A vodka martini that’s shaken instead of stirred is perhaps one of the most memorable associations with Brit superspy James Bond (although Daniel Craig doesn’t seem to care as much).
But there’s more to martinis than just imitating the pop icon. You can try the bar favorite in any number of flavors, and you’re free to experiment with the wide variety of commercially available liquor and ingredients. It all just begins with knowing how to mix the basic martini.
Go Ingredient Shopping
Your basic martini just needs a couple of ingredients and, contrary to what Mr. Bond might believe, won’t even need any Absolut. Drive over to your nearest liquor store and, unless you’ve already got one at home, get yourself a martini shaker. You can then proceed to ask for some gin and some vermouth. But it’s not that easy.
You see, vermouth comes in two variants – the dry, clear version of the French and the sweet, red kind of the Italians. You’ll want to get the former as it’s the convention for martini. Don’t scrimp on it, too. Get good quality vermouth because it’s the critical component that makes a martini a martini.
While you’re out, you might also want to get a lemon for garnish or some olives for that Hollywood touch.
Mixing Your Drink
Grab your shaker and fill it with ice. Most bartenders would suggest that you use shaved ice for this step. Although many people say that ice tends to sissify the drink, all it actually does is blend the ingredients better and reduce the burn of the alcohol in your throat. Put in one part vermouth then give it a quick stir in the ice.
Then pour in five parts gin and give it another quick stir. Strain the result into a martini glass. Martinis taste better when they’re cold, so you can pop the martini glass into the freezer before using it for some extra chill. You can then add garnishing like lemon peel or olives.
One part vermouth to five parts gin is the usual ratio, although you’re free to change it according to your preferences. ‘Dry’ martini means a lower ratio of vermouth to gin. Some even just add a spray (yes, a spray) of vermouth and then filling up the glass with gin.
Just remember that without vermouth, it’s just plain gin. Feel free to experiment with other factors like different garnishing (some martinis actually differ in just this respect).
Keep practicing your martini-mixing skills, and you could find yourself the star at your next party. You’ve got to admit, this is one field where you won’t mind trying and trying again.