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Best Gin Martinis?

Dennis Feb 17, 2003 05:25 PM


I am a recent convert to gin martinis.

Before my conversion, my cocktail of choice while dining out was a "Double Tanqueray & Tonic."

However, I began to drift away from this particular drink because there seems to be too many bartenders who don't know how to make them properly.

I have found a great deal of inconsistency in how Double Tanqueray & Tonics are made. I've had many that only tasted like singles. I've had others that tasted like triples -- not that I am complaining.

Okay, back to gin martinis.

About two weeks ago, I was enjoying my second Tanqueray martini. I then asked the bartender: "In your opinion, which brand of gin makes the best gin martini."

He answered confidently and without hesitation: "Bombay. Then Bombay Sapphire."

This was news to me. I had been drinking Tanquray Gin just about all of my drinking life. It has always been my gin of choice. Now I learn that my favorite brand -- Tanqueray -- may not make the best martinis.

Last week, I went back to that same restaurant and asked the bartender to make me a Bombay Sapphire martini. He was right. It was smoother than a Tanquray martini.

For those of you who know your gin and gin martinis, would you agree with this bartender that Tanqueray is at the lower end of the totem pole as far as gin martinis are concerned -- and that Bombay and Bombay Sapphire do make a superior martini?

The bartender also told me that Bombay Sapphire is not the "final word" in gin martinis -- that there are at least a couple of brands that make an even better gin martini.

I told him that I would try one of these "better" brands during my next visit.

Do any of you know of any brand of gin which -- in your opinion -- makes a gin martini superior to one made with Bombay Sapphire?

Another question. For those who are into gin martinis,
which brand would you say makes the best gin martini in the world?

Any and all responses will be appreciated. Thanks in advance.


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  1. r
    Ruth Lafler RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 05:38 PM

    LOL! I'm just going to sit here and wait for the multitude of posts protesting the use -- nay the very existence -- of the term "gin martini", which serious martini drinkers believe that to be redundant, since the only real martinis are made with gin.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Ruth Lafler
      Fred and Wilma RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 17, 2003 06:15 PM

      Yes, but before they do, let's remember that "Gin" is by strict definition a flavoured "Vodka"

      Tanqueray did very well through marketing and by really pointing up the Juniper before anyone else did. (Of course they then had to out do themselves with their #10)

      The trouble with Bombay Sapphire (And also its appeal) is that it drinks like an overoaked wine. It cannot, then, act as a proper companion to vermouth. There is a sweetness to it that makes it quite cloying on the palate. I know it's hard to think of gin being cloying but Sapphire compared to Boodles, Plymouth or Hendricks, is like drinking milk.

      If you don't have vermouth, you don't have a martini. Nothing wrong with ice cold gin but it ain't a martini.

      I bartended for about 18 years in Manhattan and would always make Martini's with Boodles. This is a gin with all of the botanicals in balance and the proper spice to blend with the aromatics in the vermouth. This is what makes the "Martini" such a brilliant drink. It has great potential. If you like the olive, then just have one nestled in the bottom of the glass. I HATE when some yahoo waiter spears three on a stick. It displaces too much booze and ruins the drink.
      On top of that, if you take a twist, it should never stay in the glass. The barman should 'twist' it to spray the oils in the glass and then toss it. The inner part of the twist, the white pith, is bitter and throws off the aforementioned balance between the botanicals and the aromatics.

      1. re: Ruth Lafler
        Donna - MI RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 17, 2003 08:34 PM

        Absolutely agree, Ruth. Vodka does not count when martinis are concerned - only gin does. D.

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          Oohlala! RE: Ruth Lafler Feb 18, 2003 02:27 PM

          I was poised to do exactly that! They are called "vodka martinis" to distinguish them from true martinis.

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            jfloyd RE: Ruth Lafler Dec 16, 2013 04:11 PM

            A martini is gin! Anything else is , well, not a martini!

          2. x
            Xochitl10 RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 05:49 PM

            There are different gins for different occasions, depending on what you want. If you want a dry, light, delicate martini, I recommend either Bombay Sapphire or Citadelle, a wonderful French gin. I like Tanqueray in my medium Martinis, Tanqueray No. Ten if I really want a lush juniper drink. If I want a martini with a little distinction or body to it, I use Tanqueray Malacca (also very good in G & Ts). It's been a while since I've had either Boodles or Plymouth in one, but I recall both of them being good in different ways. Not a big fan of either Gordon's or Beefeater; I find Beefeater too harsh and Gordon's unremarkable.

            The vermouth used (and proportion thereof) also plays on different elements of the gin used. Noilly Prat is very in-your-face and can overpower the more delicate gins; Martini & Rossi (my preferred) and Cinzano, not so much.

            Enjoy your martini adventures!


            1. l
              LindaH RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 05:55 PM

              At least the poster above saved me from having to do the gin & martini redundancy thing....

              For years the only martini I would drink (& I tried others when I had to or on a lark) was Bombay Sapphire very dry - in fact no vermouth is sometimes ok with me. The absolute best IMHO. Then I was dining at Chef Mavro's in Honolulu last year and lo, they did not have it. Our server suggested I try Citadel Gin and with a pout, I agreed. It is the smoothest, most flavorful gin I have had the pleasure of drinking. Even my SO (who prior to this hated gin & would always order vodka martinis) has started drinking it - and that is saying a lot. If you have not tried it, I urge you to do so. As far as the best gin in the world, well so far I don't have the answer to that but will continue my research!

              1. s
                Steve RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 06:16 PM

                By far the smoothest martinis are made with Boodles gin and Martini & Rossi dry vermouth. You will avoid any of the issues that seem to have driven most people to vodka.

                2 Replies
                1. re: Steve
                  djk RE: Steve Feb 17, 2003 06:19 PM

                  Of course one of the main issues is the huge difference in calorie intake......

                  1. re: djk
                    ironmom RE: djk Feb 17, 2003 06:36 PM

                    Huge difference in calorie intake between what and what? All unsweetened distilled spirits with the same alcohol content have the same calorie count.

