Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

The "Best" Dry Martini


weinoo
 Share

Recommended Posts

As envisioned, in this wonderful piece, by the estimable David Wondrich, or @Splificator...

 

Quote

 

With a stronger gin—44 percent (the old British standard for budget gin) or 47 percent (the old British standard for premium gin)—you can use more vermouth and still keep the edge sharp. With a heavy, determinedly old-fashioned gin like Tanqueray, you can even make a 1-1 Martini, with equal parts gin and vermouth, come out just fine (26.1 percent).

Indeed, that’s how it was most commonly made in its youth, before World War I; those folks weren’t so dumb. At 1-1, the Martini can be the most elegant of comfort drinks, as New York’s pioneering and lamented Pegu Club proved over and over every night with its Tanqueray-driven 1-1 “Fitty Fitty,” and if not for the Pandemic would still be doing so.

 

At 2-1 (30 percent), the way Martinis were commonly made from the 1910s through World War II, and 3-1 (32 percent), there’s still enough vermouth in there to do what vermouth does, but the claws are in plain sight, if relaxed. As long as your gin is a classic London dry style—junipery and crisp, not muddy with excess botanicals—and your vermouth French and old-school (Noilly Prat; Dolin dry), this is within micrometer range of perfection, particularly if you tip in a couple dashes of good orange bitters (such as the Bitter Truth’s or the 50-50 mix of Fee’s and Regans’ favored by many modern bartenders) and twist a thin-cut swatch of lemon peel over the top.

 

But in these matters, I’m a perfectionist and I’m perfectly willing to cheat to get there.

 

 

The Secrets to the Best Dry Martini You’ll Ever Have

 

Edited by weinoo (log)
  • Like 5
  • Thanks 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Excellent.   Thanks!

 

I've only had one really bad martini.   My boss invited husband and me to their flat before we were to go to dinner and the theater.   Her husband was of the "never an empty glass" school, and kept ours topped up.  And, apparently up and up and up.    Realizing that we had tippled through our dinner hour, we headed to the theater, where fortunately our seats were back row orchestra, with a padded wall behind us.   

 

The lights dimmed, we tilted our heads back and slept peacefully (I hope) through Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead.    Never saw Peter Ustinov.  

  • Like 2
  • Haha 2

eGullet member #80.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, NadyaDuke said:

I have been given, by different people, two bottle of Freeland Dry Gin, which is 57 ABV, so this is very relevant to my interests.

 

Yeah, my guess is you're not drinking that stuff neat.

  • Haha 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I make my martinis with Seersucker gin, which has a heavy citrus note to it. It won’t take much vermouth. A friend taught me the perfect method, for me (YMMV). Ice the glass. Dump the ice. Pour a splash of vermouth, swirl it around well, and dump it. Shake the gin with ice; pour. Add four olives. Preferably Castelvetrano.

  • Like 1

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My „perfect“ dry (& dirty) Martini consists of Bombay Sapphire 47%, a few dashes of Espinaler Olives pickling liquid and a stick to fend off anyone that wants to add vermouth …

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How old are those instructions that tell you to open a bottle of vermouth near the martini, then put it away? Also the idea of "rinsing" the glass with vermouth is comical. H ow would you even do that? Would you pour the excess back into the bottle? It seems to me you would have to love your gin a lot to drink it straight. I am sure I've tasted only a teensy percentage of available gins but I know I don't like Tanqueray in anything. I prefer Bombay regular to Sapphire. I love a Hendricks martini with adequate vermouth--in other words I like to know the vermouth counts for something. A twist of lemon is nice (that's how my parents drank martinis), or two olives in the glass to be eaten as a reward at the end. Just as I like a half sweet ice tea when in the south, I like a half dirty martini.

