For a while now, Kevin and I have been doing a little thing we call “Cocktail of the Week.” We pick a drink – sometimes a classic like a Gimlet or Old Fashioned, sometimes a concoction all our own – and learn to make it properly. If we don’t have the required ingredients, we run out to our favorite liquor store and buy what we’re missing.
This week we’re making perhaps the most popular classic cocktail of all time: the Martini. The first martini was created sometime in the 19th century (there’s a lot of debate about exactly when and where), but it was Prohibition and bathtub gin that led to the drink’s current fame.
While the classic martini can be made with either gin or vodka, I prefer the spiciness of a good gin. That’s really the key to a good martini – really good spirits. If you’re going to have a martini, break out the good stuff. You won’t be sorry.
Finally, I have to dispel a myth. Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken (sorry, Mr. Bond). Shaking a martini will leave its spirits bruised (and thus less flavorful) and cause the drink to be cloudy. On the other hand, stirring your martini will preserve the delicate flavors of your gin (or vodka) and leave you with a crystal clear drink (that is, unless you’re like me and like yours dirty)!
The Classic Dirty Martini
2 oz. Vodka or Gin
1 tsp. Dry Vermouth
4 tsp. olive brine (optional)
an olive to garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Stir with a long bar spoon until the outside of the shaker starts to frost. Strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with an olive. Enjoy!
By the way, if you were to leave out the olive brine and substitute a cocktail onion for the olive garnish, you would have yourself a classic Gibson, another popular Prohibition era cocktail!
How do you like your martini? Dry? Dirty? With a twist of lemon?