Friday, August 14, 2009

Drink Up: Martini

This is a new little thing I'm trying out. As you may know, booze is like the son I never had. I love a good drink, and I'll drink almost anything: bourbon, whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, rum, brandy; it's all good.

I feel a little selfish keeping all this drinking expertise to myself when it could do so much good for mankind. So for this inaugural installment I'm going to explain how to make a martini the right way. What's 'the right way'? Here's a hint: James Bond is a bad dude, but he doesn't know how to make a martini.

There are a few basic truths about martinis that everyone should know. These are not negotiable:
  1. Martinis are made with gin.
  2. They have only one other ingredient: vermouth.
  3. You stir a martini.

Once you accept those three things, you are ready to make a martini. Note that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a vodka martini; I love them, myself. But if you order a martini in a bar it should be gin. If you want vodka, order a vodka martini. Okay then.

Beyond that, you've got some choices. Do you like your martinis dry? Wet? Perfect? Dirty? Except for that last, those are all just terms that describe what kind of vermouth you like. Dry indicates the use of dry vermouth, whereas wet calls for sweet. Perfect is a blend of the two. Dirty involves adding a dash of olive juice. The resulting cloudiness is what birthed the term.

On a few occasions I was called upon to help out behind the bar at Seasons At Rose Creek, the fancy restaurant I worked at while in college. This is where I perfected my personal recipe:

2 oz Bombay Sapphire
1/2 oz dry vermouth
1 olive (as garnish)

A couple things: the garnish is not an ingredient, so I don't violate rule #2 above. Also, while you should certainly choose your own gin, personally I highly recommend Sapphire. If you can't get that, Beefeater is also high on my list. Use Tanqueray only if drinking distilled pine cones is your thing. Seriously. Most people who tell me they don't like gin complain about the piney taste. It shows that their only experience with the stuff is Tanqueray. Don't drink Tanqueray. I can't stress this enough.

Back to the recipe. If you don't chill your gin, then shame on you. All is not lost though; you can still save the situation. Add the vermouth to a martini glass. Swirl the vermouth around the glass until the inside is thoroughly coated. Dump the vermouth out. It has served its purpose.

Pour the gin into a shaker or glass of ice and stir it. Don't shake it; it waters down the gin too much. Strain the gin into the martini glass. Add the olive (impaled on your most fabulous garnish spear). Congratulations! You've just made a ridiculously good (and very dry) martini.

Drink three or four of those watch your self-esteem and confidence soar (while your motor skills. depth perception and enunciation plummet like America's credit rating).


  1. Ahhhh....chilled Bombay a perfectly constructed, are my hero!

  2. Donna and I are having a date tonight to celebrate my (belated) birthday. I think I will be ordering this very thing. Typing this post the other night made me very thirsty for one.