The dry martini is the king of cocktails. It is a drink by which every bartender has to be measured and around which there are more stories than any other cocktail.
More vermouth or more gin? Olive or lemon zest? Orange bitters or not? And of course the all-important question: shaken or stirred?
It is actually simple. There is no right answer, because every Martini drinker has his own preferences, and every preference has its justification.
The standard for vermouth today is around 1/2 ounce or lesser of dry vermouth. But the amount of vermouth is usually measured according to taste, whereby the following applies: the lesser vermouth, the drier the martini.
This cocktail works best with a high-quality London Dry Gin and a beautiful Dry Vermouth.
Dry Martini: Vodka vs Gin
The first big shock for most of those who mix a martini for the first time comes with the choice of spirit. “You make it with gin. James Bond always drinks it with vodka?”
In fact, Bond usually drinks the cocktail with vodka and then he explicitly calls it vodka martini.
A classic martini is mixed with gin. Gin also accounts for the lion’s share of the drink, similar to whiskey in the Old Fashioned, for example.
The gin you work with should also tastes good. So good that you can get it down without having to add much tonic water – that’s what a martini is all about.
Martini without the Martini?
The fact that there exists a vermouth called Martini, that has nothing to do with the Martini cocktail recipe causes a lot of confusion for a lot of people.
The fact is vermouth belongs in a martini, in the classic dry variant in a ratio of 5:1. This makes the Martini quite dry, so we recommend a 4:1 ratio.
If you love vermouth, try mixing a ratio of 2:1.
For a dry martini you need a dry, white vermouth. Red, sweet wormwood results in a sweet martini with pink color. If you add maraschino to it you get a Martinez.
The Right Vermouth
The best known and most used vermouth brand for the martini is probably the Noilly Prat from France, which also fits most gins. Noilly Prat is comparatively intense and can therefore hold its own against strong gins.
- 2 oz gin
- 1/2 oz dry vermouth
- 1 dash orange or aromatic bitters optional
- Ice cubes
- Garnish: lemon twist or 1 or 3 olives
- Pre-cool a martini glass.
- Put ice cubes in the shaker.
- Pour vermouth on top and stir with the cocktail stirrer.
- Pour the gin in the shaker.
- Stir for about half a minute with the cocktail stirrer.
- Pour the contents through a strainer into the martini glass. Don’t add the ice too.
- Squeeze and spray the oils from a lemon zest onto the glass.
- Garnish with an olive or with lemon zest.
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