                2. a
                  Azamiryou RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 06:32 PM

                  Hooh-boy, expect a lot of responses on this one!

                  First, I'd like to point out that if a bartender can't make a good Tanqueray and Tonic, there's _no way_ she'll be able to make a good cocktail. Don't expect switching to Martinis to solve any poor bartender problem.

                  Second, although the gin has a large effect on the flavor of a martini, so does the vermouth, its proportions, and its dilution and chilling. It's very, very possible to find a "Bombay Sapphire Martini" that's exquisite at one bar, and one that's just awful at another bar. If you get a Martini you don't like, don't be too quick to blame the gin...

                  Now, on to the gins. Once you get past store-brand gin, the differences are more in flavor than in quality. Try many different gins. Try them neat. Try them in Martinis. Try them with different proportions of vermouth. Try them with green eggs and ham! :-)

                  I choose my gin and the proportions (and even the garnish - sometimes I want a Gibson instead) depending on the occasion, my mood, the weather, the anticipated meal...

                  Bombay Sapphire is very light and fragrant... I'd even call its flavor (and nose) fragile. It's excellent neat or over crushed ice, and calls for a rather dry Martini. If you mix it as a classic dry martini (2:1 gin:vermouth), a lot of its subtlety will be lost. This should probably be drunk before a meal, not during.

                  Citadelle is like Sapphire, only more so.

                  Tanqueray has a more robust (but maybe simpler) flavor, and can stand up to more vermouth if you are looking for a less dry Martini. In a drier Martini, it can still compete with heartier flavors, like if you're having it with a meal or strongly flavored appetizers.

                  Tanqueray No. 10 is wonderful, and has much "juicier" flavor than other gins. It's robust enough for a lot of vermouth, but I think its flavor is special enough to be highlighted with a drier Martini.

                  Other gins are worth trying, too. Some are quite different (Tanqueray Malacca), and most fall somewhere between Tanqueray and Sapphire with a balance of robust juniper and fragrant botanicals.

                  One final comment - if you don't already, you should definitely get a mixing glass, jigger, bar spoon, strainer, and cocktail glass and make some yourself. It's the only way to experiment with different ingredients and proportions and know for certain what you're getting. The things you learn will give you a great background for experiencing Martinis in bars.

                  1. d
                    Donna - Mi RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 08:29 PM

                    I love Tanqurary. We actually don't drink martinis. We drink Tanq on the rocks with a lemon twist, with a glass of ice on the side. Bombay gin , I don't think - but could be wrong - is really not true gin. More stuff in it. If Tanq is not available - sob - we settle for Beefeaters - but it has much more bite. D.

                    1. z
                      zora RE: Dennis Feb 17, 2003 09:22 PM

                      We've made Boodles martinis at home, for years--with M&R or Boissiere vermouth, olive and a twist (Yellow zest only, no white pith). Many restaurants don't have Boodles, so usually order Bombay if I'm having a martini when eating out. I recently bought a bottle of Plymouth's to try, just because I found it on sale at a great price. May have to think twice about going back to Boodles--Plymouth was just as smooth as Boodles, but seemed to have a bit more depth of flavor.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: zora
                        grayelf RE: zora Apr 4, 2011 06:02 PM

                        I'm a Plymouth fan too -- so much so, that when they started shorting it in BC, I immediately ordered a case. Even if I find another gin I like better, I won't be switching for a while for home-made martinis at least :-).

                        1. re: grayelf
                          c oliver RE: grayelf Apr 4, 2011 06:17 PM

                          I already liked you from your SF posts and now know you like Plymouth...well, I think we need a trip to BC. I really like it also. Had it the first time in England about ten years ago.

                      2. j
                        JudiAU RE: Dennis Feb 18, 2003 11:41 AM

                        My husband (incorrectly) claims that plain Bombay makes a better martini than Bombay Sapphire.

                        Tanqueray makes the perfect gin and tonic or gin and bitter lemon.

                        Sapphire is perfect with a hint vermouth in a very cold, very dry martini.

                        Tanqueray 10 is the best on the rocks with a bit of lime.

                        For a change of pace, Old Raj is especially floral and herbaceous.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: JudiAU
                          Jeff Campbell RE: JudiAU Feb 18, 2003 12:40 PM

                          I agree with your husband- Bombay Sapphire is too bland. We often refer to it as the gin for people who prefer vodka.

                          I think most of the appeal is the packaging.

                          1. re: Jeff Campbell
                            K. McB. RE: Jeff Campbell Feb 19, 2003 09:47 AM

                            Yes, for label queens, the bottle is blue, and it's more expensive. Another thing the kids probably like -- it's higher proof. Especially lethal when scant vermouth involved, as often is the case. (Personally, I despise that style -- if I wanted a bowl of straight gin, I'd order it.) Unfortunately too many bars only stock Sapphire.

                            Just for a change on the wallet, I've been trying other gins in martinis. The Gilbey's really isn't bad at all. And the regular size (750ml? It's smaller than the nasty plastic w/handle jug) comes in a gorgeously old stylee square-ish glass bottle suitable for Nick & Nora's side table.

                            Never liked the Tanqueray in a martini but it's first rate with tonic.

                            1. re: K. McB.
                              JudiAU RE: K. McB. Feb 21, 2003 10:49 AM

                              As my husband said many years ago, when we were working on the ultimate proportions, ordering a dry martini mean you are a sophisticate. Ordering a large glass of cold gin means you are a drunk. =)

                        2. j
                          Jeff Campbell RE: Dennis Feb 18, 2003 04:07 PM

                          My favorite is Vya- complex, makes excellent Martinis and Manhattans. I am surprised that it hasn't been mentioned yet. Is it only available in California?

                          Link: http://www.vya.com

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Jeff Campbell
                            b grubbs RE: Jeff Campbell Feb 18, 2003 09:11 PM

                            Apparently a few bottles sneak out on occasion. I usually pick up a bottle of the sweet on a yearly-or-so trip to Minneapolis (at Surdyk's along w/ a bottle of Herrgards aquavit). It's reportedly available in Massachusetts and not currently available in the state of Vermont.
                            I just ran out and I'm not due back in Minneapolis for months, so hopefully Mass will come through.

