So let’s just be clear: we are not discussing litchi martinis or appletinis here but the real martinis (the cocktail not the brand). We already have some of you making faces but how well do you know martinis? Wet? Dry? Extra dry? What’s a good martini anyway? Well it all depends on your taste but we’ll make sure you find your next favorite drink (it might not happen today and you might need a few trials and errors but we’ll get there!). Here at MMM, we attended a little martini class with Ali Dedianko, a cocktail expert from Belvedere and basically we can tell you martinis are so full of options you can easily adapt them to very different situations and different tastes. So really all you have to do is remember a few things and go ahead and test them out (yes, we just gave you another reason to get more drinks. You’re welcome!).
First thing first, gin or vodka? It’s really the base for a martini. Vodka Martinis are trendier nowadays but what matters most is getting a high quality spirit. And we mean the type that doesn’t taste like rubbing alcohol and doesn’t give you a bad headache the next morning (given that you haven’t been drinking the whole bottle by yourself of course).
Then, do you want it shaken or stirred? If by any chance you stepped out of your house feeling like James Bond (it happens you know!) well you want it shaken. Most of the time, however, you’ll get it stirred simply because that’s of bartending rules when it comes to spirits. At the end of the day it’s really just a difference in texture: the latter will feel fresher and energetic (perfect for a lunch or an afternoon drink) compared to the later which is smoother.
Vermouth? Well it is the second most important element of a martini. And what’s vermouth? It’s aromatized wine. You can find a big variety of them but we’ll divide them between whether they are sweet or not. Once again there’s no right or wrong here, it’s just a matter of choice. The most common are Little Blanc, one of the sweet type and Martini (now the brand and not the cocktail) or Dolin Dry that are … drums rolls…. Well dry(er).
Now, do you want it dry? Wet? Naked maybe? So here that’s really just the vermouth to spirit ratio we’re talking about. A wet martini is going to have as much as twice the amount of vermouth for the same quantity of spirit. You can leave the math to the barman because what that means is simply that a dry martini is stronger. And lately the trend is to naked martinis which are, as you surely guessed, without any vermouth.
An olive on top? A twist of lemon? The garnish is the last step: you’ll mostly get to choose between an olive and a twist of lemon but if tonight you are feeling like Rockefeller after all you can just go for both. That’s it, you are ready for a round of tests, may it be in your living room or out at your favorite bar. So now, how do you like your martini?