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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, jalapeƱo 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 . . .

                  Cheers,
                  Jason

              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.

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