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Best Gin Martinis?

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  • Dennis Feb 17, 2003 05:25 PM
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Hello,

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.

Dennis

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  1. 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
      f
      Fred and Wilma

      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

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

        1. re: Ruth Lafler

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

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

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

          2. 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!

            Cheers,
            Xochitl10

            1. 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. 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

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

                  1. re: djk

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

                2. 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. 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. 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

                        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

                          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. 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
                          j
                          Jeff Campbell

                          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

                            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.

                              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

                          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

                            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

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

                              Baker Distributing Corp.
                              PO Box 50
                              N. Clarendon, VT 05759
                              ph.802-773-3397

                              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?

                              Dax

                              1. re: Dax

                                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. 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

                              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

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

                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                  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

                                    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

                                      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

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

                                        http://www.saveur.com/article/Wine-an...

                                        1. re: pranksy

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

                                          1. re: Will Owen

                                            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. http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku...

                                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

                                  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

                                    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

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

                                  2. re: J.Dish

                                    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

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

                                    http://home.earthlink.net/~rufener/
                                    --------------------------------------

                                    "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

                                      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

                                        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

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

                                      2. re: Sharuf

                                        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

                                          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

                                          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

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

                                        3. 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

                                            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

                                              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

                                                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

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

                                                  1. re: ginreviews

                                                    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

                                                      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

                                                      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

                                                        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

                                                          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

                                                            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

                                                              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

                                                            1. you forgot Vodka and Vermouth ;)

                                                            2. Amazon.com disagree's with you ;)
                                                            http://amzn.to/1my4CbE

                                                            1. re: ginreviews

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

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

                                                      13 Replies
                                                      1. re: junescook

                                                        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

                                                          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...

                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2919...
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2919...
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2919...
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2919...
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2919...
                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/2919...

                                                          PS - Whatever happened to the Citadelle recommendation?

                                                          1. re: alanbarnes

                                                            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)

                                                            DC

                                                            1. re: don515

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

                                                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesper_%...

                                                              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

                                                                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

                                                                  But isn't Lillet Blanc much dryer?

                                                                  1. re: c oliver

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

                                                                    1. re: ginreviews

                                                                      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

                                                                  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

                                                                    Dan,

                                                                    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

                                                                      No.

                                                                      1. re: EvergreenDan

                                                                        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

                                                              Lillet is a very acceptable substitute for the NP.

                                                            3. >> 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
                                                              Plymouth
                                                              North Shore No 6
                                                              Citadelle

                                                              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. 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

                                                                  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

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

                                                                  23 Replies
                                                                  1. re: RedTop

                                                                    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

                                                                      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

                                                                        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

                                                                          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

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

                                                                            1. re: c oliver

                                                                              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

                                                                                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

                                                                                  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

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

                                                                                2. re: alanbarnes

                                                                                  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

                                                                                    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

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        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

                                                                                          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

                                                                                  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.

                                                                                  http://blog.khymos.org/2007/06/03/new...

                                                                                  1. re: JonParker

                                                                                    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

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        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

                                                                                          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

                                                                                            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

                                                                                              Oh I give up!

                                                                                4. re: RedTop

                                                                                  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:
                                                                                  *Beefeater
                                                                                  *Broker's
                                                                                  *Citadelle

                                                                                  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

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

                                                                                5. 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

                                                                                    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

                                                                                      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

                                                                                        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

                                                                                          If you like Boodles, you will also like Brokers.

                                                                                      2. re: The Big Crunch

                                                                                        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

                                                                                          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. 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

                                                                                          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. 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).