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