"There’s only one kind of martini," one of my mentors, the author, Dan Okrent, once noted. "There’s a martini and there’s a vodka martini—I drink a martini."
If not to live by, it's at least a truism to drink by. Unless that is, you're visiting José Andrés' restaurant, The Bazaar, in Los Angeles. In that case, there's another martini, the "New Way" Dirty Martini.
Doubtless you've heard of Andrés' "Olives," a dish consisting of olives both real and spherified. It's a tribute to Ferran Adrià, who first made them at El Bulli, where Andrés trained. The technique involves blending calcium chloride and olive juice with xantham gum, then dropping that into an alginate water laced with sodium citrate. This forms a skin that encapsulates the olive liquid.
As cool as it is to experience the contrast, real and spherified, Andrés' "New Way" Dirty Martini takes things to the next level.
Put simply, if you're a dirty martini drinker, this has to be a checklist item. The spherified olive sinks to the bottom of the glass, a savory promise-- a concentration of flavor and brine that's noticeably absent from the gin. You might feel cheated of that flavor, or feel compelled to quaff quickly if not for the drink's other innovation-- an olive brine air. It creates a salty parallel.
The first few sips are about novelty and salt management. Then the foam disappears and the anticipation of the spherified olive takes over, a final burst of flavor and inspiration to order another.