                            1. re: b grubbs
                              Dax RE: b grubbs Feb 19, 2003 10:53 AM

                              I was doing research for MA so I figured I'd post this.

                              Baker Distributing Corp.
                              PO Box 50
                              N. Clarendon, VT 05759

                              is listed as a VT distributor of Quady wines. For MA, I called the distributor listed and she said that any of the bigger retailers in the Boston area (Kappy's, Marty's, Martinetti's, Blanchard's) can special order from them if they don't already stock the item. Perhaps the same is true in VT?

                              Good luck.

                              Now does Bitters brand matter? Is Peychaud one of the better ones?


                              1. re: Dax
                                b grubbs RE: Dax Feb 19, 2003 11:36 PM

                                Thanks for the distributor info. I will check it out.

                                As far as I can tell, all the different brands of bitters have different qualities -- Peychaud's is red and shows up in Sazeracs, etc., and perhaps had a role in the invention of the cocktail. Angostura bitters seem more readily available and, at least from the label, are old world. They always get called for as the generic bitters (in Manhattans, etc.).

                                They all seem to have their roots in patent medicines and since they're all proprietary brands, try 'em all and see what you like.

                          2. b
                            Barry Strum RE: Dennis Feb 22, 2011 11:56 AM

                            Frankly, Sapphire is way too alcoholic tasting for me. From my standpoint, though the gin is important , the delicate mixture between gin & vermouth plus cold temps makes the martini. You can make a terrific martini with Gordon's Gin and the right amount of vermouth, etc. As for top shelf stuff: Tanqueray, Bombay (green label with Queen Victoria), Boodles, etc are all fine. I had a martini made with a Portland, Oreg. boutique gin...Aviator..it was fantastic. Hendricks has a delightful taste, but seems more at home in a Pimm's Cup world...........

                            8 Replies
                            1. re: Barry Strum
                              Will Owen RE: Barry Strum Mar 1, 2011 05:00 PM

                              I like Hendrick's, but then my homemade martinis range from about 3:1 to the Fitty-Fitty, which is 1:1 with a dash of bitters. I also enjoy a martini-like drink made about 5:1 with Lillet.

                              For the most part I'm not picky about gin; since most of my sense of smell went south, I have a hard time telling Gilbey's from Seagram's from Burnett. I stay away from Sapphire for the same reason I wouldn't be caught dead driving a Hummer, but as for the taste they're all in the same neighborhood to me, except for Hendrick's. And I know I'm missing a lot of its subtleties, too.

                              1. re: Will Owen
                                EvergreenDan RE: Will Owen Mar 2, 2011 02:25 PM

                                If you order a Fitty-Fitty, I think the bartender will cut you off. ;-)

                                1. re: EvergreenDan
                                  Will Owen RE: EvergreenDan Mar 2, 2011 03:22 PM

                                  If any would it'd be the guy at Jax, who practically spat when I asked if they had Hendrick's, but he made me a perfectly adequate one anyway. This is actually the original Dry Martini, distinguished from the original Martini by its use of dry vermouth instead of sweet. Then some brave soul decided he'd try it at 2:1, and it just went all to hell after that ;-)

                                  1. re: EvergreenDan
                                    EvergreenDan RE: EvergreenDan Mar 2, 2011 04:12 PM

                                    I think you meant Fifty-Fifty, not the stuporific Fitty-Fitty. Although that's what I'm calling it from now on. :)

                                    1. re: EvergreenDan
                                      Will Owen RE: EvergreenDan Mar 3, 2011 01:45 PM

                                      Can't remember his or her name, but there is a well-known mixologist at some famous bar who revived this drink and named it that. See, I have my priorities straight: can't remember either name, but I *DO* remember the recipe! It was in an issue of Saveur, I think, so at some point I'll probably find it again.

                                      1. re: Will Owen
                                        pranksy RE: Will Owen Mar 3, 2011 03:23 PM

                                        You're thinking of Audrey Sanders of Flatiron Lounge and Pegu Club. One of her signature drinks is the Fitty-Fitty.


                                        1. re: pranksy
                                          Will Owen RE: pranksy Mar 3, 2011 03:46 PM

                                          Yes! Thank you - knew someone in this crew would have either the knowledge or the interest in looking it up.

                                          1. re: Will Owen
                                            pranksy RE: Will Owen Mar 3, 2011 04:14 PM

                                            You're welcome. The Audrey Sanders and Fitty-Fitty parts I knew. The Saveur bit I needed to look up. I'm a fan of Audrey and her protege Sasha Petraske. I like their dedication to creating the classics.

                              2. j
                                J.Dish RE: Dennis Feb 25, 2011 10:03 AM


                                Nolet Reserve Gin.

                                That's an $80 martini.

                                Although, I would have to say the stuff is way too floral for my taste... damn near to perfume.

                                I like Hendricks, and I can afford it.

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: J.Dish
                                  invinotheresverde RE: J.Dish Feb 25, 2011 04:30 PM

                                  Interesting. I found the Nolet not to be very floral, but super "hot". I think it's 104 proof? I really can't justify the price. Hendricks is a billion times more floral to me.

                                  1. re: invinotheresverde
                                    J.Dish RE: invinotheresverde Feb 27, 2011 09:15 PM

                                    Did you have the reserve?

                                    Serious perfume.

                                    I could justify the price; there's less than 500 bottles of it in the world.

                                    1. re: J.Dish
                                      invinotheresverde RE: J.Dish Feb 28, 2011 05:58 AM

                                      Yep, it was the reserve. 700 clams is a bit steep.

                                  2. re: J.Dish
                                    tanker64 RE: J.Dish Feb 27, 2011 06:17 AM

                                    I find Hendrick's way to floral. The rose "highlights" are overpowering, especially in a Martini. Sapphire is my standard, Plymouth my favorite (when i can find it).
                                    Agree with the post about garnish.... its a garnish, not the reason for the drink. I do prefer the Gibson over any other version, second is a twist. i think olives change the drink to much.
                                    The vermouth is very important, especially the proportions. I find 3:1 and 4:1 very acceptable. M&R, Noilly Prat both work. Lillet makes a very interesting sub...
                                    Just my two cents.

