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YOUR Martini

What is your martini? (by which I mean what is your favorite gin-vermouth combo and in what ratio?)

I'm starting with the 50-50 and working the vermouth down which each new combo. Though I should probably be ashamed, I'm currently sitting happily at 3:1 gin to vermouth. I know, I know, but I'm getting there. Tonight was Beefeater and Dolin. Before I've always used Plymouth which I like in other drinks but didn't seem to love in a martini. Then I thought of playing around with the ratios to see what I most liked.

So, just for fun, what is your combo & ratio of choice? Do you add bitters or a garnish?

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  1. I vacillate between four to one and three to one. My current vermouth is Vya. As for gin, Bombay is always nice, but I am enjoying a bottle of Waterloo at the moment. For garnish I like a plump olive but can do fine without garnish. As an accompaniment, jalapeño potato chips.

    1 Reply
    1. re: tim irvine

      Funny about the chips. I also like them with cocktails, but I go for rosemary olive oil chips or plain.

    2. I like 3 to 5:1. I drink 3:1 when I think I'll be having another drink. Good vermouth is key. I'm a fan of Boissiere and Dolin. I didn't care for Vya in a Martini -- too distinctive, although I like it on its own or in a Duplex (with sweet vermouth).

      I suspect that some of the high-vermouth ratio recipes were made during the era where Old Tom was popular. Given how sweet a lot of classic cocktails are, something like a 50:50 Martini made with London Dry would be rather a big departure, no?

      I realize I'm peeing on tradition, but I don't care for orange bitters. I think a Martini is about juniper, not citrus and also there are so, so, so many citrus and specifically orange-centric drinks that I like a Martini to be different. I also prefer an olive to a twist for this reason. Why put the same old garnish in the drink when it (alone) can take an olive. I like a large, flavorful olive, and I enjoy eating it while drinking my Martini.

      While I like Martini's stirred and up, I also like them built on a single large cube. I also like them shaken for a change, but that's mostly because my Dad thought that was special, and a Martini was his drink. I like the raft of ice chips in this case. Different and not for everybody or everyday.

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      3 Replies
      1. re: EvergreenDan

        What a clever notion - 3:1 when you'll be having another drink. I'm going to remember that! I'm glad to see others do 3:1. I think I'll try 4:1 tonight.

        I haven't tried Boissiere. I don't seem to hear much about it here. It is available here, but I travel a bit for it. I don't know that I've seen Vya yet here, but I may just not be paying attention. Can you describe what makes Vya too distinctive? Is it very different from other vermouths?

        I use the lemon twist. I really love lemon, though. I'll have to try an olive (though they are not as easy to get here and very expensive). Do you rinse the brine off first or just put it in as is?

        1. re: tokyopix

          It's been a few years since I had Vya dry in my house, but my recollection is that it was too herbal to simply substitute for another dry vermouth. All I tasted was the vermouth.

          I'd don't rinse the olives. There is nothing wrong with a tiny touch of salt in a cocktail. The about of brine on the exterior of an olive is very small. Nothing wrong with a twist if olives are hard to come by.

          1. re: Andrew_Q

            I agree Vya is very herbal. I am just enjoying it now because that is what is in the house. It is wonderful for cooking, too. I like Noilly and Dolin, too. They definitely give a more classic martini result. When Christmas nears I will likely shift back to Bombay and Dolin at 4:1 or so, maybe with frozen gin in lieu of shaking. Plump, rinsed olive. Oysters on the half shell with a squeeze of lemon and a half grind of pepper. Mmmmm.

      2. 4 parts Stoli(oops is that vodka not gin) 1 part olive juice. Stirred over I'
        Ice and strained into glass. And 4 olives on a toothpick in said glass. Nothing fancy. Just a plain old delicious dirty martini.

        3 Replies
        1. re: miss_belle

          I thought a "plain old dirty martini" had olive juice added to it, as opposed to merely adding extra olives.

