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 an account.

Sign in to follow this  
slkinsey

The Neverending Martini Question

Recommended Posts

We've had it seems like 20 threads here on eGullet about how to mix a martini, the proper ingredients and the proper ratios. I have your martini book, so I am somewhat familiar with your take on it, but I'd be interested to hear you hold forth on the subject a little. For instance, many people seem to prefer the "rinse out the shaker with vermouth and pour out the excess" method, which I think is ridiculous -- they might as well be drinking gin or vodka straight from the freezer with a splash of water for all the difference that tiny amount of vermouth will make. Several well-known bartenders, I understand, have begun serving dry vodka martinis with no vermouth at all! I noted with interest that your vodka martini recipe actually calls for more vermouth than your gin martini recipe. Why is this? Although I am not generally a vodka martini drinker, my usual thought has been to use less vermouth to compensate for the vodka's relative lack of flavor whereas you seem to go in the other direction. Similarly, I tend to use less vermouth in gin martinis when the gin is a delicate one or if the vermouth is a strongly flavored one.

I'd also be interested to hear your thoughts on the new full flavored vermouths like Vya and some of the new uniquely-flavored gins such as Hendrick's and Tanqueray Malacca with respect to their suitability for Martinis.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have a great point about matching gins with differing amounts of vermouth. My advise when it comes to making any cocktail is to taste each ingredient before constructing the drink--ratios will change depending on what bottlings you're using.

As a generalization I think that people should drink their Martinis however they wish. With a vermouth rinse, no vermouth at all, or 50/50 gin and vermouth is fine with me. However, those people who have never tried a Martini with a decent amount of vermouth--say 25 - 35%--I urge you to try just one.

Last weekend a couple of friends came over for drinks. I've watched the guy make Martinis for himself, and he barely uses any vermouth at all, so it was great when he asked me how I'd made his Martini because he said it was better than the ones he made for himself. I'd used just about 25% vermouth--didn't want to push my luck.

The other important aspect of Martinis is coldness. If you stir, stir for at least 30 seconds to incorporate enough water from the ice to dilute the drink properly and chill it sufficiently. The best martini I ever had. I mean that--the absolute best. Was made by Sasha Pertraski, owner of Milk and Honey in Manhattan. He used the regular bottling of Tanqueray, and M&R dry vermouth. This was at a Martini competition at the book party for Dave Wondrich's "Esquire Drinks" and he, along with the other bartenders, was required to use those products. We weren't allowed to see the bartenders make the drinks so we had no preconceived notion of the preparation, or of who had made each Martini.

Sasha's Martini was the coldest Martini I've ever had, but I'm not sure exactly how he achieved that. What I do know, though, is that he used a 50/50 ration of gin to vermouth. I was blown away when he told me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A 50/50 martini? Very interesting. I'll have to try that (although, obviously one would need a relatively light vermouth). Were they allowed to pre-chill any of the ingredients? Taking the gin and vermouth out of the freezer might work well for this kind of martini, because the large amount ov vermouth would cut down the alcohol content quite a bit and the dilution from melted ice wouldn't be so important (plus, of course, there would still be some dilution from melted ice).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At an Italian restaurant in the East Village, I've had a drink called a martini rosso--my rather undiscerning palate couldn't really tell what was in it, let alone what proportions, but I assume it was some kind of Italian red vermouth and gin (the drink actually looked red). It had a lot of vermouth in it, though. Have you heard of such a thing, and if so, how would you go about making one?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While we're on the subject, what are some of your favorite vermouths to use in martinis?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

slkinsey:

I don't believe the contestants were allowed to pre-chill their ingredients, but you make a good point about dilution not being as important in a 50/50 Martini.

wagyuboy:

Martini Rosso is probably Martin and Rossi sweet vermouth on the rocks. You'll see the word Rosso (red) on the bottle.

Janet:

I love Noilly Prat, Vya, and Martini & Rossi.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I love Noilly Prat, Vya, and Martini & Rossi.

Gary,

When you use Vya (my favorite), do you find that you need to use less so the vermouth doesn't overwhelm the drink? For example, I typically do 5:1 or 6:1 gin to vermouth with Noilly Prat, but with Vya I might go to 8:1 or 9:1.

