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The Perfect Martini


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140 replies to this topic

#61 aspicLove

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Posted 01 July 2003 - 10:20 AM

DrinkBoy, I noticed on your website you included a recipe for making one's own bitters from Charles H. Baker's book.
Have you actually attempted that recipe?
In Chinese markets one can get dried orange peel to be used for eating or cooking that might be macerated in some spirit to make a bitter....

#62 GregORear

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 10:34 AM

OK, here's one I call the Vagabond, © 2003 Greg O'Rear. :smile:

1. Put some crushed ice in a shaker.
2. Add a splash of vermouth and a couple of generous dashes of Angostura bitters.
3. Shake well, then strain off the liquid.
4. Add an ounce or so of good gin (I use Tanqueray No. 10 straight from the freezer).
5. Shake well, then strain into a chilled martini glass.
6. Spear an olive and an onion with a toothpick and drop in the glass.
7. Top off the glass with very cold, very fresh club soda.

It's sort of a pink gin martini/gibson and soda, but the name derives from the recipe (more or less):

Vermouth
And
Gin
Angostura
Bitters
Olive
oNion
soDa

Remember, this recipe is copyrighted, so every time you drink a Vagabond, you owe me 10% of your inebriation. :blink:

#63 Busboy

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Posted 02 July 2003 - 11:28 AM

To the few die-hards who absolutely cannot stomach a martini as described above... there is nothing wrong with pouring gin or vodka straight out of the freezer into a chilled cocktail class and plopping in an olive, twist or other garnish.  Just don't call it a martini.

But I do call it a martini -- and after two, I'll be ready to trade blows with anyone who dares deny me the right to do so. After three, I'll be asleep.

Another, more civilized, martini variation is a good shot poured on the rocks, just enough scotch to get a little taste, and a twist. My friends father called it a "silver bullet" and was routinely detailed to fill the thermos with them for boating parties.
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#64 aesthete

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 08:30 AM

This is an excellent thread. I found it on Google, when searching for opinions on the best gin (when trying to prove an annoying co-worker wrong). Not knowing much at all about cocktails, this thread openened up a whole new world of alcohol to me! :blink: I am now hooked on researching and experimenting with classic cocktails.

BTW, I have found that I like a classic martini with Tanqueray & Noilly Prat, stirred, 2 olives. I tried a Bombay Sapphire martini, and found that it was better with less vermouth -- I guess because of its weak gin flavor?

#65 curlywurlyfi

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 08:41 AM

Welcome, Aesthete!

Recently in New York I had something called a Dirty Martini which I think was gin + olive brine, no vermouth. Yuck. Well, I thought it was grim, but apparently it's all the rage. Waste of good gin.

Am totally inspired by this thread! Going to go home and crack open the Plymouth gin - finest gin in the world - drier than Tanqueray, which is my next favourite. What a shame it's only 3.30pm in London. I am gasping for a Martini.

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#66 aesthete

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 08:54 AM

Thanks!

A few posts back, someone asked how to order a not-so-dry martini when out at the bar. I have been asking for a "classic" martini, but am not sure if that is the correct terminology. Does anyone else know?

#67 beans

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:01 AM

Don't be shy with your bartender. Ask them what vermouth the bar stocks and never be uneasy to specify how and what goes into your drink! :smile:

Just as you typed it out here:

I like a classic martini with Tanqueray & Noilly Prat, stirred, 2 olives.


works perfectly!

I love when a guest is specific, then they get exactly what they want. :cool:

#68 Marlene

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:07 AM


To the few die-hards who absolutely cannot stomach a martini as described above... there is nothing wrong with pouring gin or vodka straight out of the freezer into a chilled cocktail class and plopping in an olive, twist or other garnish.  Just don't call it a martini.

But I do call it a martini -- and after two, I'll be ready to trade blows with anyone who dares deny me the right to do so. After three, I'll be asleep.

Me too. And I stand by my right to use vodka and vermouth and call it a martini. So there MatthewB :raz:
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#69 MatthewB

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:19 AM


To the few die-hards who absolutely cannot stomach a martini as described above... there is nothing wrong with pouring gin or vodka straight out of the freezer into a chilled cocktail class and plopping in an olive, twist or other garnish.  Just don't call it a martini.

But I do call it a martini -- and after two, I'll be ready to trade blows with anyone who dares deny me the right to do so. After three, I'll be asleep.