          1. re: FrankJBN

            I believe because Miss Belle is subsitituting olive juice for vermouth this is her version of a dirty martini. So it's the combination of adding extra olives and the olive juice that is making it dirty for her. (please excuse the reference of being "dirty" Miss Belle)

            1. re: jrvedivici

              subsitituting olive juice for vermouth

              How the heck did I miss that - thamx

        2. im not the biggest gin fan in the world, so perhaps that is why i feel like it do but......

          you should NOT be ashamed that you like 25 percent of your drink to be vermouth. it IS a martini. way too many drink snobs are out there drinking cold, stirred, gin and calling it a martini, and insisting anyone who doesnt follow suit must not really like this classic cocktail.

          like i said, im not a huge gin guy, but i can enjoy the occasional martini. (i would rather have a manhattan.) i prefer, like you, 3 parts gin to 1 part vermouth. and if i go a splash more than that, its ok. stirred of course. no garnish for me.

          2 Replies
          1. re: charles_sills

            Yes, I'm glad to see here that 3:1 isn't so bad after all! May I ask, what is the gin-vermouth combo you like best? I am a gin fan!

            1. re: tokyopix

              i actually really like Gordons gin, and really dont have a brand preference for vermouth. ive only recently started drinking any cocktails other than old fashions, so maybe if you ask this thread again next year i will tell you i like cold stirred gin, up haha.

          2. 3:1 gin to vermouth.

            Right now, it's No. 209 and Caprano Antica Formula. Sometimes it's Bombay or Boodles.

            7 Replies
            1. re: zin1953

              Well played. No one say "Dry Martini"!

              1. re: EvergreenDan

                Just don't care for a pairing of nothing but sweet vermouth and gin. Even in a Martinez, I still don't like the pairing. I know there are a few cocktails out there that I've tried and liked that were primarily sweet vermouth and gin but for the most part, I don't think the flavors work well together. Then again, that just me. The original martini would have likely been made with sweet vermouth so obviously even a century ago many, many, many cocktail lovers would have disagreed with me.

                1. re: The Big Crunch

                  FWIW, I am *not* a big fan of RED sweet vermouth, but Caprano Formula Antica is another thing entirely. By the same token, most White Ports are produced bone-dry today, but an aged, off-dry White Tawny -- think Churchill's, Messias, or Niepoort (which actually makes a White Porto and a DRY White Porto) -- can be fantastic!

                  Bottom line, of course, is that it's all personal taste . . .


              2. re: zin1953

                So you use a sweet vermouth? I'll have to give that a try. I have a bottle of the Carpano Antica that I bought a few months ago. I haven't opened it yet. I'm waiting for a good run of celebrating and entertaining so that it goes quickly.

                1. re: tokyopix

                  Refrigerate and use a Vacu Vin or similar and sweet vermouth keeps for a loooong time.

                  1. re: EvergreenDan

                    So, is what I think of as a Martini (gin + dry vermouth) in actuality a Dry Martini? Is the version with sweet vermouth then properly a Martini? Or is that a Sweet Martini?

                    Not that it matters a great deal; either way, I'm trying both! I'm just intrigued. I had though for some reason that the use of sweet vermouth would make it another drink.

                    I'll have to google this Vacu Vin of which you speak. Does sweet then keep longer than dry? I thought the rule of thumb was to get through an open bottle of any vermouth in about a month, refrigerating after opening.

                    1. re: tokyopix

                      Reading older cocktail books, a Martini can be made Dry or Sweet (or, for that matter, Perfect). I believe that a plain "Martini" would be ambiguous and might be interpreted as either sweet or dry depending upon the era, location, and actual bar. Certainly in the modern era, "dry" has come to mean using less dry vermouth, rather than using dry vermouth in preference to sweet.

                      Since we don't think of a "Martini" as possibly being sweet these days, I particularly enjoyed zin1953's casual dropping of a sweet vermouth in the post, without further comment.

