It’s Monday, I’ve been working double shifts all weekend, so its time to relax and have a Martini. A real Martini. It would seem simple enough, but in an age where everything contains some sweet flavored vodka, its time to get back to basics, and the most basic is an Original Gin Martini.
Just so you know, the original Martini was in fact made with Gin, never vodka. A vodka martini was made fashionable by Ian Fleming’s James Bond character. Spy 007 was a rough and tumble guy in these novels, not a dashing gentleman that Hollywood originally made him out to be. So when he wanted a “vodka martini, shaken not stirred” he was actually being quite the rebel. You don’t make a Martini with anything other than gin, and you certainly don’t shake it, because the ice would “bruise” the botanical herbs its flavored with.
Vodka wouldn’t have that problem, it has no flavoring, and the colder its served, the better it is. Gin however is the exact same spirit but flavored with many botanicals including juniper (always) and often citrus and other natural herbs. As with any cocktail, wine, or even beer, the colder it becomes, the more you freeze out the flavor its famous for. The key to any cocktail, wine or beer which is perfectly chilled. Not so cold you can’t taste anything but the icy sting on your tongue, and certainly not slightly cool to the point where its warm within minutes of serving it and becoming unpleasant.
There are a million arguments as to what the martini is, what it should be, and how it was originally made. The fact of the matter is, like anything else, its the way you enjoy it best. So here are two versions, the first as the original was made, and the second is how I prefer to make it.
- 5 Parts Plymouth or London Dry Gin
- 1 Part Dry Vermouth
- 1 Dash of Angostura Bitters
Simply combine all ingredients and stir vigorously with fresh, clean ice at least 50 times. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with citrus rind (lemon or orange), or you can go with the brined green olive. I prefer the citrus stuffed green olive.
MY FAVORITE MARTINI
- 5 Parts Tanquray 10 or Bulldog Gin
- 1 Part (or less) Dry Vermouth
- 3 Dashes of Fee Brothers Orange Bitters
- Fresh Lemon Rind
In spite of everything I wrote above, I love my martinis ice cold. I add all ingredients to a shaker full of ice, and shake it very hard for at least a minute. I strain it into a martini glass, rub the rim with the lemon rind, twist it, and drop it into the drink and enjoy. After a few sips, I am feeling fine and by time I am done with it a half hour later, its still cold.