I came late to the Martini; nursing a suspicious contempt for guys clutching the stems of their perilously proportioned glasses. The foundation of my contempt was a dislike for clear spirits. My weapon of choice in bars was scotch and soda, something I'd probably picked up from a movie. The decision was perversely validated for me every time I saw Jimmy Stewart in Vertigo.
I would later learn than my disregard for clear spirits was actually a dislike for gin, and so began a years long commitment to the vodka martini. Many of my co-workers and, increasingly, my wife like their vodka martini's dirty. I find that the pungent and salty aromatics of quality olive brine disguise the alcoholic punch of my beloved Ketel One.
Over the recent holiday break, while shopping in Oakland's China Town, I was overwhelmed by a sudden need for Kim Chee. A few nights later I threw together a vodka martini and dirtied it up with some of the larger cabbage chunks from my jar of kim chee. I chumped out some and threw in a slice of Key Lime. Not necessary, the Seoul Train was born.
The vinegar in the kim chee performs a function similar to the salt in olive brine; the spiciness of the kim chee is akin to, say, a jalapeno stuffed olive. The photo above doesn't quite do it justice, the Seoul Train is in back after all. I'll upload another when the opportunity arises.