                      A Martinez is a Sweet Martini with some Maraschino added (essentially), although Savoy has it as a dry vermouth cocttail: http://savoystomp.com/2009/03/14/mart...

                      Refrigeration certainly helps. I haven't done a study on evacuation, but I think others have. I can keep dry vermouth for at least several months under these conditions (quickly evacuating and returning the bottle to the refrigerator). Sweet vermouth keeps much, much longer. The additional sugar may be a preservative, or it may simply mask the vinegar flavor of a wine that's gone off a bit. Don't know. Many sweet vermouths are similar to their dry counterparts, with added / different herbs, sugar, and often caramel coloring.

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

              3. I’m sure I’m going to get chastised for the fact that this is not considered a “Martini” by those purists however since the title is “YOUR MARTINI” this is mine.

                A Stoli Chilled Straight up NOT a DROP of vermouth or olive juice or anything else for that matter. Garnished with in my perfect world 3 tomolives if not then 3 large plump green olives.

                I do have to order it as a Martini simply because you have no idea how many times I order a “Stoli up with olives” do I get a warm rocks glass ¼ -1/2 full with warm vodka and olive thrown in. Even if I specify Stoli chilled up with olives half the time it still comes in a warm rocks glass which immediately starts to zap the chilled out of the vodka. So by saying Stoli Martini Up, no vermouth you get it chilled and served in a chilled Martini glass……..hey it works for me!

                1 Reply
                1. re: jrvedivici

                  Try asking for something "neat". Should provide some fun.

                2. 2.5 oz Plymouth
                  .75 oz. dolin dry
                  2 dashes of orange bitters.
                  Lemon peel garnish.

                  1. 1.5 Oz Beefeater
                    0.75 Oz Noilly Prat Dry
                    Stir for at least 20 seconds, garnish with a single anchovy stuffed olive

                    I arrived at this after much experimentation. Beefeater is my favorite London Dry Gin,and thogh there are several other gins I like, I find Beefeater best when it is such a major flavor component. Noilly Prat is far and away the best available dry vermouth where I live (choices are limited to M&R, NP, Gallo, and Cinzano). I have tried the twist-oranges bitters route, and while I like it, there is just something about the saltiness of the olive that works with the herbal notes in the gin and vermouth combo.

                    1. What I make for the wife. She approves.

                      Bombay Sapphire Gin 3 oz
                      Dolin dry vermouth 0.5 oz
                      long stir, strain, garnish with a single jalapeno stuffed olive

                      1. 3X1 Plymouth Gin with Lillet. Onion garnish makes it a Gibson. On stir vs shake depends on how work was.

                        1. I'm also in the Nick and Nora (3:1) camp with Dolin dry as my dry vermouth of choice.

                          No favorite gin as gin could possibly make up the largest percentage of any spirit in our bar. My wife has been on a Damrack kick recently and I've been toying more with Old Tom and genever.

                          Typically no garnish but I'm not adverse to trying different bitters (no surprise). The only regular garnish I use is a caperberry if the gin is Hendrick's. Lovely combination.

                          1. Gins of choice by order of preference: Bombay Original, Boodles, Beefeater
                            Vermouths of choice by order of preference: Noilly Prat, Martini & Rossi, anything else in a pinch (I use not a lot of it, so it doesn't really matter)
                            Garnish: Cocktail olives (the kind with pimentos), not too big, not too small, about two or three, depending on size, floating around freely and not pierced by a toothpick
                            Ratio: One capful of vermouth at most. The rest is gin. No olive juice to speak of. I like the ultra-dry approach, but the cocktail does need at least a little vermouth.

                            1. Rain Organic Vodka, Rocks, look at vermouth and "never mind", garnish with "Buttermilk Blue" cheese stuffed Queens. Lots of ice...

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: MartiniGenie

                                Lagavulin Single Malt Scotch, Neat, look at sweet vermouth and "never mind", nibble on a chunk of bittersweet chocolate.

