by Mike Sula
The Poetry Foundation just published an essay by writer Rosie Schaap, attempting to process the distressing anecdotal evidence that poet and noted martini enthusiast W.H. Auden committed the original sin against the cocktail, in whose name unspeakable crimes have been committed.
Auden may very well have drunk his martinis with vodka instead of gin.
Schaap's reaction to the notion is as delicious as a chilly Hendrick's, no vermouth, up, with a twist
Maybe what I'm trying to say is: I don't want to believe it. I don't want to lump Auden in with the cocktail consumers I've seen belly up to bars at innumerable happy hours, lean their elbows on the polished wood or marble or zinc, and, with an air of sophisticated authority, order an extra-dry vodka martini with extra olives. I want to pry away their drinks and replace them with real martinis—made with gin and considerably more than a rumor of vermouth, and garnished, if garnished they must be, with clean, curly twists of lemon peel. It's much the way I feel when, riding the subway some evenings, I catch sight of someone reading Atlas Shrugged, and want to tear the book from his or her hands and replace it with Paradise Lost or the Prelude . . .