Me too. And I stand by my right to use vodka and vermouth and call it a martini. So there MatthewB :raz:

And I reserve the right to serve you offal whilst calling it filet mignon. :raz:

#70 Busboy

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 09:57 AM

Welcome, Aesthete!

Recently in New York I had something called a Dirty Martini which I think was gin + olive brine, no vermouth. Yuck. Well, I thought it was grim, but apparently it's all the rage. Waste of good gin.

Dirty martinis are bad enough, but once a less ept (if not entirely inept) server brought my wife a "dirty gimlet" having misheard the order in a particularly vile way. Imagine the expression that played across Stephanie's face as she got that first sip of gin, Rose's and olive juice.

To her credit, she did not spit.
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#71 Danne

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:33 AM

Admin: Threads merged.

I haven never been a big fan of dry martini. It's just not my type of drink. But me and some friends are going to have an "dry martini eavning". We are going to test some different recepies of the dry martini. I just wanted to check here first.
what do you think makes a dry martini perfekt.
the brand of the gin and vermouth is not important, we only have one gin (tanqueray) and one vermouth (nolly prat).

what proportions do you think is the best? I will go fore 5 parts gin 1 part vermouth, or 9 parts gin and 1 part vermouth.
then to the garnish.
an olive on a toothpick.. and/or a lemon peel. squeesed over and "rimmed".

does and one else have some good tips?

#72 Carolyn Tillie

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:42 AM

the brand of the gin and vermouth is not important, we only have one gin (tanqueray) and one vermouth (nolly prat).

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That's a pity because the brand of gin and vermouth is important. I prefer Vya vermouth and Tanqueray's 10.

But dealing with what you have, I would pour a cap-full of vermouth into a frozen glass, splash it all around, and then dump it out. Add the well-shaken (i.e., chilled) gin to the glass and garnish with a single olive on a toothpick (although I tend to like two or three olives...)

#73 Danne

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 09:48 AM

Yes I know, the brands is (;)) important.. but it's not possible to use other brands, sadly but true.

So I need tips on the recepie. pouring the vermouth into the glass and splash it around is a smart idea. I'll try all the ideas you guys can give me.

thanks alot.

edit: do you think that another proportion is better? tell me, I want to know as mouch as possible.

Edited by Danne, 13 September 2006 - 09:57 AM.


#74 Splificator

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:00 AM

Yes I know, the brands is (;)) important.. but it's not possible to use other brands, sadly but true.

No need to worry. There are many dedicated Martini drinkers--myself among them--who consider those two brands you have to be perfectly acceptable, and then some, for Dry Martinis.

As long as you're trying the in-and-out method of Martini making, why not try something from the other extreme, and mix a round with half gin and half vermouth? This is how they were made before Prohibition, and those folks knew a thing or two about drinks. If you can find a bottle of orange bitters, two dashes in each drink will really kick these into orbit. In any case, a swatch of thin-cut lemon peel twisted over the top to release the oils, as you indicate, will work wonders.

Whatever proportions you use, use lots and lots of ice, preferably fresh from the freezer and then cracked (wrap it up in a bar towel and whack it with a rolling pin), and stir.

Good luck!
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#75 johnder

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:01 AM

Obviously what is "Perfect" to one person won't be perfect to another.

If I was going to have a dry martini I would shoot for 5 to 1 ratio or 6 to 1 . (My preferred Martini is 3 to 1.

I would definately not just rinse out the glass with vermouth, what you could do is fill a shaker with plenty of ice, pour in 1-2 parts of Vermouth, stir with a barspool, pour out the vermouth, leaving what is covering the ice. Add 5 parts gin (room temperature), and a few dashes of bitters (orange bitters preferably), stir.

stir some more.
stir a little more.

Rim a chilled martini glass with lemon peel, strain martini into glass.

repeat as needed.
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#76 johnder

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:02 AM

ahh seems the splif man beat me to the punch with the bitters. I would expect nothing less!

cheers,
john
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#77 Danne

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 10:18 AM

humm. I like the answers, but what I've been learned is that a
"sweet martini"
is 3/4 pars gin, 1/8 part dry vermouth, 1/8 part sweet vermouth.

"medium martini (perfect martini)"
is 4/5 part gin 1/5 part vermouth

"dry martini"
is 5/6 parts gin 1/6 part vermouth

i know that in the beginning of dry martini they used 1/2 part gin and 1/2 part vermouth or 2/3 gin 1/3 vermout, and today the dry martinis are eaven dryer, 10/11 part gin 1/11 part vermouth..

or just the frase "a dry martini please, but just shpw me the botle of vermout" :biggrin:

I'm trying to find a bottle of orange bitter, but the only thing i can get is angostura bitter.. do you think that that will work?