I love Vya's sweet vermouth in a Manhattan, or together with their dry in a perfect style Manhattan, or in my little riff on a perfect style Manhattan

Have you ever tried King Eider vermouth from Duckhorn Wine Company?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I tend to use less Vya than I would Noilly Prat, and less Noilly Prat than I would M&R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not much of a gin fan--really dislike the perfumy ones. HOWEVER, I love gin martinis made with Tanqueray 10--it's so soft and pleasant. An excellent choice for someone who isn't partial to gin but wants to try something other than vodka. Yum--again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I ADORE Hendricks. I guess the cuke makes it a novelty gin? Actually folks would be amazed at some of the different botanicals in gin -besides juniper.

Unfortunately when I adore a gin, it usually means it's not long for this world. Tanqueray Malacca was the last casualty. Boord's Old Tom before that. I've been remarkably lucky with the Plymouth! ;-)

--Doc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Unfortunately when I adore a gin, it usually means it's not long for this world. Tanqueray Malacca was the last casualty. Boord's Old Tom before that. I've been remarkably lucky with the Plymouth! ;-)

--Doc.

Wait -- Malacca is no more? I'll admit I haven't had it in a while, but I didn't know it wasn't around

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get this...some internet sources still have a few bottles and they are selling them at about $85 a pop - up a bit from the original 20 buck bottle. Tanqueray should take note. It was a genuinely historic IMPORTANT gin.

--Doc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunately when I adore a gin, it usually means it's not long for this world.

http://www.cucumbergin.com/main.html

hasn't this gin been around for a REALLY long time though? :laugh: Or is the victorian style label a dead giveaway?

EDIT: Was referring to the Hendricks, not the Malacca.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No it hasn't - but yes it has. What I mean is that the brand Malacca is only a few years old. It was an experiment of sorts. It was a faithful reproduction of a genuine 1830s gin recipe distilled and prepared correctly for the period. Utterly fantastic, and with a bit of sugar you could really (I believe) taste what real Old Tom gin was like before the advent of London Dry. I was smitten. It was an odd flavor, though, and about as far away from Bombay Sapphire or Tanq 10 as you could get. Vodka drinkers stayed away in droves.

I mourn.

--Doc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just dug out my unopened bottle of Hendricks and cracked it open. It says "Since 1886" on the bottle. But I wonder if they have been continually bottling since then.

Damn good gin by the way, I should have opened it a long time ago. Having some on the rocks right now, but I'm making a martini with some Tribuno Extra Dry for my next one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoops, sorry thought you were talking about the Tanqueray Malacca.

Hendrick's is a product of Scottish distiller William Grant & Sons who produces whiskies under brands such as Grant's, Glenfiddich and Balvenie. That company WAS founded in 1887. I do not believe the Hendricks gin we both love to be old, though, (like maybe since 2000) and the quirky ad campaign? Pretty slick for a hoary old Scottish gin distiller, eh? Note their website is quite coy about any real history too. I love it, but old? Nah.

--Doc.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hendrick's is at the moment the martini gin of choice chez slkinsey, mixed 8:1 with Vya white vermouth, stirred and garnished with a paper-thin slice of cucumber.

i2966.jpg

i2967.jpg

i2968.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It must be the time zone difference. It's only 7am here in Los Angeles. Really, I wouldn't feel right mixing anything stronger than my gin and coffee, here.

--Doc. :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

slkinsey, I -love- that cocktail mixer you picture. I had filmed a short bit for "Fine Living" a few months back, and they used a similar mixer for a prop. I've been casually searching for a similar one to add to my collection.

I'm always looking for the "perfect" shaker, or mixer, but all too often when I find one that looks really good there ends up being something wrong with it's functionality.

While specifically looking for a mixer like yours, I picked this one up off of eBay:

194.jpg

(click here for a larger image)

...but while it looks really nice, the narrow strainer slot at the top makes it take forever to pour out a drink.

-Robert

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Robert. Glad you liked it. It's a piece of ancestral barware (along with the spoon) from my grandfather, who was quite the admirer of cocktails himself and, bring born in 1897, lived through some of the prime cocktail eras. It's my favorite piece and I think of him every time I use it.

What I like about it is that it's a cocktail swirler (stirring vessel?) rather than a shaker. Accomodates 1-3 cocktails nicely. What you can't see very well in my picture is that the lip is very wide (covers around 1/3 of the circumference of the rim), with a little something to hold back the ice. I prefer to use this piece, or a larger cylindrical cocktail pitcher I have, whenever I make stirred cocktails.

Speaking of eBay... it's a great place for cocktail mixers, isn't it? Seems like there are always several really nice ones up for auction at reasonable prices.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×