If you are a minutia-obsessed Seinfeld fan like I am (Is it possible to be any other kind of Seinfeld fan? Minutia is that dude’s umwelt), then you remember the episode in which Jerry tries to decipher the note he scribbled in the middle of the night while half-asleep. He finally figures out it’s a line from a sci-fi B-movie he had been up late watching—a line, it turns out, that’s actually not that funny.
Such it has been for me the past few weeks with a drink name and recipe I came across and jotted down and now I’m all like, Wuh? The drink is called the Filthy Narwhal, and Googling it comes up goose eggs as far as a source or point of origin.* I think I may have seen it on the online cocktail menu of some restaurant in Boston. I have no idea why I think that, seeing as I can’t remember the last time I was in Boston, nor do I have any plans to be in Boston, but so fire the synapses of my sleep-deprived memory these days.
What I need no help recalling is what about the Filthy Narwhal made me want to copy it down: It has a pickle garnish! I [heart] pickles. When I
shove pastrami down my piehole dine respectably at a Katz’s, Schwartz’s or any other Jewish deli, I’m mainly in it for the pickles. (Maybe I just have a thing for foods that are green.)
On a different** episode of Seinfeld, Seinfeld said, “I’ve never had a really good pickle.” While this statement should bring much shame on Jerome and his Hebrew roots, I am here to state that you can have a really good Pickle Martini. Like, the Really Good Pickle Martini.
Now, the trick to a really good Pickle Martini is that the cocktail should contain pickle juice but should not taste absolutely and entirely like pickle. You don’t want it to be so over the top that it becomes more gimmick than potable. That’s a tricky trick because pickle juice is powerful. (Say that 10 times fast.) And in fact, the Filthy Narwhal sidesteps this quandary entirely; it doesn’t contain any pickle juice, only vodka and dry vermouth with a garnish of an organic dill pickle and blue-cheese-stuffed olive. (Yes, I wrote all that down but didn’t write down where it came from.)
This Martini is really good, y’all. The flavor profile has a bit of brine to it, but it’s still very much a proper Martini, even though it tastes noticeably different from a standard Martini. And honestly, if you think it’s just another Dirty Martini, believe me when I tell you it’s not dirty at all. (It even looks all but clear.) The pickle garnish exudes a snappy olfactory element as you dive in so that your nose as well as tongue gets in on the fun. (Now that’s a bit dirty.)
I’m just gonna say it: I am master of my domain. (Yes, we’re still talking about cocktails.)
The Really Good Pickle Martini
Garnish: Skewered dill pickle slice
Pour all the ingredients into a mixing glass with ice, and stir briskly with a bar spoon for about 1 minute.
Strain into a chilled Martini glass.
Garnish with a skewered dill pickle slice.
*UPDATE: Source found! I was close. It’s not from a cocktail menu at a Boston restaurant but a Burlington, Vt., resto. Still a "wuh?" but at least I’ll sleep better tonight.
**CORRECTION: It’s the same episode! What are the odds?! I hang my head in Seinfeld-fan shame.