At home, Cocktail, MixMarch

MixMarch #14: The Martini

It’s taken me some time to write about this drink, certainly not by any virtue of dislike, it just seemed when I started this blog that it was pretty well covered elsewhere. After a long time, a lot of martinis and a lot of different viewpoints I’ve come to realise it’s not. There is certainly room in the world for another point of view.

Firstly, Martinis are made with Gin.

Secondly, said Gin is to be mixed with dry vermouth, I like somewhere between four and six parts Gin.

Third, the mixture is to be stirred in an icy vessel to obtain the perfect dilution of spirit, vermouth and icy water.

Next, the resultant elixer is to be strained, up, into the eponymous, stemmed,  inverted triangle glass.

Lastly, the drink must be garnished with either the peel of lemon or olive. the thin oily layer imparted by either adds nirvana to perfection.

A couple of things to focus on when you decide to make a Martini, 1) Cold. Everything you are using should be chilled, the glass, the vessel. 2) The Stir. If you want to make a Martini, you should really buy yourself a barspoon, use its length to get under the ice in your vessel and try to stir the ice as a single block. 3) Preparation. Have everything ready before you start, garnish, glass, everything. 4) Portions. Make smaller drinks, more regularly. A warm Martini is ugly.

This is a drink that will take experimentation. I think that the perfect martini should be strong, cold and almost silky. it takes practice and timing to do this with regularity. Spending the time really is its own reward though…

The drink itself is certainly not the first cocktail, nor the hardest to make or find on a menu. It certainly is the most famous, as the beverage that sums up the cocktail culture, a boozy dream, cold and small enough to down in a gulp. There are a million different people who have a strong opinion on this one, some stir in stemmed Japanese glassware to ward off the warmth of a hand, some will shake (I do not, but one of the best I’ve ever tasted @Naughty Nuri’s in Ubud, Bali was) In some ways at least, everyone is right*

The Dry Martini.

80mls Beefeater Crown Jewel, 15mls Noilly Pratt French Vermouth. Stir over ice, in a vessel. Strain up and garnish with a peel of lemon. Repeat.

* there are obvious exceptions to this rule. Such as:

If it contains vodka, it’s not a Martini, if it contains juice, it’s not a Martini, if it is named for a fruit and ends in ‘tini’, it’s not a Martini, just because it is served in a Martini Glass, doesn’t mean its a martini. If it is just icy cold gin, poured straight from the bottle, it’s not a Martini, it’s just cold Gin…

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6 thoughts on “MixMarch #14: The Martini

  1. I agree with much of what you say but have to say that 85ml of alcohol is waaaay to large for a decent martini… its too big volume-wise and means that the drink will be far too warm before it is finished…

    • everydaydrinking says:

      Nicely spotted Mr. Winchester. Perhaps I should be sharing with a friend or serving half in the glass and half in a tiny carafe on a bed of ice?

  2. Thomas Setter says:

    Couldn’t agree more re the hi jacking of the term Martini by the vodka drinking lobby. The classic gin Martini remains the king of cocktails.
    For my taste Beefeater Crown Jewel is just a tad too strong at 100 proof for Martinis, at that strength good sized one (or two at most) is going to nail you to the floor. I’d use Martin Miller’s 80 proof, smooth tasting and very refined instead.

    • everydaydrinking says:

      Martin Millers does make a fine Martini. I have to put up a little defense though, Crown Jewel is immaculately distilled and while I certainly acknowledge the danger of being nailed to the floor, I think it is worth the risk…

  3. Pingback: The third drink of Christmas: Gin « Everyday Drinking

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