I’ll have a Martini, s’il vous plaît.

This isn’t a blog post about the arguments over what constitutes a martini: gin versus vodka, shaken versus stirred … if something with Pucker in it can even lay claim to the name. Instead, this post is about a crucial difference between martinis in America and martinis in France. If you’re ever thinking about ordering one in this country, pay close attention. This is very important!

To illustrate this lesson, I’ll share an anecdote recounted by a friend over dinner Friday night:

A group of Americans walk into a restaurant in Paris and are seated for dinner. (I know this sounds like the start of a joke, but it’s not.) The waiter arrives and asks if anyone would like to start with a cocktail or an apéritif. One of the Americans orders a martini.

“Blanc ou rouge?” the waiter asks.

“Uh … rouge,” the American responds tentatively. “There must be a splash of cranberry or Chambord in there,” she thinks to herself, remembering that “rouge” means “red” in French.

“And for Monsieur?”

“I’ll have a blanc,” Monsieur replies. “That must be a ‘normal’ martini,” he thinks to himself, before starting to wonder why the waiter didn’t ask if they preferred gin or vodka.

Continue reading I’ll have a Martini, s’il vous plaît.