Martini is the best cocktail ever invented, period. So simple and elegant, yet so sophisticated. With only three ingredients, Martini is the quintessential test for any bartender’s skills, because it’s easy to learn yet difficult to master.
The discerning gentleman always starts the evening or lunch with a martini or three, since no cocktail comes even close in the aperatif department (well, except maybe the negroni). Without further ado, here’s how you make a martini:
- 2 oz. Gin, preferably London Dry
- 0.7 oz. Dry Vermouth, preferably French
- 1 green olive
- Stir gin and vermouth in a mixing glass over ice until cold, for about 30 seconds
- Pour into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a single olive
Gentlemen’s Guide to a Proper Martini
“The martini is a purely American drink, and therefore people should be exercise freedom of speech when requesting one” proclaims Gary Regan in his excellent book The Joy of Mixology. While I have strong opinions about how a martini should be made, I can’t argue with such sturdy American logic. However, I will try anyway:
Gin vs. Vodka: Gin, preferably London Dry. Tanqueray Ten, Sipsmith, Plymouth are all great options. Craft gins tend to produce “experimental” martinis which range from amazing to undrinkable, experiment cautiously. Always use room temperature spirit when mixing, as chilled or frozen spirits lead to inadequate dilution which tilts the balance towards unpalatable. Vodka is only acceptable if you want a really Dirty Martini.
Vermouth: In my many years of “research”, I’ve concluded that dry French vermouths are better suited for Martinis than herbaceous Italian vermouths. Dolin Dry should be the first choice, but in its absence, Noilly Prat would be perfectly acceptable too.
Vermouth to Gin Ratio: 1:3. Any less and you’re drinking chilled gin, and any more and it becomes too wet. This is the golden ratio.
Shaken vs. Stirred: Ah, the age old dilemma. Unlike Mr. Bond, I prefer stirred, simply because it produces a clearer drink. Unless it’s a dirty martini, in which case shaking is the way to go. In either case, finding the right balance between temperature and dilution is key. You’re aiming for a properly chilled drink that’s easy to drink, yet not watered down.
Glassware: A martini glass or a coupé, properly chilled. A room temperature glass is a cardinal sin.
Olive vs. Lemon Peel: Olive. “One is elegant, two is proper and three is a meal”. Not sure who said it but I concur. Castelvetrano olives are usually a great choice. Try to stay away from stuffed olives unless you enjoy a slimy layer on top.
There you go, everything you need to make the perfect martini at home.