Editor's Note: As John Podhoretz describes him, Werner J. Dannhauser, the former Commentary editor and Cornell professor who died on Saturday at age 84, was a rarity—a deeply serious intellectual and life-loving party animal. We were honored to publish him many time during the Reagan years, and perhaps nowhere so perfectly as in this “unforgettable, unimprovable” (as a knowing friend calls it) tribute to the martini. Who can ever drink one and not think of him?
I HAVE NEVER met a martini I did not like. Under no circumstances would I assert that any martini is as good as any other; my mind may be soaked, but not in rampant egalitarianism. I am willing to argue, however, that while the best martini demands to be called "perfect," the worst is nevertheless passable, and far better than no martini at all.