When you think Martini, you think of class, sophistication, high society garnished with olives. That’s exactly what the organisers of World Martini Day would have you think. Still, there are a few that can sip their clean, crisp gin cocktail whilst holding a hint of humour in their hearts. Here are a few martini quotes that will put a smile on your face before your third Martini does.
Homer Simpson - animated alcohol
Arguably the fictional character most associated with quips of astounding insight and equally astounding idiocy, is everyone’s favourite American suburbanite, Homer Simpson. Known for his whacky schemes, strangely indifferent love for his family and, of course, shameful drinking habits, Mr. D’Oh has dabbled in scores of alcoholic adventures in his programme’s 26 year history including inventing the Flaming Moe (secret ingredient, kids cough syrup), basement bowling ball moonshine (which occasionally explodes) and from time to time a more sophisticated cocktail. In a 2010 episode, Homer finds his bartender knows him very well when it comes to the Martini:
“He knows just how I like my martini – full of alcohol.”
Alec Waugh - the inventor of the cocktail party
British novelist Alec Waugh, known mostly for the film adaptation of his novel, Island in the Sun, about race relations in the Caribbean, is lesser known than his literary younger brother, Evelyn, who wrote enduring works such as Brideshead Revisited. But Alec’s supposed contribution to society undoubtedly trumps any themed prose; in fact, this contribution is the crux around which themed prose is often discussed today: Waugh claims to have invented the cocktail party.
In “Movers and Shakers: a chronology of words that shaped our age”, first published in 1999, author John Ayto refers to Waugh’s claims with the story of how Waugh, who was active in the London social scene, invited friends over in 1924 for what they thought was tea but whose glasses arrived full of rum swizzles.
We wonder if Waugh said the following about the Martini at one of the world’s first cocktail parties:
“I am prepared to believe that a dry martini slightly impairs the palate, but think what it does for the soul.”
Martin Freeman - not quite James Bond
English actor Martin Freeman made his name alongside Ricky Gervais in the smash mockumentary-style sticom, The Office, a role which boosted him to stardom. Notable roles include a mild-mannered, socially awkward porn actor in Love Actually, Watson in modern-day crime drama Sherlock based on the novels by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson’s film renditions of the Hobbit. It’s thus not surprising that Martin referred to himself as less of a James Bond and more of a, well, Martin Freeman, when he said,
“I don't get cast as the guy who steps off a yacht in a white linen suit with a martini.”
Ernest Hemingway - a civilised drinker
The hero of Hemingway’s 1929 World War I love tragedy A Farewell to Arms, Frederic Henry, an American expat serving in the Italian army, finds himself in the bar of a posh hotel on one of the three three Borromean Islands in the Lago Maggiore near the Italian-Swiss border. As he waits for his lover, he indulges on olives, salted almonds, crisps, sandwiches, and of course, Martinis of which he drinks a few. Perhaps it was the emotion building up with the excitement to meet the woman he loved, or maybe it was his separation from the horrors of war, but Henry felt particularly good drinking those Martinis, probably just as good as his real-life Papa felt drinking just about anything local in his many travels. Savouring his gin and vermouth, the story’s hero comments:
”I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized.”
Gerald Ford - drinking at lunch is for the rich
The ever-staunch right-of-centre American detests the idea of taxes and the government encroaching on people’s god-given rights. One of those rights that was under attack was a crackdown on tax exemptions for business lunches. Deemed a necessary expense to grease the wheels of big business and get things done, the rest of society outside of the dealmaking crowd viewed these lunches as a lavish expense for the rich, who were deemed to have enough leisure time that they could sit and chat, debate and negotiate at expensive restaurants over a number of drinks. Thus the term “three-martini lunch” was born.
Gerald Ford, the unelected President who assumed the position after Nixon stepped down, defended the customs of the businessman and the establishments they frequent when he told the Nationa Restaurant Association:
“The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?”
BONUS MARTINI-WITH-LAUGHTER QUOTES
“I like to have a martini, two at the very most –After three I’m under the table, After four, I’m under my host.”
- Dorothy Parker
“They say a martini is like a woman’s breast: one ain’t enough and three is too many.”
- Gail, The Parallax View
“I’d like a dry martini, Mr. Quoc. A very dry martini. A very dry, arid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowl of a martini. I want a martini that could be declared a disaster area. Mix me just such a martini.”
- Hawkeye Pierce, M*A*S*H
“Happiness is…finding two olives in your martini when you’re hungry.”
- Johnny Carson
“Martinis are the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet.”
- H. L. Mencken
“A man must defend his home, his wife, his children, and his martini.”
- Jackie Gleason