HAPPY HOUR – THE OCULUS MARTINI

This cocktail is not for the faint of hearts.

Strong and dry, a Vodka Martini is generally a clean, less aromatic version of the classic Gin Martini. But if you have a taste for the macabre, or you are from Yukon, then add some fresh eyeballs for an extra juicy and crunchy bitter kick.

Happy Halloween everyone!

LL_miniheaders_INGREDIENTS_620

  • 50ml premium vodka
  • 25ml dry vermouth
  • a few radishes
  • some smallish green olives without pips (you can get stuffed green olives here, but then you have to remove the stuffing unless it’s black)
  • some black olives without pips

LL_miniheaders_METHOD_620

How to mix the drink:
Pour the vodka and dry vermouth in a mixing glass with some ice cubes and stir well. Strain the contents in a beaker and add the eyeballs as garnish.

And if you find this drink too bitter, add some spiced tomato juice and a celery stick and turn it into a fancy Bloodthirsty Mary (but be aware that you might not see the eyeballs as clearly through the bloody mix).

Happy Hour – Oculus Martini eyeball

How to make the eyeballs:
The eyeballs need a little patience and time to make – especially if you want them looking realistic.

1. First of all be picky when choosing the radishes – they should be really round and with a longish root to imitate the optic nerve. So if you can, don’t just buy a packet of pre-cleaned radish from a supermarket, but order them from a good greengrocer.

2. Cut the greens from the radishes if they still have the stem and then use a metal scourer to remove the pink skin (it sounds odd, but I tried using a serrated knife and it didn’t work). The trick here is to leave a few traces of pink around the root/optic nerve, and a few around the area where the olive/iris is going to be. The best results come out if you do the eye in two parts, first scouring from the edge of the root to the middle of the radish, and then on the other side from where the stem was to the middle again (I suggest you do a few try-outs before settling into full eye production).

3. With a knife peeler (one with a point) carve a hole into the radish, on the opposite side of the root. The hole shouldn’t be too big and you can always modify it later on.

4. Wash the radishes with cold water to get rid of the pink juice from the skin.

5. To make iris and pupil, cut a thin slice out of a black olive, roll it onto itself lenghtwise and stuff it into a green olive, as if it was pimento. Then cut the stuffed olive in half and push a half into the vitreus body of the eye. If the olive doesn’t fit, either carve a little bit more of the radish or cut off another thin slice from the olive half.

There you go, your eyeballs are ready!

A couple of notes:
I have tried freezing them as I thought they’d make interesting ice-cubes and in fact they were lovely in the ice-tray, optic nerve up. However, the ice often covers up the design and after the eyes defrost they get really soggy and they separate from the olives, which is a bit rubbish.

And if you are short of scientific beakers you can always serve your cocktails in some eyeball… erhm, highball glasses.

Photography: Dee Ramadan
Styling: Margherita Poggiali