The martini is one of the most iconic alcoholic drinks of all time, and for good reason. There’s a million variations and ways to make it. So not a lot of people can agree on which way is best. But here we’re going to outline how to make the original Gin martini that started the whole fad.
Everyone should know how to make a classic martini before moving on to more complex concoctions. This iconic drink traditionally only had two ingredients. Gin and a dry Vermouth. But choosing exactly which gin and which vermouth can be a art-form in itself.
Why Gin over Vodka?
At most martini bars and clubs nowadays you’ll find a pretty even mix of Martinis consisting of both Gin and Vodka. And although Vodka can be useful in mixed drinks as a more flavor-neutral alcohol, Gin typically creates a more robust flavor that is part of the allure of this iconic beverage. Most Gins have a bit of a juniper-strong flavor (often described as pine-like). Which is why it pairs so well with the herbal qualities of a Vermouth. A more palatable vodka would not add much to that herbal quality.
Which Gin Should You Choose?
As mentioned before the goal should be to find a gin that pairs well with the dry vermouth. In such you want to search for something with more botanical and herbal flavors to really complete the taste.
Chilled Magazine lists Hendricks Orbium Gin as one of the best gins to use for martinis for just this very reason. Notes of wormwood and lotus blossom help complete the drink. And at only around 41$ per bottle you can’t go wrong.
If however this is still a bit out of your price range a simple dry gin like Tanqueray should do just fine. Although it might be a bit lacking in the botanical flavors.
Which Vermouth Should You Choose?
As stated earlier a dry vermouth is key. But even then there’s a lot of options to choose from. Given the often powerful taste of this fortified wine you want to make sure you get it right the first time. For those of us who aren’t exactly sommeliers it might be tough to dive into the world of wine and know what we’re doing. Choosing the right vermouth is much a matter of taste, but ultimately you just want to choose what best supports the chosen Gin.
For a more subtle flavor you might want to go with something like Dolin Dry Vermouth or a Cocchi Americano. For something a bit more complex you might want to go with an Alessio Vermouth Bianco or a Ransom Dry Vermouth.
Shaken Or Stirred?
You might remember this iconic line from the James Bond films. But much to Bond’s dismay, the correct answer here is actually Stirred. The reason for this is that shaking a martini can ruin some of the more subtle flavors of both the gin and vermouth. Although Shaking might be a preferable option if you want a quickly chilled drink.
Choosing the Right Garnish.
For this one there’s no right answer. Typically this is done with a either a lemon peel or olives. But this largely depends on how your Martini turned out and what compliments those flavors best. So i’d encourage readers to try both and see which one works best with their drink.
For the lemon wedge what you’ll want to do is get a small twisted lemon peel and squeeze the back of it on the rim of the glass before dropping it into the drink. For the olives you’ll want a few of them on a toothpick sitting in the glass.
How To Make a Traditional Martini
- 2 1/2 ounces of gin(preferred) or vodka
- 1/2 ounce of dry vermouth
- Lemon peel twist or olives, for garnish
- Mixing glass(preferred) or shaker
- Fine-mesh strainer (if shaking the martini)
- Measuring glass
- Martini glass
- Pairing knife if using lemon wedge
- Tooth pick if using olives
- Chill the martini glass by putting it in the freezer
- Add liquid ingredients to the mixing glass or cocktail shaker
- If stirring, add ice cubes are stir gently for about 30 seconds. If shaking add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously, strain after shaking.
- Garnish with preferred topping
At the end of the day the only right way to make a traditional martini is the way you like it. There’s tons of variance in the ingredients you choose so experiment and find what best suits your pallet.