My co-worker Zach asked me today if I had ever made a gin martini with Laphroaig instead of vermouth.  "Huh?" was all I could muster in reply.  He told me to try coating the glass in peaty Islay scotch instead of dry vermouth for a gin martini that pops.  I couldn't wait to get home and try it.  2 oz. North Shore gin and a glass coated with Ardbeg Rollercoaster.  What would happen?  Would it taste smoky and overpower the gin?

While I was stirring, however, I remembered how Zach had explained that the peaty rinse just helps the gin to really sing, rather than add any real smoke to the flavor.  Could the North Shore taste any brighter and more expressive than it normally did?  Almost there!

Look at that gin hit the glass and mesh with that spicy Ardbeg! Ohhh.....I'm getting thirsty.

The result?  Nothing more than a really good gin martini!  Don't expect the smoke to change the flavor of the gin, but, just as Zach said, the flavors do seem to pop more than they usually do.  I'm going to have to make another one without the Ardbeg just to see if it really makes that big of a difference.  However, I'm probably going to do this every time from now on anyway.  I don't normally use vermouth, so adding any other substance is big adjustment for me, but I can see how the spice really kicks in a bit more.  Try it yourself and see if it makes a difference to you.  All credit to Zach Smith for this one.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll