Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Murphy cocktail

A vodka Murphy with a peeled radish

Martin Price, the man behind SW4 gin, also has a vodka which is provisionally branded “Radost”. There’s a story behind this—I think it means “joy” in Czech—but I’m always teasing him that it is radish vodka.

So I was interested to come across the Murphy cocktail, which deploys a radish.

I’ve long been partial to a Gibson, which is a Martini garnished with a cocktail onion—I always look forward to crunching up the onion at the end, so I suspect it just reflects my interest in food (which may explain my fascination with savoury gins like Aviation). The story goes that illustrator Charles Dana Gibson, used to join his chums for Martini sessions at New York actors’ hang-out the Player’s Club in the 1890s. In order to keep a clear head to carry on working afterwards, he developed a ruse with the bartender Charlie Connolly: Gibson’s drinks were just water, and Charlie marked these by using an onion rather than an olive. But the rest of the gang took a shine to the garnish and started ordering their Martinis that way, naming the variation after Gibson.

According to Shaken NOT Stirred (1997) by Anastatia Miller and Jared Brown, one Player’s Club guest “Cyril Cusick” (Cusack?) took the idea with him to Murphy’s Bar in Dublin. One day, out of onions, the barman used a radish instead, and the Murphy was born.

I’m quite partial to a radish, so I decided to give it a go. I doubted the average radish would radiate that much flavour so, to give it a chance, I peeled it and made the drink with vodka.

The result? Zilch, I’m afraid. The radish added no flavour to the Martini and, when I ate it at the end, had acquired no discernible influence from the Martini. Onwards and upwards.

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