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Jan 19, 2007 07:20 PM

martini anyone?

I'm waiting for 5pm to get here...does anyone have any good martini recipes to get me through these last hours before I go mix myself one?

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  1. Take chilled good gin and pour into a glass that has had a drop of vermouth swished around it...add an olive and you're set...

    Yes - I am a traditionalist...

    1 Reply
    1. re: jbyoga

      A traditionalist would use a heck of a lot more than "a drop of vermouth"

    2. I, too, am a traditionalist. My preference is to add 3 oz. of good gin (such as Beefeater's) to shaker, pass the cap of a bottle of dry vermouth over (or, as Winston Churchill would do, bow in the direction of France), strain, and garnish with an olive. (Some prefer their martini stirred, rather than shaken, as shaking purportedly "bruises" the gin, but I don't buy into this theory.)

      In the original Bond novel Casino Royale (as well as the recent movie), 007's drink of choice is the "Vesper" -- 3 parts gin, 1 part vodka, 1/2 Kina Lillet (a very bitter French aperitif).

      16 Replies
      1. re: RMA

        ahhh...i had a recipe with champagne and lillet and was curious as to what it might be. thanks for the info.

        1. re: RMA

          good gin.. beefeaters?? *chokes*. I've never been able to find anything better than london saffire or tanqueray. those are my top two choices, and I don't really drink anything else much, as far as gin goes. the stirring thing, tho. that's a matter of presentation. when you serve a clear cocktail, you should always stir it, so that it doesn't become foamy and clouded. It should be like serving a gem in a glass, poetically speaking. oh, and a dash of bitters helps a bit.

          1. re: ashwood

            Don't you mean Bombay Sapphire?

            Beefeaters is a very good gin. You could call Beefeaters, Gordons, Bombay (not Sapphire), Tanqueray, and Boodles the classic English Dry Gins.

            1. re: ashwood

              Actually, shaking gin briefly or gently won't cloud it. It is vigorous and long shaking that will temporarily cloud it. The cloudiness goes away as soon as the tiny ice crystals and micro ice chips generated during the shaking melt.

              1. re: ashwood

                I stir. Shaking makes a colder drink and the colder the gin, the less aromatic it is. Shaking is better served with a Vodka "martini."

                1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                  For my everyday martinis, as I mentioned, I have both gin and glasses pre-frozen. I prefer my workaday Gilbey's or Seagram's to be ice-cold, and if they aren't then I like the drink shaken vigorously, because I like those little ice crystals. However, if I'm having a Hendrick's martini (or Fitty-Fitty) I will shake very gently, as those aromatics are precious and worth preserving.

                  1. re: cannedmilkandfruitypebbles

                    I'm not sure shaking will make a colder drink than stirring, if you stir long enough, and assuming you're using bar ice (stored in a bin rather than a freezer, and thus at 0 degrees C). What will vary is the amount of dilution from icemelt, which is partly a function of the amount and size of ice used.

                    Most pros will tell you not to store your spirits in the freezer, as the water from icemelt is an absolutely essential ingredient in most cocktails.

                    Some fascinating (and in some cases, to my mind, nearly impenetrable) science on the impact of various variables in cocktail making on a drink's ultimate temperature and dilution based on type/size of ice, shaker material, and agitation method -- super cocktail nerd stuff -- here:




                    1. re: MC Slim JB

                      A question: are you saying that "warmer" ice is better and colder ice? Perhaps melting quicker and diluting sooner?

                      Just because my freezer is set for 0 degrees F. So is my ice is "colder" than bar ice?

                      Just looking for some clarification.

                      Re shaking vs. stirring and ice shards and dilution, there are interesting arguments against the accepted trends here in the U.S. coming out of Japan and London.

                      See the New York Times for the "hard shake" and anti-dilution argument:


                      And Washington, DC mixologist and blogger for the Atlantic Derek Brown on the need for ice shards in some drinks:


                      1. re: Canadian Tuxedo

                        Interesting: the Times article cites exactly the research of my two links above.

                        I'm not saying one or the other is "better", but it is true that if your freezer is set at a temperature below zero-C, your ice will be colder when it comes out, and thus will chill your drink without dilution until it warms up to zero-C, after which it will further chill the drink via melting, with resultant dilution. Most bar ice is stored in insulated but unrefrigerated bins, and thus is "wet ice", already at zero-C, so it chills only through melting action, with the accompanying effect of dilution.

                        The "zero-dilution" approach is an interesting idea. My own belief is that some level of dilution in cocktails greatly improves their flavor; I used to keep certain spirits in the freezer, but don't anymore. The simplest proof to myself is the difference between fine whiskeys drunk neat vs. the addition of a couple of ice cubes: I think most are much more enjoyable with slight dilution and modest chilling below room temperature.

                        But it's all a matter of preference: I could understand an argument that says "Any dilution reduces the purity and impact of spirits in a cocktail", even if the results weren't to my taste. Of course, too much water is a bad thing in most plain spirits and cocktails: even if you don't mind the paler flavor, the paler appearance is rarely appealing. The overwatered Negroni is a sad-looking thing, indeed.

