September 19, 2013

Shaken and Stirred

Martini glass courtesy of American Retro Bar and Grill—a lovely place to have martinis

I had this soap in my imagination a long time before it finally came to be—and it's not quite the way I pictured it, but I've gotten over that.

It's a soap version of a martini in the shape of an olive. I'm a purist when it comes to martinis, by the way. They should only come in two flavors: gin or vodka. If it tastes like chocolate or peaches, it's not a martini. It is acceptable (and wonderful) however to infuse you vodka with rosemary or mint or any other herb.

Anyway, back to the soap. The 'olive' part made with a lye infusion of reduced dry vermouth (recently found in my cupboard and leftover from an old, old boyfriend who made the best dirty martinis I ever had) and juniper berries (from my garden). The concoction smelled pretty…powerful when I mixed it, but I'm beginning to actually like the smell of lye and booze. I hope that's not an indication of some strange neuroses.

My lye mixture


I knew the vermouth was going to darken the soap and my olive oil infused with lemongrass and lime basil might end up muddy, so I added some French green clay. Essential oils of juniper, lime and may chang. This was all poured into a mold I made from a mailing tube with a paper towel roll inside to create a cavity for the 'pimento' part.

My mold

It's sort of a reverse embed. The pimento was made of melt and pour soap with Moroccan red clay (that's what my (Not Seeing) Red experiment was all about). I figured an embed of melt and pour would probably lose its shape when cold process soap was poured over it.

And the olive part came out fine—a perfect shade of green. I took it out of the mold after a day and then turned it into a mold (or so I thought) by rubber banding a Ziploc bag on the bottom.

But alas! When I poured the melt and pour into the cavity it began leaking out the bottom. Which is odd since the cold process didn't leak out...

I panicked. This was not a cheap recipe. The red clay, melt and pour base and essential oils cost the same as a night drinking real martinis in the Meat Packing District. I was not going to let this go to waste.

So I started scooping the leaked-out soap back into the cavity while adding shredded soap scraps I had hanging around. Eventually, the melt and pour started to cool at the bottom and created a seal so it stopped leaking out. I ended up with a not-so-solid reddish, pinkish center.

But months later, it's cured and fabulous. Really lush, stiff lather. I love it for shaving my legs and the fragrance is intoxicating, of course.

I might give a bar to that old, old boyfriend who made the great dirty martinis. I haven't spoken to him ages. Maybe he's been deported.

If you like this blog, check out my new one: The Haley Maxwell Soap Making Mysteries