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June 22, 2005

You can't make a Martini without twisting some rinds

Historical trivia. No larger political commentary expressed or implied.

Robert Hopkins reminisces about being a photographer at Yalta in 1945.

The meeting was cordial and consisted primarily of Stalin’s welcoming the President to Yalta and making sure that he was comfortably settled. Since it was about cocktail hour, the President repeated a ritual he regularly performed at the White House: He made a pitcher of dry martinis. As he passed a glass to Stalin, he said apologetically that a good martini really should have a twist of lemon.

At six o’clock the following morning, when I came down to the main entrance hall, I was astonished to find, just outside the door to the anteroom, a huge lemon tree—I counted some 200 pieces of fruit on it—which Stalin had ordered flown in from his native Georgia so the President could serve his martinis with a twist.


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I can just imagine Stalin giving the order that lemons be made available - no matter the cost. He would insist on them even if it meant dozens of people dying. Then, when informed that the tree arrived without any deaths being involved, he'd pull out a gun and shoot the messenger.

...and then have one of his doctors killed for sending him "poisoned" lemons.

In fairness to the two, really, Martinis really do require twists, and a good martini is worth quite a bit of effort.

Thank God FDR didn't take his martinis with an olive -- Stalin would have tried to take over Greece.
Oh, wait...

Actually, contra Mr. Hopkins, I believe FDR was actually a fan (possibly even the originator) of the Dirty Martini (scroll down).

Maybe his taste in Martinis changes as he got older.

FDR didn't get much older.

Martinis are like breasts, one is not enough, three is too many.

FDR didn't get much older.

You misunderstand. In the mid-1930s, FDR was famous for drinking Dirty Martinis. If Robert Hopkins is correct, sometime between then and 1945, he had switched to twists.


Ah! The romance of a martini drinkin president.

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