweeter, so went with the bianco with a twist. Helen and I are pretty much traditionalists and stuck with the dry/dirty olive combo. I always prefer a vodka-tini after dinner. Though gin is my favourite aperatif.

It was quiet. By 11.15 Soul was closing up, but Fritz had the taste and we went in search of another venue. We ended up at a place that I think is called “Cowboy”. It had a western feel and I’m sure Fritz was quite at home there (he’s from the mid-west, but they had cowboys too, back in the day).
Left: F&M – Cowboy

Unfortunately we only had time for one more round – “the usual please” – before this bar shut down too.

Well, by then it was nearly 1.30am so I guess going home wasn’t really too much of a disappointment.

I’m going to catch up with Fritz in his home town, Columbia Missouri in a few weeks during a trip to Canada and the USA. I’m sure more martinis will be found to wet the way.

The “dirty caper”

I also experimented at home over the weekend and came up with a new twist on an old favourite. I call it the ‘dirty caper’. I like capers in salads and bolognaise sauce and so I thought they might work in a martini too. They’re salty like olives, but have a taste that is both sharper and softer at the same time.
My trick is quite simple. Take your average ‘sixer’ (3 X olives on two cocktail sticks) and intersperse a caper in between the olives. You should always use a good gin for this. At the moment I have a bottle of Bombay Sapphire which I prefer to drink with Noily Prat, but for now a reliable and not too expensive vermouth is good enough.

Left: the dirty caper (six olives and four capers)

If you like super dirty you can even put a tsp of caper brine into the mix as you go.

The verdict: Smart, sophisticated and chic.

Who am I kidding, it was a martini: blunt, tasty and effective.

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