 

One martini is all it takes--I'm a cheap date. As the years go by I notice some of my friends are drinking more, but I'm drinking less. A side of warm salty peanuts or cheese straws is all I need to go with. The best martini is the one my husband makes. The truth is I think martinis are the most delicious of all cocktails, but I can no longer handle the amount of alcohol in most of them. So so nice on a warm summer night. Most of the time we hear people talk about how they wish they drank less. I wish I could drink more!

  • Like 1
  • Delicious 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

20 hours ago, Margaret Pilgrim said:

Excellent.   Thanks!

 

I've only had one really bad martini.   My boss invited husband and me to their flat before we were to go to dinner and the theater.   Her husband was of the "never an empty glass" school, and kept ours topped up.  And, apparently up and up and up.    Realizing that we had tippled through our dinner hour, we headed to the theater, where fortunately our seats were back row orchestra, with a padded wall behind us.   

 

The lights dimmed, we tilted our heads back and slept peacefully (I hope) through Rosencrantz and Guilderstern Are Dead.    Never saw Peter Ustinov.  

Oh, you must have seen the revised play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead Drunk."

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Duvel said:

My „perfect“ dry (& dirty) Martini consists of Bombay Sapphire 47%, a few dashes of Espinaler Olives pickling liquid and a stick to fend off anyone that wants to add vermouth …

 

Not really a Martini, but you know that. (right?) 

  • Like 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

38 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

Not really a Martini, but you know that. (right?) 


YMMV … but in a world where people order espresso martinis, appletinis and the like, I am pretty sure my preferred version could qualify.

 

For me, „my“ Martini is a straight hard & savory cocktail. I want the brine, and I want the alcohol and I want the herbal/spicy background that the gin provides. And I want the viscosity of a frozen gin in combination with the brine. Vermouth does distract from all of that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Katie Meadow said:

I prefer Bombay regular to Sapphire


Me too, for the “regular” Sapphire (at 40%). Bombay dry is at 42%, and the Sapphire 47% is at … well … 47%. It is more intense, not for the higher alcohol content but the lack of dilution, if you will, of the flavours. That, some brine, some lemon peel if you feel fancy and veeeery cold does the trick. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Duvel said:


YMMV … but in a world where people order espresso martinis, appletinis and the like, I am pretty sure my preferred version could qualify.

 

For me, „my“ Martini is a straight hard & savory cocktail. I want the brine, and I want the alcohol and I want the herbal/spicy background that the gin provides. And I want the viscosity of a frozen gin in combination with the brine. Vermouth does distract from all of that.

 

Well, I never considered those Martinis either (especially since they're mostly made with vodka).

 

What you've got is very cold gin.  Either mucked up or enhanced (depending on one's taste) by the olive brine. Which is fine  - no one's arguing that.  I'm just opining that it's not a Martini.

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, weinoo said:

 

Well, I never considered those Martinis either (especially since they're mostly made with vodka).

 

What you've got is very cold gin.  Either mucked up or enhanced (depending on one's taste) by the olive brine. Which is fine  - no one's arguing that.  I'm just opining that it's not a Martini.


Fair enough 🤗

 

(and yet I‘ll enjoy it under that name in private)

  • Like 1
  • Haha 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I made this tonight, though I had Regan’s orange bitters, with the Freeland Dry Gin.  It worked well, as the higher vermouth content smoothed the strong gin, but the gin still came through. I’ll make it again.

  • Like 2
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 1/30/2022 at 11:30 PM, AAQuesada said:

This article makes me want to try a 1:1 Martini. I like a good vermouth & I have some St.George Terroir gin at 45% abv, maybe i'll give it a whirl 

 

At Pegu Club, Audrey's Fitty Fitty Martini was one of my favorite drinks...and I often make it at home.

 

https://imbibemagazine.com/recipe/pegu-club-fitty-fitty-martini/

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cool article. I need to pick up some dry vermouth and try to ... uh ... duplicate his lab's results. 

 

Interesting that he found a sweet spot for final strength.