                                    1. re: tanker64
                                      JonParker RE: tanker64 Mar 9, 2011 01:06 AM

                                      Agree about Hendricks. I think I'm one of the minority who will always choose M&R over Noilly Pratt for dry vermouth, although I do like the Noilly sweet in a Manhattan.

                                  3. s
                                    Sharuf RE: Dennis Mar 2, 2011 07:31 AM

                                    Writer John D. MacDonald was passionately opinionated about gin, and he used his Travis McGee Character to voice his opinions.


                                    "When the proper version of Plymouth gin disappeared, he switched to Boodles.

                                    "With the right bartender and an appropriate companion, he might order The McGee Special. Here it is, from PALE GRAY FOR GUILT, p.21.

                                    "THE "McGEE SPECIAL" MARTINI

                                    '...a familiar face was working the quiet and elegant bar, and he remembered The Drink, and seemed so pleased with himself in remembering, that we each had one, sitting and watching the deftness with silent and respectful attention. Two ample old-fashioned glasses, side by side, filled to the two thirds line with cracked ice. A big, unmeasured slosh of dry sherry into each glass. Then swiftly, the strainer placed across the top of one and then the other, as with a delicate snap of the wrist he dumped the sherry down the drain. Then fill to the ice level with Plymouth gin, rub the lemon peel around the inside of the rim, pinch some little floating beads of citrus oil on the surface of the drink, throw away the peel, present with small tidy bow and flourish to the folk. 'Two McGees,' said he.'"

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: Sharuf
                                      Barry Strum RE: Sharuf Mar 2, 2011 08:30 AM

                                      Thanks for the literary reference. Noilly Pratt is getting harder to find in middle America..Ohio, but it's worth the search.

                                      I've had Martinis served to me with a caper berry as a garnish....nice touch as long as the berry is rinsed. Olives stuffed with anything (including Pimento) leave their indelible mark.

                                      Vodka martini may be an oxymoron...............but the apparent market choice....especially when made with ridiculously over-priced Grey Goose vodka....waste the difference !!

                                      1. re: Barry Strum
                                        JMF RE: Barry Strum Mar 24, 2011 05:56 AM

                                        Noilly Prat was reformulated recently, some think it is better, some worse. I bought a case of the old when I could, and have the new. Just haven't gotten around to a side by side comparison. caper berries are great in a martini.

                                        1. re: JMF
                                          c oliver RE: JMF Mar 24, 2011 06:46 PM

                                          Caper berries ARE great in a martini. Just had some last night.

                                      2. re: Sharuf
                                        JonParker RE: Sharuf Mar 9, 2011 01:04 AM

                                        Incidentally, I think Plymouth production moved back to the UK. I have no way of comparing McGee's Plymouth to what I buy, but it's still my favorite gin.

                                        Funny, I just re-read "Pale Gray" for about the eleventy-billionth time a couple of days ago and was thinking I needed to try making a McGee. I sometimes think Travis wouldn't have found himself in some of his tighter predicaments if he maybe drank a bit less.

                                        1. re: JonParker
                                          JMF RE: JonParker Mar 24, 2011 05:50 AM

                                          Plymouth production has always been in Plymouth, England; and only Plymouth. It is the only gin made in the Plymouth Style. It stopped being imported into the US for a few decades, but has been back for quite awhile. Some people say the formula changed, but I expect the only changes are those you get when the distilling passes from one generation of distillers to another. Same formula, but minute differences in personal style in running the still can make noticeable changes in the spirit. (I liked the older bottle, the one they switched to is too modern, it was an excuse to almost double the price. "Rebranding", hah!)

                                        2. re: Sharuf
                                          JMF RE: Sharuf Mar 24, 2011 05:53 AM

                                          I miss my friend Travis, he helped me get through my late childhood and teens. I have to pull out that series to re-read again. It got me started on Boodles, and made me jump on the Plymouth bandwagon as soon as it became available again in the US.

                                          1. re: JMF
                                            c oliver RE: JMF Mar 24, 2011 06:47 PM

                                            Bob has read and reread Travis. He's now 'considering' passing them on to his daughter. Maybe.

                                        3. m
                                          MartinDC RE: Dennis Mar 22, 2011 10:45 AM

                                          Hhhm ... My house gin is Beefeater, and occasionally Tanqueray. For me, I use whatever gin I have and have done with it. Also, I make sure the vermouth isn't too old. Besides, the best part of a martini is really just standing there looking fabulous with martini glass in your hand.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: MartinDC
                                            ginreviews RE: MartinDC Mar 22, 2011 10:56 AM

                                            Beefeater is a Text book Gin that you simply Can't go wrong with ;) It's one of my top three for a Traditional London Dry Gin

                                            1. re: MartinDC
                                              MGZ RE: MartinDC Mar 22, 2011 10:56 AM

                                              Look fabulous?? Dear god, I hope you were kidding. I put more thought into purchasing each bottle of gin than I did with any article of clothing I've ever owned.

                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                MartinDC RE: MGZ Mar 22, 2011 11:13 AM

                                                Yeah, I was kidding SOMEWHAT. But still, there is an image thing about drinking martinis, and being the one odd guy in the group who orders his with gin instead of vodka, and the others acting all surprised and thinking I'm weird. Then there are those who are programmed to say that gin messes them up big time (which I honestly believe is a myth).

                                                1. re: MartinDC
                                                  ginreviews RE: MartinDC Mar 22, 2011 11:19 AM

                                                  Any drink can be called a Martini, just put it into a martini glass :)

                                                  1. re: ginreviews
                                                    Will Owen RE: ginreviews Mar 22, 2011 11:28 AM

                                                    Any drink CAN be called Yassir Arafat, but that doesn't make it so. Mrs. O has had a fondness for Cosmopolitans, preferably of the most austere variety (frozen vodka and the barest splash of cranberry), for as long as I've known her; it requires a martini glass, but I've never heard her or anyone else call it a "martini".