#78 DaleJ

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 12:48 PM

I think your party will be fun. At least you're not using vodka. As a two martini per evening person for over thirty years, I recommend storing the gin in the freezer and forget the ice ritual.

#79 johnder

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:03 PM

I think your party will be fun.  At least you're not using vodka.  As a two martini per evening person for over thirty years, I recommend storing the gin in the freezer and forget the ice ritual.

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I think you really loose something by storing your liquors in the freezer -- mainly getting a balanced drink. While yes, the liquor is cold, you are going to get a much harsher drink than if you stir (or shake it in the case of citrus drinks). Mainly because of the slight dilution of the drink the water will provide.

I can after a 45-60 seconds of stirring get a mighty cold drink, one that is round and balanced, as well as enjoying the actual art of making the cocktail. If it is speed over quality you are after, freezing helps with that.


Try both -- see what you think.
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#80 SYoung

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 01:58 PM

The so called Winston Churchill method where you pour the gin while merely looking at the vermouth or just passing the vermouth bottle over the glass or shaker is, in my opinion, not a martini at all. A classic martini (named after the vermouth maker, Martini & Rossi) must have vermouth. Otherwise it's just two shots of gin straight up.

The purpose of the vermouth is to balance or round out the sharpness of the gin. So, in theory, the perfect martini is that which there is enough vermouth to just round out the sharpness. Not a molecule more or a molecule less.

Then there's the water added through the ice. The water is suppose to tame the alcohol. The degree of taming needed varies by individual. Therefore, in practice, there is no one perfection for all, as the optimum gin-vermouth-water combination depends on individual taste preference.

In terms of tips... the "In & Out" method of making an extra dry martini (which, by the way, can be performed in the shaker or in the cocktail glass) described above is pretty common. A less common procedure is to put the vermouth in a spray bottle and spray a mist into the glass or shaker. A even more inventive method is to first down a shot of vermouth and then exhaling into the glass of gin. For the sake of not spreading germs, however, this method should be used only when making your own drink. :smile:

#81 SYoung

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 02:26 PM

I think you really loose something by storing your liquors in the freezer -- mainly getting a balanced drink.  While yes, the liquor is cold, you are going to get a much harsher drink than if you stir (or shake it in the case of citrus drinks).  Mainly because of the slight dilution of the drink the water will provide.


It depends on the alcohol content of the gin you're using as well. For example, I can use 95 Proof Tanq 10 (my favorite!) stirred with ice and still have a stronger drink than mixing without ice and using 80 Proof freezer gin.

#82 KatieLoeb

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 03:40 PM

Martini & Rossi Bianco vermouth makes a very fine dry martini.

And yes - I agree that if there's no vermouth or if one bows in the direction of France with the gin bottle or any number of other silly ways to avoid putting the vermouth into the glass or shaker, you're just drinking gin up. The same room full of monkeys that are typing all the collected works of Shakespeare could mix that drink for you too. No skill involved whatsoever.

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#83 Jmahl

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Posted 13 September 2006 - 05:28 PM

Now come on folks, we all know that a martini is just a fabulous way to get glycol directly into the blood as quickly as possible. And thank goodness for it. Sounds like your party will be fun.
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#84 jmfangio

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Posted 16 September 2006 - 02:35 PM

Quoting from Luis Bunuel's autobiography, 'My Last Sigh'

"To provoke, or sustain, a reverie in a bar, you have to drink English Gin, especially in the form of the dry martini. To be frank, given the primordial role played in my life by the dry martini, I think I really ought to give it at last a page. Like all cocktails, the martini, composed essentially of gin and a few drops of Noilly Prat, seems to have been an American invention. Connoisseurs who like their martinis very dry suggest simply allowing a ray of sunlight to shine through a bottle of Noilly Prat before it hits the bottle of gin. At a certain period in America it was said that the making of a dry martini should resemble the Immaculate Conception, for, as Saint Thomas Aquinas once noted, the generative power of the Holy Ghost pierced the Virgin's hymen "like a ray of sunlight through a window - leaving it unbroken."

