ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE BOGART Tuesday, September 06, 2011

His forehead, high, his cigarette, dangling: Humphrey Bogart was a superstar, an American icon, and, more than anything, always looked trey cool. But the man himself was as complex as the often anguished men he portrayed on the silver screen. His enthusiasms were sailing, chess, politics, smoking, drinking and women (he was multiply and interminably married until he finally settled on the still unimpeachable Lauren Bacall). A friend of Sinatra and Martin, both, If he wasn’t a founding member of the Rat Pack, he was certainly present at its birth.

In sum, he was perhaps cinema’s first, and most enduring, antiheroes, and his roles in turn inspired generations of musicians, filmmakers and actors. Who can forget Jean-Paul Belmondo in the French Nouvelle classic, Breathless, studying a Bogart movie poster, rubbing his lower lip through his own cigarette smoke, daydreaming? Belmondo’s character didn’t want to be Bogart. He wanted to be the men he played. The men Bogart portrayed were the man most me want to be.

It should come then as no surprise then that, even now, the actor continues to inspire us.

Bogart, who could be a prodigious drinker, was once believed to remark, “I never should have switched from Scotch to Martinis.” We can presume that this means Martinis simply go down easier, and in turn, a lot more often, than two fingers of Scotch.

And Bogart no doubt drank what is now considered a classic, if not a proper, Martini. In today’s parlance, a Martini is simply chilled gin (and, evermore often, vodka) served up in a stinger glass with either an olive, a twist or a cocktail onion. In other words, there remains no art to crafting this particularly glamourous cocktail.

In honor of the man who, perhaps against his better judgement, jumped the Scotch ship, our Bogart Martini returns to the Martini’s origins, and is comprised of English Gin (Broker’s), Southern French Dry Vermouth (Noilly Prat), a trace amount of Caol Ila Single Malt Scotch (from Scotland’s peaty, peppery isle of Islay), and is garnished with Sicilian olives (Castelvetranos), which have been seasoned with smoked English salt (Maldon’s).

Gently stirred and served up (Foul! 007!), our Bogart is, like the man, himself, smokey, salty, cosmopolitan, worldly and complex.

Find your inner Belmondo, or your inner Bacall, and raise your glass to the man who made behaving badly look so good.