                        I do like the textural difference as well as the extended chilling that ice shards make in some cocktails (like a Gimlet). Despite having a big collection of vintage cocktail shakers, I'm mostly using my Boston shaker with a Hawthorn strainer at home these days, which is better at allowing ice shards into the drink. I use the julep strainer when I don't want that effect.


                      2. re: MC Slim JB

                        I don't know. While equal amounts of ice in equal amounts of water will eventually produce equal temperatures, agitation does speed the equilibrium (which is why stirring ice cubes in your tea makes them melt faster). Stirring is a less energetic agitation than shaking, thus if you stir one drink for ten seconds and you shake another for ten seconds, then strain both, the stirred drink will be warmer than the shaken one.

                        Your point about icemelt and dilution is well-taken, though.

                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                          Agreed, which I alluded to above when I said, "If you stir long enough." If I'm making cocktails for 12, I will often do the unthinkable, i.e., shake drinks that should be stirred, simply to save time. Most of my friends don't geek out about cocktails the way I do, anyway: no one's going to cry out in horror if their Manhattan is a little cloudy because it includes bitters and I shook instead of stirring.


                          1. re: MC Slim JB

                            If you're making cocktails for 12, I hope you're not making 12 different cocktails! You could simply make one big batch in a pitcher--and stir the whole thing. Assuming, of course, that everyone is drinking Manhattans. Shaking cocktails for 12 is no easy task either. Even in my biggest shaker I can only realistically do two drinks at once, and making six rounds is still quite a bit of work. Perhaps I need to invest in a paint shaker or something?

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro

                              I actually have a party shaker, a 3-part stainless steel thing that holds about a half-gallon, which I use for bulk cocktails. I usually bring it out of the kitchen to shake it; it's kind of a comical sight.

                              With the Boston shaker, it's usually not 12 different cocktails, but 3 or 4 different types isn't unusual. I'm not averse to making pitchers of cocktails for bigger parties: I don't want to spend my whole afternoon or evening working as a barman at my own party. If it's a big shindig, I hire someone.


                  2. re: RMA

                    I am bartender and DON"T SHAKE!!!

                    Sorry, the ice crystals will die down, yes. But there' s something way better about the silky mouthfeel of a stirred martini.

                    But I'm different from most in that I like a little vermouth in my gin martinis...then sometimes I like to upgrade a bit with a dash of bitters.

                    1. re: RMA

                      lillet is not very bitter at all, it';s rather sweet actually ( and yes i know the kina was more bitter than the blanc, and is no longer available. but even so lillet blanc w/ some bitters added is a legit substituion)

                      1. re: RMA

                        Exactly ..that would be original way for gin .

                      2. Oh god, I was just thinking the same thing...

                        My standard martini isn't as strong on account of more vermouth and also shaking w/ice:
                        -1.5oz of gin (Tanqueray, usually)
                        -0.5 oz vermouth (Noilly Prat or Martini)
                        *shake with 4 ice cubes (made with filtered water), strain
                        *garnish with 3 small green stuffed olives

                        Mmmm... martini...

                        1. I prefer an in-and-out vodka martini myself, with a little bit of olive brine. Don't waste the terribly high-end vodkas on this, though.

                          (In-and-out, by the way, means that vermouth is poured over ice in a strainer, stirred, and poured out again, at which point the vodka is added.)

                          1. The late great Lucius Beebe* laid down the rule as far as I'm concerned: "Anything drier than five to one is just iced gin!"

                            Amazing to me to see anyone claim to be a "traditionalist" while spouting the wave-the-vermouth-cork-overhead line. TRADITIONAL equals ORIGINAL in my books, which would be 1:1 plus a dash of bitters; I'll settle for what was current among my parents, which was 4:1 gin and dry vermouth, olive(s) or twist. Shaken if necessary, but I keep both gin and glasses in the freezer, so a brief stir does me fine.

                            Interesting to read that the trend may be reversing: one bar that was written up in the current Saveur offers that original recipe, calling it a Fitty Fitty.

                            * Bon vivant, railroad aficionado, and certainly the only working journalist ever to have his own private rail car!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Will Owen

                              that's a big roj. insisting on almost no vermouth is one of those bits of contagious ignorant snobbery that swish around in bars. i say, if you just want a glass of gin, ask for a glass of gin. that's how the queen plays it.

                              1. re: Will Owen

                                I share your ratio of 4:1, but I don't keep my gin in the freezer, as the slightly melted ice does open up the botanicals for me a little bit... But then again, I also drink my scotch with a splash of water, so whatever.

                                The only thing that bugs me is that I really am not fond of London Dry Gin, not if I have the option for other styles. But a lot of nice places don't have anything but London Dry. I think this is crazy, like if a bar only had Scotch and no other types of whisky/whiskey.

                                Highland Kitchen, right down the street from me, has CapRock which is so good I sometimes have it neat, and if you can find Magellan or Citadelle they are incredible. Try a little Lillet Blanc instead of vermouth and a twist. The last sip of a CapRock martini that's had a twist marinating in it for a while is delicious!