As for me - ingredients and methodolgy - I like Bombay Sapphire, Plymouth, and, lately, No. 209 gin, and Noilly Prat at a ratio of about 6:1. I always measure my gin (2 ounces), but just eyeball the vermouth. For variety, I'll add a dash of orange bitters, or just a drop of absinthe. You have to be careful with the absinthe - just a drop adds an interesting layer to the botanicals in the gin, but one drop too many and it's easy for it to overpower the drink. Glasses in the freezer first, and stir for exactly 30 seconds.

And while it may seem like over kill to some, I like a single olive, and a lemon twist.

Edited by jmfangio, 16 September 2006 - 02:38 PM.

"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

#85 Danne

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 02:42 PM

Now i read the whole thread. I'm becoming a dry martini expert.. hehe.

So I'll try one martini with 9:1 gin:vermouth and one martini with 2:1 gin:vermouth.

just to try the difference. most of the people who has whritten in the thread likes it between 3:1 - 6:1.

I can't get orange bitters, but can I use angostura and a twist of lemon?

Oh and another question, does any one think that i can use a twist of orange? Or is the taste of organge to sweet?

#86 stickyii

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 03:50 PM

I hadn't seen this thread before - lots of great ideas and comments.

One of my earlier Kaiser Penguin posts touched on getting the most chill for cocktails that benefit from arctic temperatures. I have found a pretty consistent (and easy) method for getting a martini down to 17 degrees without chilling the spirits first and getting just the right amount of dilution.

Cocktail Chill: A Scientific Experiment

A question too: How long does vermouth actually maintain its flavor once opened? I've heard everything from a few days (obviously wrong) to indefintely (also wrong). I've had varying experiences... does anyone have the official answer?
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#87 johnder

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 04:04 PM

A question too:  How long does vermouth actually maintain its flavor once opened?  I've heard everything from a few days (obviously wrong) to indefintely (also wrong).  I've had varying experiences... does anyone have the official answer?

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I think it depends on the vermouth and if it is sweet or dry, but once opened and if left on the counter, you are looking at a degredation of flavors after about a month.

I have heard somewhere that an opened bottle will keep in the fridge for ~6 months.
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#88 Splificator

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:33 PM

One of my earlier Kaiser Penguin posts touched on getting the most chill for cocktails that benefit from arctic temperatures.  I have found a pretty consistent (and easy) method for getting a martini down to 17 degrees without chilling the spirits first and getting just the right amount of dilution.

Cocktail Chill: A Scientific Experiment

Nice. And I say that in part because those are pretty much the same results I got when I tested all this out, back when I was writing Esquire Drinks--ice right out of the freezer, whacked into smithereens in a Lewis bag, and stirred. Not a lot of dilution, maximum coldness. When I did the same thing and shook it, it was on average something like 3 to 5 degrees F warmer. I didn't use the delicious Fancy Gin Cocktail, though (I think mine was equal parts Bacardi 151 and water--had to find something to do with the stuff).


Edited because I said "colder" and meant "warmer." One of these days I'll get that whole "comparative" thing figured out.

Edited by Splificator, 19 September 2006 - 05:50 AM.

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#89 CtznCane

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 10:18 PM

While my wife is a fan of martini's, I had never had a fancy for them until the late WineSonoma introduced me to the use of orange bitters in the martini. To me this makes all the difference. regardless of whether 3 to 1 or 9 to 1, it's all good once you add the orange bitters and the olives. I mean really, is there such a thing as a bad martini? Not if you use good ingredients. Our gin of choice is Bombay Saphire but I like Beefeaters as well. Sorry to say I don't know that much difference between the vermouths and we usually use Martini & Rossi extra dry. As for the Orange biiters, they are easily ordered on-line, we get ours through Surfa's and have been happy with their service.
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#90 slkinsey

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 05:07 AM

One of my earlier Kaiser Penguin posts touched on getting the most chill for cocktails that benefit from arctic temperatures.  I have found a pretty consistent (and easy) method for getting a martini down to 17 degrees without chilling the spirits first and getting just the right amount of dilution.

Cocktail Chill: A Scientific Experiment

Yep. Your results are more or less in line with what everyone seems to find. Stirring with crushed (or finely cracked) ice produces the coldest drink. This is all about two things: 1. Starting with very cold ice, and 2. increasing surface area for thermal transfer. Somewhere in my email archives I have a conversation I had with Audrey and I think Dave where I explained some of the science behind why this is the case. I'll have to see if I can drag it out some time. The thermodynamics of cocktails would probably make a valuable and interesting thread all on its own.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey