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Jan 25, 2006 07:45 PM

gin martini

  • c

There seems to be an abundance of new, designer gins available and I am ready to try something new. My regular is Bombay Sapphire. Any one have any recommendations for a great gin martini?

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  1. I enjoy Hendrick's Gin. I think it's pretty new on the market.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Mari

      Would have to 2nd Hendrick's (not sure how new it is), got a bottle for an old pal's BD that's a die-hard gin fan and he loved it, he also liked the bottle I got for him last year, Hampton's ??? (green w/ an orange top, hard to miss). One that I've been unable to find that's supposed to be great is Broker's, it's British and the cap is a derby... still waiting.

      1. re: PolarBear

        Brokers, the one with the derby, is pretty good as well, but not as good as Hendricks or Plymouth. Also Millers is interesting if you like cucumber. It has a strong cucumber taste with a hint of floral, rose I think.

        1. re: JMF

          Hmmm... Miller's sounds interesting especially since I'm looking forward to a trip to New Orleans and having a Pimm's Cup which supposedly is garnished with a slice of cucumber, wonder if there is any connection. And yes, it was three years ago that I turned my pal on to Plymouth. Have to say as a vodka devotee, I've liked all three of these (Hendrick's, Hampton's, Plymouth) gins in a dry martini.

        2. re: PolarBear

          Brokers is available at Nob Hill Grocery in the SF Bay Area.

        3. re: Mari

          New, trendy and absolutely not worth the extra money they charge for it.

          1. re: FrankJBN

            Not that new anymore, though they are really advertising it.

            1. re: FrankJBN

              How can it be new when Mari mentioned it 7 years ago?

              1. re: ac106

                Yeah, it was first released in 1999. When Mari mentioned it as "new" it had already been on the market for 6-7 years.

          2. Hendrick's or Plymouth. The former is more aromatic.

            1 Reply
            1. re: billh

              I'm a gin fanatic and you took the words right out of my mouth. I think Hendrick's and Plymouth are the two tastiest gins currently on the market... and I am going to be marketing my own gins within two years.

            2. If you can find it, Junipero from the Anchor Brewing Co. in
              San Francisco is very, very good. If you're making a martini
              out of it, it might be worth skipping the vermouth and olive.


              4 Replies
              1. re: Antwerp

                Chilled gin alone makes chilled gin, not a martini. :)

                1. re: KB

                  Not to mention that "gin martini" is somewhat redundant. :-)

                  1. re: KB

                    My point exactly!

                  2. re: Antwerp

                    Junipero is pretty good if you really like an overwhelming juniper berry taste/aroma... none of the the other botanicals seem to come through.

                  3. I was really impressed with Hendricks. It is 'super crisp' and 'super dry' to quote the Asahi slogan, and as I recall lets the aromatics really show.

                    1. Well you have gotten plenty of fine gin recs so I will skip that area but add my vote for Plymouth or Hendricks (though I will mention that saphire is a less juniper intensive gin so pick accordingly for your upgrade). I have the Junipero in the house now and it is much more intesnsely Junipe flavored and very spicy.

                      So what are you using, if anything, for vermouth. If you have a skanky old bottle of generic vermouth, try to find some Noilly Pratt or the more upscale Vya. Try old school wet martinis say 2:1 or even 1:1 then look for a bottle of orange bitters and try a dash of that in there.

                      Or perhaps try Degroffs version of the original Martinez cocktail:

                      1.5 gin
                      1.0 vermouth
                      1 dash angostura
                      2 dashes Maraschino

                      Don't worry, that big bottle of Maraschino will go down faster when you add the Aviation coctail to your happy hour.

                      2.0 gin
                      0.5 lemon juice
                      0.5 Maraschino

                      My other current gin fave is Corpse Reviver # 2
                      0.75 gin
                      0.75 cointreau
                      0.75 Lillet Blanc (which subbed for vermouth makes an interesting martini as well)
                      0.75 lemon juice
                      and just a few drops of Absinthe for a background flavor note.

                      Also worth a try are

                      the Delilah
                      1.5 gin
                      0.75 lemon juice
                      0.75 Cointreau

                      2.0 gin
                      1.0 Cointreau
                      0.5 lime juice (or muddle some wedges)
                      Angostura bitters to taste and optional orange bitters to taste


                      8 Replies
                      1. re: Nathan P.

                        The best use I've found for Junipero, beyond iced shots, is:

                        1.0 Junipero
                        1.0 Sweet vermouth
                        1.0 Campari
                        Squeeze of orange.

                        Plymouth distillery gives a great tour, if you ever happen to be
                        in that part of the world.

                        1. re: Antwerp

                          Yeah I agree. The junipero has a real punch that cuts through the vermouth and campari better than any other gin I have tried. I recently picked up a bottle of Carpano's Antica Formula Vermouth which adds another whole level of complexity to the drink. Its almost hard to tell it is the same cocktail -worth a try if you can find it or sub its cousin the punt e mes. Is the Plymouth Navy strength worth searching for? I only see the regular around here.

                          And if you are ever in SF the Anchor brewery does a great tour. I don't know if you get to see the still but I managed to get an invitation to an industry night where I got a private tour that included checking out the stills for the production of gin and their ryes.

                        2. re: Nathan P.

                          John D. MacDonald's Travis McGee series has Travis favoring Plymouth gin. Here's his "McGee Special Martini" from PALE GRAY FOR GUILT, p.21.


                          "...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."


                          1. re: Sharuf

                            Yes... as a McGee fan I remember that quote... and tried it an liked it, although his real favorite was iced mugs of plain Plymouths on the rocks. Once I read that I tried gin on the rocks and never went back to a martini. Just plain gin for me... an "Extra, Extra Dry Martini"

                            1. re: Sharuf

                              I've read all the Travis McGee novels. Didn't he switch to Boodles for a while?


                              1. re: Jim Washburn

                                Hmmm... I can't remember that but possibly. Plymouth wasn't exported to the US for many years and only has been again for a few years, and the price has doubled in the past two years.

                                1. re: Jim Washburn

                                  Yes, Travis switched to Boodles.

                                  Travis' usual at-home drink was Plymouth gin, until in 1974 the inevitable happened. Here is how MacDonald tells it in THE DREADFUL LEMON SKY, p.32. "I...broke out the very last bottle of the Plymouth gin which had been bottled in the United Kingdom. All the others were bottled in the U.S. Gin People, it isn't the same. It's still a pretty good gin, but it is not a superb, stingingly dry, and lovely gin. ...There is something self-destructive about Western technology and distribution. Whenever any consumer object is so excellent that it attracts a devoted following, some of the slide rule and computer types come in on their twinkle toes and take over the store, and in a trice they figure out just how far they can cut quality and still increase the market penetration... Thus the very good things of the world go down the drain, from honest turkey to honest eggs to honest tomatoes. And gin."

                                  I have since heard that the Plymouth Gin co. has been purchased by caring people, and the product restored to its former excellence.

                              2. re: Nathan P.

                                I thought a Martinez has to have Sweet Vermouth? Maybe Degroff's version is different or you just missed adding "sweet". Also, a proper Aviation cocktail needs to have a creme de violet element to make it the right color, i. e. the sky color.