October 22, 1999; January 1, 2001


References in the sub-heading "nicknames for" under "Martini" in the Index to M,SU (151/1 top).  Checking the references, I find that the indexer took "Gibson" as a nickname and thus cited 48, 49, 85, 141n59 in addition to some other pages.  I would say that "Gibson" is linguistically in a category different from nicknames like "deep dish olive pie."  It refers to a traditional Martini with a particular garnish and conveys nothing about the nature of the drink or the speaker's attitude toward it.

In August 1999, Brian Rea told me of a Cold War acronym-nickname for the Martini that had somehow escaped me: "ICBM," standing for "Ice Cold Beefeater Martini," with implicit comparison to "Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile."  Like "Silver Bullet," the nickname points to the lethal quality of the drink.

I refer to the Cold War on 37 and 123 of M,SU but "Cold War" did not make it into the Index.  The Martini and the Cold Warrior go together.  It is another combination on which more could have been, still could be, written.

A nickname new to me turns up in Rosalind Wilson's memoir of her father, Edmund.  She is describing, Walter Mumm (of the champagne family), a brother of her step-mother: "He was a heavy drinker, always talking about 'martinilets' and using diminutives for liquor just as my father said 'a teeny-weeny little drink'."*

*Rosalind Baker Wilson, Near the Magician: A Memoir of My Father, Edmund Wilson (New York: Grove WEidenfeld, 1989), 210.





© 2001, Lowell Edmunds