Those Mar___ drinks

Okay, since we separated hamburgers out of the Culinary Commentary thread, I wanted to do the same with the vodka/gin debate, as well.

Mix fruity stuff with rum and we call it a daiquiri (strawberry, lime, whatever)
Mix fruity stuff with tequila and we call it a margarita (strawberry, lime, whatever).
Mix fruity stuff with gin and we call it a martini (apple, et cetera).
Mix the martini recipe with vodka and we call it a vodka martini (apple, etc.).

Why don’t we just call it something else?
Mix fruity stuff with vodka and we (can) call it a _______________?

Sure, there are some of you who will argue that vodka is/isn’t interchangeable with gin. Feel free to rehash that here, if you wish.


Your premise is wrong. Martini’s aren’t by default gin based any more than they are vodka based. The original martini is a gin drink that begot the martini glass. Anything served in it is a martini, regardless of the liquor.

A martini is gin, vermouth and originally bitters, although that has fallen by the wayside. Anything else isn’t. The glass has nothing to do with it.

And a daiquiri is just rum, lime juice and simple sugar. What’s your point in relation to the OP?

Martinis are default gin. By definition. Any other liquor, no matter what glass is used, isn’t a martini and should never be referred to as such.

Mix fruity stuff with vodka and get whatever you want to call it, so long as that name isn’t the name of another drink.

Just having gin as the liquor doesn’t make what you are drinking a martini, either.

Yet they are…by just about everyone on the planet.

And they are all wrong.

OMG, prescriptivism v descriptivism in Café Society over DRINK NAMES???
James Bond drank vodka martinis (shaken, not stirred). That’s been part of the lexicon since the 60s at least, if for no other reason than those movies. It’s stupid to assert that a vodka martini isn’t a real martini.

It certainly IS true that just putting gin in a glass that is shaped like a martini glass, and throwing anything else in with it doesn’t make the drink a martini. That’s why it’s called an appletini (or whatever), not an apple martini. But even if it were, it would just mean the name has evolved to cover more things.

I mean, for God’s sake, how many people drink India Pale Ales, despite the fact that they are neither related to India, nor a true Ale? Didn’t stop the initial appellation, and didn’t stop it from spreading.

There are martini-type drinks, which are a liquor, a flavored wine (usually vermouth), and a small amount of infused cordial such as Angostura bitters or Campari, which are combined to make a cocktail. These include the traditional (gin) martini, the vodka martini, the Manhattan (rye or bourbon, or for some reason in Wisconsin, brandy—ugh!), the Rob Roy (Scotch whisky), thr Dubliner (Irish whiskey), the Ronin (Japanese whiskey), and the Negroni (gin, red vermouth, and Campari, which is as sickening as it sounds). They can be served in any stemmed cocktail glass (conical or bowl) or on the rocks if you are a heathen or working in a poorly equipped vacation kitchen.

Those fruit-flavored Cosmo/Appletini drinks are not any kind of martini, even though they are served in a martini stem glass. It is its own class of “drink” more akin to spiked punch than a cocktail. It’s a cocktail in name only for people who enjoy wine spritzers and lime-flavored ‘beer’. <seinfeld>Not that there’s anything wrong with that.</seinfeld>

Ian Fleming gets a little crazy once that one time, man, and now everybody has to try to create some amazing new cocktail with smoke and eight ingredients. Just give me Four Roses Small Batch, neat, or two fingers of Black Bush. There is no need to mask good liquor with inferior spiced wine and cordials, and certainly not simple syrup or fruit juice.


How are they not true ales?

Just a guess…ales originally weren’t seasoned with hops. But I’ve never heard the argument that hopped ales are “false” ales.

I’m guessing that a lot of American IPAs are “bottom fermented” like a lager, since most strains of yeast are derived from that used by Ballentine, but I think we’ve long accepted that IPAs are really a uniquely American phenomenon that the rest of the world thinks is silly. (I say this as a fan of bitterly hopped beer, and disappointed that the Japanese are so stuck on tasteless malt liquor that it is impossible to order a decent beer in the Japan.)

However, the martini is long-established as being made with (dry) gin, and martini-type drinks are three ingredients as described above. The fruit juice-heavy “-tini” drinks are not martinis in any accepted sense of the word other than as promoted by TGI Fridays and Claim Jumper, and since these are not real bars we should not take their efforts at liquor cultural revisionism laying down. Fuck your striped shirts and suspenders; you know who else made people wear “flair”?


The fruity drinks cited in the OP are all cocktail variants on PUNCH, a very old libation. Strong, weak, sour, sweet. Cocktails just leave out the “weak.” A TOM COLLINS is a modern example of a PUNCH, made of gin, sugar, lemon juice, and seltzer. As for the cocktails:

The DAIQUIRI is lime juice, sugar, and RUM.

The GIMLET is lime juice, sugar, and GIN,

The WHISKEY SOUR is lemon or lime juice, sugar, and CHEAP-ASS WHISKEY, usually blended. You can make a BOURBON SOUR, too.

The MARGARITA is lime juice, orange liqueur, and TEQUILA.

The SIDECAR is lemon juice, orange liqueur, and BRANDY.

Don’t know of any that are. If you’re thinking of the Ballantine yeast I think you are, it’s an ale (top fermented) yeast. Regardless, most US craft beer are ales as are all IPAs that I know of.

I stand corrected. Regardless, I think we’re all aware that modern IPAs are not related to the crap beer that the British shipped to India in the hope of maintaining British culture, such as it is. I assume, however, that they did manage to ship jellied eels and terrible sausages, and I feverantly hope that these are never imported to the United States without substantial modification.


I can’t speak to the jellied eels, but no sausage is more terrible than a terrible British sausage.

Right – heck, sure, you can have a vodka martini, but that’s the point, you have to specify it that way. If you don’t say anything else, it’s gin.

And let’s face it Ian Fleming liked to name-drop brands to make Book Bond sound worldlier, but for a half century *Film *Bond ordered straightforward vodka martinis and not Vespers.

And BTW good catch – the fruity punches are not “Mar-" drinks, they are "-tini” drinks. Call it an appletini, sure, but own it as a drink in its own right.


It’s amusing you bring up the martini because the “classic” martini (gin & dry vermouth) was actually named for an even earlier drink (gin, sweet vermouth, Maraschino, and bitters) and was originally referred to a as a “dry martini” to differentiate.

Uke, if you are considering a new signature, I think you’ve stumbled upon it.