                                                    1. re: Will Owen
                                                      ginreviews RE: Will Owen Mar 22, 2011 11:30 AM

                                                      It's all about the glass baby :)
                                                      and I couldn't agree more, Gin is where it's at!
                                                      But the Best Gin Martini's are the one's severed at my house

                                                    2. re: ginreviews
                                                      alanbarnes RE: ginreviews Mar 22, 2011 12:23 PM

                                                      1. You can call a drink whatever you want. You can call Pabst Blue Ribbon "champagne" - it's a free country - but that doesn't make your statement true. Anything other than gin and vermouth is **not** a martini.

                                                      2. There's no such thing as a "martini glass." Martinis are generally served up, in which case the proper vessel is a cocktail glass. But they can also be served on the rocks, which properly requires a lowball (aka "old fashioned" or "rocks") glass.

                                                      1. re: alanbarnes
                                                        hazelhurst RE: alanbarnes Mar 22, 2011 12:39 PM

                                                        I'm with you but we are afoul of the Anerican Standard and Safety Manual for the American Standard Dry Martini which, in addition to calling the addition of an onion "an unpardonable affront" (and it is, of course, a Gibson at that point) says that you cannot have them on the rocks. But I do....

                                                        1. re: hazelhurst
                                                          alanbarnes RE: hazelhurst Mar 22, 2011 01:21 PM

                                                          It also excludes a twist as garnish, prohibits the use of 80-proof gin, and recommends a minimum vermouth content of zero and a maximum of 1/16 (but only with 100-proof gin). An amusing read, but not a good definition of the Martini.

                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
                                                            hazelhurst RE: alanbarnes Mar 22, 2011 01:24 PM

                                                            You have to like the light-infusion method...and I appreciate the two permissible hods for stirring..clockwise and counterclockwise. the olive displacement issue must have consumed a lot of time....

                                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                                              tanker64 RE: alanbarnes Mar 26, 2011 06:46 PM

                                                              No wonder I cant get a decent Martini in most "good' bars. 1/16th vermouth is in the "why bother" category.
                                                              And I will die without the onion.......

                                                          2. re: alanbarnes
                                                            ginreviews RE: alanbarnes Mar 22, 2011 12:45 PM

                                                            1. you forgot Vodka and Vermouth ;)

                                                            2. Amazon.com disagree's with you ;)

                                                            1. re: ginreviews
                                                              alanbarnes RE: ginreviews Mar 22, 2011 01:15 PM

                                                              1. Vodka and vermouth is not a martini, it's a Kangaroo. Again, you can call it a Martini if you want, but that doesn't make it so. I'll even bend far enough to sanction calling it a Vodka "Martini" so long as the quote marks are used. But a Martini - without further qualification - is gin and vermouth (and garnish, of course). Period.

                                                              2. Amazon Marketplace allows vendors to describe their merchandise however they want. And some of them use the wrong names for what they're selling. Just because an incorrect usage is increasingly common doesn't make it correct. (Yes, I'm being a prescriptivist here.)

                                                  2. Chinon00 RE: Dennis Mar 22, 2011 11:39 AM

                                                    I'm also a martini lover and generally go with Beefeater. I like to know that I'm drinking;]

                                                    1. junescook RE: Dennis Mar 22, 2011 01:25 PM

                                                      Gibson: Bombay + Noilly Pratt, 4 : 1 with not too much ice.

                                                      13 Replies
                                                      1. re: junescook
                                                        ginreviews RE: junescook Mar 22, 2011 02:30 PM

                                                        Plymouth Gin. It's unique all it's own, the smoothest gin I've ever had. If God made a Martini, it would be with Plymouth Gin

                                                        1. re: ginreviews
                                                          alanbarnes RE: ginreviews Mar 22, 2011 02:48 PM

                                                          Wow, so glad you mentioned Plymouth. Great stuff - it's a shame that it's been completely ignored on this thread over the past eight years.

                                                          Oh, wait...


                                                          PS - Whatever happened to the Citadelle recommendation?

                                                          1. re: alanbarnes
                                                            don515 RE: alanbarnes Mar 22, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                            The NYTIMES did an article bout year and a half ago tested 50 different gins in Martini's and Plymouth was best of show.
                                                            I favorite is
                                                            3 parts Gin
                                                            1 part good vodka
                                                            1/2 part lillet (frence similar to vermouth)


                                                            1. re: don515
                                                              EvergreenDan RE: don515 Mar 23, 2011 09:42 AM

                                                              That would be a Vesper, created by a friend of Ian Flemming for the Bond movie Casino Royale.


                                                              It is a cousin of a Martini, but Lillet is quite sweet and dry vermouth is not. They are sufficiently different that they could probably legally marry, at least in some states.

                                                              www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                              1. re: EvergreenDan
                                                                thew RE: EvergreenDan Mar 23, 2011 10:04 AM

                                                                it was created for the novel - 15 years before the movie

                                                                also, working for memory, the lillet used was a variation of lillet that is no longer produced, that was more bitter than the lillet today because it contained quinine.

                                                                (ok i had to look it up - it was called kina lillet)

                                                                1. re: EvergreenDan
                                                                  c oliver RE: EvergreenDan Mar 24, 2011 06:52 PM

                                                                  But isn't Lillet Blanc much dryer?

                                                                  1. re: c oliver
                                                                    ginreviews RE: c oliver Mar 25, 2011 05:13 AM

                                                                    There are two versions Lillet Blonde (white) and Lillet Rouge (red). Has Anyone tried the Rouge?

                                                                    1. re: ginreviews
                                                                      thew RE: ginreviews Mar 25, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                                      i have. but honestly i could not tell you what it tastes like. if i'm in that sort of mood i go for dubonet - and in my mind the lillet rouge has a similar profile - but honestly i don;t know if that's actually true or not

                                                                2. re: don515
                                                                  EvergreenDan RE: don515 Mar 23, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                                  Yes, book, my error. Funny, since I read a lot of these silly books as a kid.

