Hi, I’m Allen Katz for howdini.com and today I’m going to teach you how to make a martini, one of the great classics in American cocktail culture. It’s a very simple cocktail, and when done properly, is one of the most refreshing drinks that you can serve to you and your guests. It’s a wonderful combination, historically of gin — which I know surprises some people — and dry vermouth or French vermouth.
Now, many people consider a martini to be a combination with vodka and no vermouth at all. But what we’re going to try today is this wonderful commingling of two classic ingredients that has such a crisp flavor and such a wonderful finish that I think you’re going to like this extremely well.
What we’re going to start with is some of the essential bar tools: mixing glasses, of course, a bar spoon and several measuring tools called jiggers. The wonderful thing about preparing a home bar is all of these tools can be purchased for $25 or $30 at most any restaurant supplies store, at a local liquor store, or even at some specialty food stores that now have cocktail ingredients. It’s quite a lot of fun. So in this simple recipe that I’m going to try today, first is our most important ingredient, ice. We’ll take one mixing glass and fill it with ice, and in our second glass we’ll combine our ingredients.
First the gin, and of course ingredients are paramount in a good cocktail. And what you want to start with is a softer gin. Now, gins come in a wide variety from very fragrant and profound, with the juniper perfume and flavor, and you can try that as well. It’s a fun thing to experiment to see how the variations in a simple cocktail, again just two ingredients can change, by changing the gin.
So I’ve got two and a half parts of gin, and I’m going to do a half a part of dry vermouth. Now I know what you’re thinking: What am I doing with all this vermouth? Now I’ll be honest; one, I’m a big fan of vermouth. It has a wonderful fruity flavor. Vermouth is simply an aromatized wine, and really a great martini is not a martini without vermouth. The idea of waving it over the glass, rinsing the glass with it and throwing it over your shoulder. It’s another cocktail all together; and if you’ve never had it, get over that fear and try it with dry vermouth. And as you can see, all I’m going to do is stir the cocktail. I know it’s a lot of fun to shake a great cocktail, but for a martini the idea is just to get it exceedingly cold and a little bit diluted as well. Of course we’re just using two spirits, so we just want to bring down that alcohol content by diluting with the ice, adding a little bit of water into the cocktail. So about 30 seconds and we’ll be ready to go.
Now, once I’ve stirred the martini, I’m going to prepare my glass. And again, with just a little bit of ice and little bit of residual water, I’m going to get the martini glass well chilled. If you’re doing this at home, ideally if you have space, put a couple martini glasses in the freezer. Get them well chilled — it will take 15 or 20 minutes. Then, when you’re ready to serve the cocktail, you can take them right from the freezer.
So we’ve got our martini glass chilled, we’ve got our martini well-chilled, and then we’re simply going to take a strainer, and it’s just a beautiful clean color. Even that fragrance of that little bit of vermouth — the gin is not too overpowering — is a wonderful combination.
To finish it there are several varieties that you can try. One is an olive, of course. I prefer a little bit of a lemon twist, and I just use a simple vegetable peeler to take a twist. You’re just going to squeeze gently — if the lemon is fresh, you get some of those essential oils right in over the cocktail, perhaps just taking it to the rim a little bit. And there you have a wonderful classic martini. I’m Allen Katz for howdini.com