Bartender Make Me Several Perfect Martinis

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe Martini! The illustrious Martini. It It has a glamorous allure few cocktails can match.

It achieves its special brand of alchemy by balancing the sharpness of juniper berries in excellent gin, with the earthy herbal qualities of good vermouth.

The ratios are very important– and much discussed. Though Steve Allen may have famously quipped, ‘Do not allow children to mix drinks, it is unseemly and they always use too much vermouth’. In truth there is some room for personal preference regarding the exact balance of gin to vermouth.

Lately the style has been to make Martinis a bit too dry in my opinion. Many great mixologists recommend swirling the vermouth in the shaker, then discarding it. I personally disagree with this method. A classic Martini has 1/2-ounce vermouth to 2 ounces of gin; a dry martini should have about 1/4-ounce vermouth.

And speaking of shakers, despite what James Bond may have said, a true Martini is never shaken. It is always stirred. A shaken Martini is properly called a Bradford. I have another great quote that I believe puts the shaken or stirred question to rest. It comes from W. Somerset Maugham. He said, ‘Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously on top of each other’. I sensuously agree!

Still, the origins of the Martini are a bit shaky (chuckle chuckle). I have read that the drink was invented by the British in the late 1800s and was named after the Martini-Henry rifle. The type favored by the royal army. A more enduring theory states that the libation was created at New York’s Knickerbocker Hotel about 1910, by a bartender with the rather flamboyant name of Martini di Arma di Traggi. It is also said that it was his regular customers that changed the garnish from lemon to olive.

In truth, the truth may never be known. Perhaps this adds to this cocktail’s allure. However, a bit of research into old cocktails books does tell us one thing for sure. The original ratio was equal parts London dry gin and Noilly Prat dry French vermouth with a dash orange bitters.

Lastly, the ingredients must be icy cold. Ideally the gin, vermouth, the glasses for stirring and serving should be kept in the freezer. Use cracked ice, not cubes and never ever use crushed ice. The mixture should be stirred for a fairly long time. You will know when it’s ready to be strained because the mixing glass (ideally metallic) will turn frosty. GREG

Sippity Sup’s Current Favorite Martini

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • Green olive as garnish

Original Martini

  • 1 1/2 ounce gin
  • 1 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Dash of orange bitter
  • Lemon twist as garnish

Classic Martini

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist or green olive as garnish

Dry Martini

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/4 ounce dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist as garnish

Extra Dry Martini

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist as garnish

“Perfect” Martini (this is its name not a declaration from me)

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2-ounce sweet vermouth
  • Orange slice as garnish

Dirty Martini

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2-ounce brine from cocktail olives
  • Green olive as garnish

Naked Martini

  • 3-ounce gin
  • Lemon twist or green olive as garnish

Knickerbocker

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2-ounce sweet vermouth
  • Dash of orange bitters
  • Lemon twist as garnish

Smoky Martini

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/4-ounce single-malt scotch
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry vermouth
  • Lemon twist as garnish

Gibson

  • 2-ounce gin
  • 1/4 teaspoon dry vermouth
  • Cocktail onion as garnish

Greg Henry writes the food blog Sippity Sup- Serious Fun Food, and contributes the Friday column on entertaining for The Back Burner at Key Ingredient. He’s active in the food blogging community, and a popular speaker at IFBCFood Buzz Festival and Camp Blogaway. He’s led cooking demonstrations in Panama & Costa Rica, and has traveled as far and wide as Norway to promote culinary travel. He’s been featured inFood & Wine MagazineLos Angeles TimesMore MagazineThe Today Show Online and Saveur’s Best of the Web. Greg also co-hosts The Table Set podcast which can be downloaded on iTunes or atHomefries Podcast Network.