                                                                  There is some dispute, but most people believe the Lillet changed the formula, making it much less bitter, presumably around the time they dropped Kina from the name. Many feel that today Cocchi Americano is a better substitute for the historic Lillet Kina than is today's Lillet.

                                                                  That said, both are quite sweet and orange-forward whereas dry vermouth is not.

                                                                  www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                  1. re: EvergreenDan
                                                                    ginreviews RE: EvergreenDan Mar 23, 2011 11:46 AM


                                                                    Have you ever placed a bit of midori into your gin martini's?


                                                                    www.ginreviews.com | Gin Reviews from North Shore to Death's Door

                                                                    1. re: ginreviews
                                                                      EvergreenDan RE: ginreviews Mar 23, 2011 04:31 PM


                                                                      1. re: EvergreenDan
                                                                        ginreviews RE: EvergreenDan Mar 23, 2011 04:45 PM

                                                                        Indeed, we call it the Green Lantern
                                                                        3 partsBroker's Gin
                                                                        1 part Midori

                                                                        Shake into a chilled Martini Glass


                                                                        www.ginreviews.com | Gin reviews from North Shore to Death's Door

                                                            2. re: junescook
                                                              tanker64 RE: junescook Mar 26, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                              Lillet is a very acceptable substitute for the NP.

                                                            3. ginreviews RE: Dennis Mar 24, 2011 06:28 PM

                                                              >> Do any of you know of any brand of gin which -- in your opinion -- makes a gin martini superior to one made with Bombay Sapphire?

                                                              From our experience, I would say
                                                              North Shore No 6

                                                              For Martini's

                                                              But we could be horribly wrong in our reviews, I would suggest having a blind taste test between more modern style gins. Even though Bombay says London Dry, I think the White would be a good comparison to the Sapphire. I would throw in a third gin for an element of danger!

                                                              1. b
                                                                brandygirl RE: Dennis Mar 26, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                                In order of preference, my favorite gins are:
                                                                1. Tanqueray 10
                                                                2. Plymouth
                                                                3. Tanqueray
                                                                4. Hendrick's
                                                                5. Boodles
                                                                6. Bombay Saphire
                                                                7. Bombay

                                                                I am not a fan of Beefeater, Gordon, or Gilbey for martinis, but they're okay for gin & tonic. I have not tried Citadelle, Aviator, or No. Shore #6.

                                                                I usually like my martinis served up in a chilled glass, with just a whisper or spray of vermouth, and shaken until your hand is numb. Serve with both an olive and onion, and I am in heaven.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: brandygirl
                                                                  sakeandgin RE: brandygirl Apr 1, 2011 09:01 AM

                                                                  Well when I'm at home my favorite martini is my next one....usually Plymouth but have tried many. Aviation from Portland and Fritz's Junipero are two others I keep at home. Actually asked for a taste when I was at Anchor to no avail. A gin I would love to get my hands on is Plymouth Navy Strength not available in the states.
                                                                  I also find it sad that so many so called upscale restaurants/bars still only have the 2 Bombays, Beefeater and Tanqueray and maybe Hendricks but have vodka in every shape size and flavor staring you in the face

                                                                  1. re: sakeandgin
                                                                    phantomdoc RE: sakeandgin Apr 1, 2011 02:48 PM

                                                                    I had a friend of a friend bring me a bottle of the Plymouth Navy strength from the U.K.. It is harsh as all get out. Cost about $45.
                                                                    I have been loving Plymouth for several years now. Enjoying some Hendricks that came my way by accident.

                                                                2. r
                                                                  RedTop RE: Dennis Apr 2, 2011 12:56 PM

                                                                  I drink Bombay Sapphire neat. It's the only Gin I'll do that way.

                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                  1. re: RedTop
                                                                    c oliver RE: RedTop Apr 2, 2011 02:51 PM

                                                                    Wow, you drink room temperature gin?!? You're a better woman or man than I am. I don't care if it IS Sapphire. Whew.

                                                                    1. re: c oliver
                                                                      ncyankee101 RE: c oliver Apr 2, 2011 07:23 PM

                                                                      I have found a few of the milder gins I have tried are drinkable neat, but then I love peat monster Islay Scotch. New Amsterdam and Seagram's Distillers reserve are both pretty easy to drink, though a little lacking in juniper taste. (I have yet to try hendrick's or sapphire which I have heard are also easy to drink.

                                                                      I can't say the same about others I have tried such as Beefeater, Broker's and Gordon's, though they do hold up better in mixed drinks. Actually I didn't find the taste of Beefeater or Broker's unpleasant, just very strong to drin

                                                                      1. re: ncyankee101
                                                                        TheDewster RE: ncyankee101 Apr 4, 2011 10:03 AM

                                                                        Here is my two cents for what its worth. I use Old Tom Gin (its a sweet gin)and Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth 4 to 1. I like three olives which are kept in Noilly Prat to remove some of the salt hit but not all. Lately I have been experimenting with Old Tom and St-Germaine's Elderflower Liqueur, and twisted orange bitters interesting! Tried a scotch rinse with various gin martini recipes doesn't work with 18 year old macallan the sherry seems to screw it up. Welcome any recipes using gin and scotch rinse. The Martini is such a personal preference its hard to say what the"best" is but roughly: Gin, vermouth, olive or onion/lemon twist and served very cold with no water from the ice.

                                                                        1. re: TheDewster
                                                                          JonParker RE: TheDewster Apr 4, 2011 11:31 AM

                                                                          I think a lot of martini purists, of which I think I am one, would argue that the water from the ice is an essential ingredient. It smooths it out and binds the flavors, if that doesn't sound too pretentious.

                                                                          1. re: JonParker
                                                                            c oliver RE: JonParker Apr 4, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                            So are you saying that you only drink them on the rocks?

                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                              alanbarnes RE: c oliver Apr 4, 2011 06:30 PM

                                                                              I assume he's saying that he ices a martini before straining it into a cocktail glass. There's nothing wrong with a martini on the rocks, either, but they're not so fashionable these days.