                                1. re: EvergreenDan

                                  Here's the martini I like to drink after a hard workout:

                                  Water (tap) on the rocks, look at vermouth and decide against, no garnish :)

                                  1. re: The Big Crunch

                                    I enjoy this as well but I like it shaken for a good five minutes (the colder the better) then put in the freezer for an hour until it reaches a slushy consistency (once again the colder the better.)

                                    If no freezer is available liquid nitrogen will suffice, the most important thing is the colder the better.

                                    1. re: Klunco

                                      What is this, amateur night in Dixie?

                                      Creme de Cacao, up, look at vodka and "never mind", garnish with a heaping scoop of Ben and Jerry's Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

                              2. Hendrick's and M&R dry. Ratio of 2:1. I love gin but more than that just does not do it for me in a martini. Garnish is usually some sort of jalapeno stuffed olive ( brine on, thank you ).

                                1. I love a dirty martini with vodka, and enough tabasco put in to make it a light red color. Mmmmmmm

                                  1. I really like Tanqueray and Dolin Dry (or Boisserie, though it can be hard to find) 3:1 stirred, 2 dashes orange bitters with a twist.

                                    I've tried almost all the classic gins, as well as many of the new ones (even made my own), but for me Tanqueray's simple and direct (bold?) juniper flavor with the crisp bite of both alcohol and coriander make it my favorite for both G&Ts and Martinis. Other gins have intrigued me, but most modern gins I find too soft or subtly flavored. The only other I've really enjoyed is Junipero but it was just too expensive and frankly a bit too hot for me.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: Klunco

                                      Klunco, I am with you except my hint of citrus is from a twist rather than bitters.

                                      2.5 ounces Tanqueray
                                      .5 ounces Dolin
                                      .25 ounces Olive Juice, I use Dirty Sue

                                      Okay, so you are all probably saying wtf right now. But a) I like the ice shards and b) to get everything integrated properly it seems like a little dilution does the trick. I've stirred it using proper "wrist action" for minutes and it gets close but alas, no shards.

                                      Also, I should note, there are some gins I prefer stirred, up and totally naked, but I don't think that is a Martini. That's just a cold shot of gin in a fancy glass.

                                      1. re: ellaystingray

                                        I'd be more concerned about the 1/4 oz of olive juice. Sounds a bit nasty to me, but hey, if you like it...

                                        I don't drink a lot of Martinis so wouldn't say I have a favorite combo, but for the gin, Tanqueray or Bombay Dry, for the vermouth, Noilly Prat or Dolin, lemon twist. At home I usually add orange bitters. Probably 3:1 or 4:1. After getting through a handle of Tanqueray, I have to say the Bombay doesn't taste as punchy as it used to.

                                        1. re: nickls

                                          The tiny amount of olive juice serves as just a touch of salty without really providing the strong briney characteristic of a true dirty martini which I don't really care for despite my love of olives. Think of it like salting a dish where you don't really taste salt per se, but without it there, the flavors aren't as complex.


                                    2. Here's mine, maybe a bit more vegetal than others but I like it a lot:

                                      3oz Beefeater
                                      1oz fresh Noilly Prat (loving the "new" formulation, BTW)
                                      1ds celery bitters (I'm using Scrappy's)
                                      1 barspoon fresh Tomolive brine
                                      Stir for 30 seconds or so, garnish with a Tomolive.

                                      As a preprandial, I really prefer its savory/vegetal slant. And that touch of fresh Tomolive brine really makes the gin botanicals pop, but no more than a touch and that brine has to be totally fresh!

                                      1. 2:1. I like Plymouth and Dolin Dry for a Dry Martini, and a more robust gin, such as 209, plus Dolin Blanc for something a bit wetter. Either way, add a dash or two of orange bitters (Angostura for me), stir with plenty of ice, strain, and garnish with a lemon twist.

                                        Olives on the side, for eating.

                                        Not at all my favorite cocktail, but now and again a martini really does hit the spot.