Now we all know about Martini’s, or do we? The Martini started to become popular at the turn of the 20th century. Since its birth it has continued to evolve and spawn a variety bastard offspring, which I intend to discuss here.
Let us start with the true martini, which is a mixture of gin and vermouth. The ratio of each has changed greatly over the years. Noël Coward suggested that the ideal martini should be made by "filling a glass with gin then waving it in the general direction of Italy" and Winston Churchill was said to whisper the word 'vermouth' to a freshly poured glass of gin.
Now if you want to drink gin neat than be my guest but that’s no martini in my book. To make the classic martini take I take my favoured gin and vermouth in the following proportions -
· 1 measure dry vermouth
· 3 measures gin
· Stir vigorously (yes I said stir) and serve with your choice of garnish
If served with a cocktail onion this variation is called a Gibson. A dirty martini on the other hand contains a splash of olive brine in the mix.
Now let us discuss shaken not stirred. Before angry Bond fans coming knocking on my door let me clarify. A gin martini should be stirred, so not to bruise the spirits (you can taste the difference honestly), but what Bond is drinking is a vodka martini. When Ian Flemming was writing Bond in the 50’s vodka was a relatively new and cheap drink. It tended to be oily, so the shaking process separated the oiliness from the vodka goodness and infused the drink with molecules of ice to chill to the bone – so a classic line was born.
A vodka martini can be referred to as a vodkatini or a kangaroo cocktail, whereas a martini that is shaken is called a Bradford.
Now talking of Bond, Flemming’s own recipe of the Vesper is a potent concoction. To quote Bond "I never have more than one drink before dinner. But I do like that one to be large and very strong and very cold and very well-made. I hate small portions of anything, particularly when they taste bad.” Well we can’t argue with that.
For the Vesper take –
· Three measures of Gordon's Gin
· One of vodka
· Half a measure of Kina Lillet
· Shake it very well until it's ice-cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel
· Be warned - seducing women, winning in casinos and making witty quips are not guaranteed
Now as I have said martinis have been evolving continuously, likewise no cocktail article on here would be complete without our own take on the matter. Bearing this in mind I have created The Foxtini, which consists of –
· 1/2 a measure of thyme infused vodka
· 2 measures of Silent Pool gin
· 1 measure of vermouth
· Stir vigorously
· Garnish with an olive
I'd like to finish up with some advice from Dorothy Parker
“I like to have a martini,
Two at the very most.
After three I'm under the table,
after four I'm under my host.”