Posted by Degan on February 28th, 2011
Bartender’s Basics: Proper Martini
I came across this post at the beginning of the year and I keep coming back to it. I love the idea of having a half sack of basic drinks that I know how to make and have the ingredients for.
He refers to the “Embury 6″, Embury being the author of The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks,
circa 1948. At that time, the basics were the Martini, the Manhattan, the Old-Fashioned, the Daiquiri, the Side Car and the Jack Rose. They’re a little dated (when was the last time you had a Jack Rose?) but the fact that so many of them are still ordered nightly mean they are truly classics. The post runs through 2 more updated lists, prompting me to create my own:
1. Martini - because a proper martini is a thing of beauty.
2. Old-Fashioned – because I love them and everyone makes it just a little bit differently.
3. Mojito - another classic that’s a bit more of a challenge, particularly because it pretty much requires you to have a mint plant to be able to make it at the drop of a hat.
4. Margarita - a drink I’ve somehow never mastered, despite my love of tequila.
5. Negroni - an old favorite that still has lots of room for variation.
6. Sidecar - I have actually never had a side car, although I’ve had countless variations on the theme. Time to get back to basics.
7. Sazerac - because both Matt and I love them.
So, first up is the martini. The classic martini goes back about 150 years and has branched out into literally thousands of (mostly revolting) flavours. Just because it’s in a martini glass does not make it a martini! Although you can still get pretty fancy about it.
- 1.5 oz of London Dry Gin
- Splash of Dry Vermouth
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
I like Bombay Sapphire Gin because it’s affordable and decent quality, but I’m also quite fond of mixing it up. For vermouth I like Noilly Prat and usually my garnish of choice is 2 green olives but lately I’ve been loving a single pearl onion – also known as a Gibson martini.
Pour the liquor into a mixing glass filled with ice cubes and stir well, then strain into a chilled martini glass.
I’ve lately discovered the trick of adding 2 drops of Angostura bitters at the end, which fills out the flavour and makes it even more awesome, in my opinion.
Once you’ve got that down you can mix it up by trying a dirty martini, burnt martini, or maybe the 14-stpe Coudal martini.
Here is a beautiful variation I made the other night, with Victoria Oaken Gin.