 

An idea from Dave Arnold's research: one way to reduce dilution is stir in a shaker tin instead of a mixing glass. Or, pre-chill the mixing glass by swirling ice in it until you feel the cold on the outside (or if you're Dave, swirl with liquid nitrogen). The reason is that a mixing glass has a much higher thermal mass than a tin, and so when you stir a drink in it, a significant amount of ice melts just to chill the (not pre-chilled) glass. So at any given final temperature, you'll get noticeably more dilution.

 

At Dave's bar, he tells his bartenders that they can use a fancy crystal mixing glass if they want, but they have to pre-chill before every cocktail. Most of them give up and just use a shaker tin. It's not that the tin or pre-chilling is inherently superior ... just that Dave has formulated his drinks for a particular final dilution and strength.

 

Same could apply with Wondrich's martini. If you don't have navy-strength gin, you might get into the right ballpark just by stirring in a tin.

 

 

Edited by paulraphael (log)
  • Like 4

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Johntodd said:

5 parts gin, and a moment of silence for the inventor of vermouth.

piercemartini_01.jpg😆

 

When I was around 10, my dad decided to make me bartender at one of our big holiday parties. This might not be an example of his usual fine judgment. His thinking was that he could train me to limit the amount of booze in each glass—and maybe, just maybe, there'd be less chance of one of my very thirsty uncles smashing through the windshield and into the hereafter on the long drive back to the suburbs. 

 

My Chicago relatives are Irish. They're older, and they're old-school. My dad's plan didn't stand a chance. 

 

Instead of being the cocktail police, I became the disciple. A big, friendly, hairy arm would land around my shoulders and I'd hear something like, "come on, kid, I'm gonna show you how to make a martini."

 

The lesson would be something like Hawkeye's. Or, " ... you pour a drop of vermouth into the cap, and just kind of wave it around the rim of the glass before pouring it back into the bottle."

 

Then uncle #2 would pull me aside and say, "kid, forget everything that guy told you. THIS is how you make a martini ..."

 

Good times. And no thanks to me, everyone eventually made it home. 

  • Like 4

Notes from the underbelly

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know how they made it home sometimes in the 50s and 60s.

 

The hawkeye drink isn't a Martini, however. It's an ethanol injection solution - remember, I believe they were making the gin, and they had no vermouth anywhere near the place.

  • Like 2

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I was young we went out to my mother's brother's house in NJ for once a year seder. My uncle prided himself on making a great martini, and everyone but the kids was sozzled by dinner time. But what would you expect from a man who called his wife "battle axe?" Us cousins had to make do with Manischewitz wine. That yearly celebration was the only time I heard my mother really belt out some tunes!

  • Like 3
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 2/2/2022 at 11:24 AM, paulraphael said:

Same could apply with Wondrich's martini. If you don't have navy-strength gin, you might get into the right ballpark just by stirring in a tin.

 

Using Dave's recipe proportions (3:1) and something like Tanqueray, you're still in jet-fuel territory: 34.9%. You have to back off to 1:1 to get a drinkable martini (this is 32.5%).

 

A few years ago, I was at a panel discussion led by Dave Wondrich and Robert Hess (DrinkBoy). IIRC, the topic was Martinis and Manhattans and how they related to each other. The discussion took a detour into the extremely dry ("pour the gin while facing France") Martinis of the 40s and 50s. One of the guys pointed out that the drift towards less and less vermouth, which actually started in the 30s, was also a drift towards a stronger cocktail, and that the preference for "dryness" was possibly just an acceptable cover for incipient -- or even full-blown -- alcoholism. 

  • Like 3

Dave Scantland
Executive director
dscantland@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics signatory

Eat more chicken skin.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Dave the Cook said:

Using Dave's recipe proportions (3:1) and something like Tanqueray, you're still in jet-fuel territory: 34.9%. You have to back off to 1:1 to get a drinkable martini (this is 32.5%).


How do you calculate the dilution imparted by shaking/stirring it with ice ?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...