                                                                              1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                c oliver RE: alanbarnes Apr 4, 2011 06:48 PM

                                                                                Thanks, alan. I tried for clarification but got deleted. When I have a real, live martini I have it up and really cold. If it starts really cold, it will retain some chill while I'm drinking it. If I don't dawdle :)

                                                                                1. re: c oliver
                                                                                  alanbarnes RE: c oliver Apr 4, 2011 08:11 PM

                                                                                  As Hemingway wrote of Martinis in A Farewell to Arms, "I had never tasted anything so cool and clean. They made me feel civilized."

                                                                                  Which brings us to drink size. The best martini is no more than four ounces; three is better. I guess I don't have any objection to the goldfish-bowl-sized glasses that are so popular, but filling them to the rim nearly guarantees a drink that will end badly.

                                                                                  Speaking of which, Barb had a stroke of genius this weekend. She was served a cocktail in a traditional-sized glass, which made it nearly impossible to take the first sip without spilling. So she invented a new drink, the "Astronaut." The ingredients have yet to be determined, but it will be served on a soggy napkin.

                                                                                  1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                    EvergreenDan RE: alanbarnes Apr 5, 2011 04:30 AM

                                                                                    Astronaut. Soggy napkin. Haha. ha. ..... ha

                                                                                2. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                  JonParker RE: alanbarnes Apr 5, 2011 02:40 AM

                                                                                  That was exactly what I'm saying. The act of stirring or shaking causes some of the ice to melt. Depending on how you put the drink together, the act of pouring the room temperature liquor over the ice will cause still further dilution, although this will be lessened if you add the ice to the liquor. That dilution melds the flavors of the gin and vermouth, and magically you have a martini.

                                                                                  Also, and I am not scientist enough to tell you why this is true, the drink should be stirred with a bar spoon or failing that a table knife. This makes a much colder drink that stirring with a tea spoon or other spoon with a wide bowl. No idea why this is true, but in my experience it is.

                                                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                                                    EvergreenDan RE: JonParker Apr 5, 2011 04:47 AM

                                                                                    If you pour the ingredients over ice, rather than add ice to the mixing glass, the only difference is that you have a head start on the mixing. You may have to stir for a moment longer to get the drink to the same temperature (compared to pouring ingredients over ice, then stirring), but you can arrive at an identical end point of dilution and temperature.

                                                                                    The only difference the stirring spoon makes is the efficiency with which it mixes (how long you have to stir), the tendency of it to break the ice (and possibly overchill and overdilute the drink), and its thermal mass.

                                                                                    If you want a colder drink with less dilution, then you could:
                                                                                    - Start with colder ice, right from a very cold freezer
                                                                                    - If that's not possible, use dry ice without a lot of water clinging to it. Smaller ice has more water clinging to it.
                                                                                    - Start with a frozen mixing vessel of high thermal mass.
                                                                                    - If starting with a room temp mixing vessel, pick one with low thermal mass.
                                                                                    - Start with colder ingredients.
                                                                                    - Use a higher proof gin.
                                                                                    - Use less vermouth (obviously not recommended)
                                                                                    - Use a chilled glass to help maintain the temperature longer.

                                                                                    www.kindredcocktails.com | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

                                                                                    1. re: EvergreenDan
                                                                                      sakeandgin RE: EvergreenDan Apr 5, 2011 10:13 AM

                                                                                      I usa a double wall martini tumbler. It keeps a bit colder than a regular glass and your less likely to knock over the tumbler.

                                                                                      1. re: EvergreenDan
                                                                                        JonParker RE: EvergreenDan Apr 6, 2011 01:56 AM

                                                                                        Dan, thanks for your comments. I tend to add the ice to the liquor since I use a 1950s glass for mixing with the measurements on the outside.

                                                                                        I did experiment with the bowl spoon vs the bar spoon last night, because I do know I end up with a colder drink using the latter. The nearest reason I can figure for this is that the bowl of the spoon moves the ice around the drink, while the bar spoon or rod moves the drink around the ice.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker
                                                                                          JMF RE: JonParker Apr 6, 2011 08:57 AM

                                                                                          sounds like you are not stirring long enough, because with either, once you stir long enough the drink comes to equilibrium. As much ice will melt as possible, and the temp will become as low as possible. Typically this is about 35 seconds with stirring, 17 seconds with shaking.

                                                                                3. re: JonParker
                                                                                  ncyankee101 RE: JonParker Apr 4, 2011 11:47 AM

                                                                                  There is a chemical basis for adding water, it binds with long-chain esters and can subdue some of the more unpleasant aspects of some spirits.


                                                                                  1. re: JonParker
                                                                                    alanbarnes RE: JonParker Apr 4, 2011 11:53 AM

                                                                                    Agreed. IMO a proper martini starts with room-temp gin. When stirred with ice, water melts into the cocktail, the flavors open up, and the botanicals come through. Gin from the freezer just doesn't do this; even if you stir it with ice, it stays at or near bottle proof.

                                                                                    1. re: JonParker
                                                                                      TheDewster RE: JonParker Apr 4, 2011 02:29 PM

                                                                                      I just don't let the drink stand in the shaker long enough to get watery. Everything in the shaker, shake and then everything out into the glass and then dump the ice. Some restaurants have given me Martini's so watery you could taste the freezer burned ice a nasty metallic freon taste. The alcohol and vermouth was washed out. Ultimately a personal preference and every purist I have met have liked my Martini's because I ask them how they like it and make it to order. My parents who are English and in their eighties stir their Martini's in a heavy glass pitcher with a glass rod. Both the pitcher and the rod are chilled with ice first then they dump the ice before the gin and vermouth go in. Now that is dry!

                                                                                      1. re: TheDewster
                                                                                        c oliver RE: TheDewster Apr 4, 2011 04:24 PM

                                                                                        Actually I believe it s the ratio of gin to vermouth that determines the dryness, i.e., 2:1, 4:1, etc.

