Crafting the Perfect Cocktail: Dry Martini

Crafting the Perfect Cocktail: Dry Martini

On a recent flight to Florida, I read an article about martinis. It discussed the history of the drink, ingredients typically used in the drink, and how to make the perfect martini. They even discuss glassware and serving temperature of the drink. The drink is quite simple, and only includes a few key ingredients. But it is all in how you prepare the drink as to your enjoyment of it. I prefer mine stirred, not shaken. Some people demand they be shaken to create the coldest cocktail possible. I don’t order them a lot, but I make them at home quite a bit. For me, it all starts with the liquor.

Picking a Liquor

Martinis are traditionally made with gin or vodka. I prefer mine with vodka. To be honest, I am not sure I have ever had a gin martini. Other ingredients include vermouth and olive juice. When I make them at home, I will use six ounces of vodka, one ounce of extra dry vermouth, a splash of olive juice, and ice. I will stir (sometimes shake) and strain into a martini glass. I then garnish with olives. I always use three olives. I prefer bleu cheese stuffed olives for added flavor. Nothing beats drinking a martini and having the olive at the end to cleanse the palate.

The article discussed making the perfect martini. The secret is temperature. A perfectly crafted martini should be cold. They also mention a lemon twist rather than an olive as a garnish. To each his own, I suppose. I will often, when ordering a vodka on the rocks, ask for a lime twist. That is what I love about cocktails. There is no right or wrong way to make a martini.

When drinking vodka, I typically pick from the following brands:

  • *Summum
  • **Żubrówka (bison grass vodka)
  • Esme
  • Tito’s
  • Starr Blue
  • Belvedere (potato vodka)
  • Absolute 100
  • Oui

We also like flavored vodka. There is an endless array of flavors out there including cherry, espresso, cookie dough, pumpkin pie, and more. There is one flavored like Fruit Loops. That vodka is called Loopy and is one of the best tasting flavors currently on the market. Thanks to Three Olives Vodka, I now have a reason to drink milk! (Mix one part Loopy and one part milk and serve as a shot. If you close your eyes, you would think you were eating cereal!)

Like I said, I haven’t had a martini with gin. Maybe my next drink will be a gin martini. I usually make mine with vodka because I have a ton of it in the freezer and on the counter. When I drink vodka, I sometimes just serve it room temperature with an orange wedge. I learned that while in Poland. Nostrovia!

Do you drink martinis? If so, how do you like them?

*Summum is distilled in Cognac, France. Grey Goose, another popular vodka, is made in this region. Summum is cheaper and is exclusively available at Total Wine & More stores. It is a part of their Spirits Direct program, which is similar to their Brewery and Winery direct programs. You can learn more about these programs here.

**When I was in Poland, we actually took a train through the fields where these bison graze. They are on the endangered species list, and every bottle has a single blade of grass in the bottle giving the vodka a green tint to it. The vodka, by itself, has a lovely spice in the finish due to the earthiness in the grass.)

The original article was written by Nick Passmore and appeared in the January issue of US Airways Magazine. Nick resides in New York City.