                                                                                        1. re: TheDewster
                                                                                          JonParker RE: TheDewster Apr 4, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                                          Shaking actually leads to a more diluted martini than stirring. Shaking also allows the ice to fragment, leading to tiny ice shards, as well as a cloudy appearance. If dilution is an issue for you then you should definitely switch to stirred martini

                                                                                          1. re: JonParker
                                                                                            alanbarnes RE: JonParker Apr 4, 2011 06:27 PM

                                                                                            And then there's the question of how **long** to stir. Most bartenders stop once the ingredients are combined and chilled, but the hard-core ones will keep stirring to perfect the final product. It's all trial and error, but a cocktail made with high-proof liquors might take as much as a minute of stirring before its flavors hit their peak.

                                                                                            1. re: alanbarnes
                                                                                              TheDewster RE: alanbarnes Apr 5, 2011 06:28 AM

                                                                                              Oh I give up!

                                                                                4. re: RedTop
                                                                                  ginreviews RE: RedTop Apr 4, 2011 10:11 AM

                                                                                  Red Top,
                                                                                  We have been experimenting with drinking Gin neat, and have found that there are quiet a few that we enjoy neat.
                                                                                  Some of our favorites Neat have been:

                                                                                  While 2 out of three are traditional London Dry, the third one is quiet pleasant.
                                                                                  What are your experiences with drinking all three of these Gins Neat?

                                                                                  1. re: ginreviews
                                                                                    RedTop RE: ginreviews Apr 4, 2011 01:18 PM

                                                                                    Have to admit that the only Gin I've sipped neat is Bombay Sapphire. But you've given me an inspiration G R.

                                                                                5. t
                                                                                  The Big Crunch RE: Dennis Jun 3, 2013 11:30 AM

                                                                                  I've been a Plymouth fan since I learned to enjoy a martini, which was, BTW, when I discovered Plymouth, learned to use a twist instead of olives (yuck) and realized a healthy amount of good vermouth is a must for a good martini. Recently, after the price jump of Plymouth (it is now THE MOST expensive gin at my local store) I bought a bottle of Boodles. It's $23 a bottle, which is still a tad pricey but still $10 cheaper than Plymouth. While a bit more juniper forward, I am happy to report that Boodles makes a wonderful martini, and may relegate Plymouth to a special occasion only or "only-when-specifically-called-for" gin due to its steep price.

                                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                    ncyankee101 RE: The Big Crunch Jun 3, 2013 11:43 AM

                                                                                    Boodles is not available in NC, but I found a 1.75 ltr while on vacation for less than $35. I already had a 750 I had gotten online, and quite liked. I would say it is about as Juniper foward as Broker's, which is my other favorite standard gin.

                                                                                    On another note, I opened my bottles of Boomsma Genever - jonge and oude - this weekend. I was wondering if anyone had tried these in standard gin cocktails, and what allowances you made for the difference in sweetness.

                                                                                    1. re: ncyankee101
                                                                                      The Big Crunch RE: ncyankee101 Jun 3, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                                      So you think Brokers compares well with Boodles? Brokers is even cheaper up here, around $18. When the Boodles runs out (which probably won't happen any time soon) I may give it a try. Weird thing about Boodles is that the price difference up here from the 1 Liter to 1.75 is actually quite negligible compared to the jump for some other products.

                                                                                      1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                        ncyankee101 RE: The Big Crunch Jun 3, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                        I think the juniper intensity is comparable, I don't drink enough gin for my palate to be able to discern the subtle nuances in botanicals that many seem to. I know a lot of others seem to love both, so I don't think you can go wrong with either.

                                                                                        1. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                          hawkeyeui93 RE: The Big Crunch Dec 17, 2013 08:35 AM

                                                                                          If you like Boodles, you will also like Brokers.

                                                                                      2. re: The Big Crunch
                                                                                        JonParker RE: The Big Crunch Jun 3, 2013 02:49 PM

                                                                                        The price jump for Plymouth is criminal, but it's probably due to people like me who kept running around around telling everyone on and offline "OMG IT'S THE BEST GIN EVAH" years ago.

                                                                                        Boodles is a very nice alternative.

                                                                                        1. re: JonParker
                                                                                          hawkeyeui93 RE: JonParker Dec 17, 2013 08:32 AM

                                                                                          I really like Boodles as well, but it has shot up in my market over the last two years as well [from $16 to $21].

                                                                                      3. j
                                                                                        jfloyd RE: Dennis Dec 16, 2013 04:09 PM

                                                                                        Bombay sapphire is an 'infused' gin. If you like a dry martini,
                                                                                        I would not used an infused gin but a 'dry' gin (plain)Bombay is very good, but Beefeaters IMHO makes a better dry martini.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: jfloyd
                                                                                          JMF RE: jfloyd Dec 17, 2013 05:28 AM

                                                                                          Bombay sapphire is not a "infused" gin. There is no such category of gin. There are distilled gins (ones that get the flavor of the botanicals from the distillation process) and compounded gins (which get their flavor from extracts and other compounds being mixed with neutral spirit.

                                                                                          Most distilled gin is in some way infused by letting the botanicals sit in the neutral spirit for a period of time before distillation. Some aren't infused, but the botanicals are in the vapor path in a basket to pick up the flavors. This is sometimes called vapor infusion. Some gins do both. Whether a distilled gin is a London Dry gin, or one of the newer style of gins, the process is basically the same. It is the amount and types of botanicals which determine the flavor.

                                                                                        2. tim irvine RE: Dennis Dec 16, 2013 04:25 PM

                                                                                          How nice to happen upon to a ten year old thread that is still fresh and interesting. I have tried a lot of gins and vermouth a and have decided I prefer a gin that is not as smooth as, say, Plymouth. My martini sweet spot is regular Bombay and Dolin, about three to one. I like Vya, too, but it is so assertive that it seems to me to be a completely different drink. I like olives marinated in vermouth. I like my drink stirred about thirty seconds and poured into an ice chilled glass. All that said the other night I had a Hendricks and Noilly made the same way, and I certainly enjoyed it. I think martinis are the essence of this season, and as my friend Bill Pearce said, "It's like walking into a cloud." Cheers, however you make your true martinis (gin and more than a kiss of vermouth are the requirements here).

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