Martini’s have a place in the cocktail bar. It tends to be a serious place, a Martini is a serious drink. Probably one of the most powerful and boozy cocktails one can order. Essentially a Martini is a mildly diluted single spirit, Gin or Vodka. We recommend a 6 to 1 ratio of Gin to dry vermouth. You will find when you order one it is exceptionally common for the bartender to ask your preference due to the booze forward nature of the cocktail, it is equally as common to ask about the garnish. If you know your preferences then ordering and enjoying is easy. An making a Martini is even easier.
The thing with a Martini, due to the simplicity, the skill in preparation is directly reflected in the drink, it takes a pretty deft hand to make a great one. Watch out though, if you make a great Martini it can be the express train to to a night downtown, in Drunkville.
Ordering or making a Martini for yourself or someone is like a high end coffee, it’s a ‘your preference’ cocktail. You or the bartender brings the skill, but each of us brings our own recipe to the Martini. Here is how a good friend of mine orders his “Martini please, Monkey 47, dry, 3 olives.” like I said its like ordering a coffee in a coffee shop. People like them, wet, with Dry gin, Botanical Gin, Vodka, Dirty, and extra dirty, lots of variations to try, and find your own.
Monkey 47 Gin. Dolin Extra Dry Vermouth. Three Olives.
Making a great Martini it can be the express train to to an amazing night, it is class and refinement in a glass.
- 3 ounces Gin of Preference (Try Monkey 47)
- 1/2 ounce Dolin Extra Dry Vermouth
- Garnish Three Olives on a skewer
Add all Gin and Vermouth to a Cocktail Shaker with ice.
Garnish with Olives.
Extra Dry: omit 1/4 to 1/2 ounce of Vermouth. Wet: Use 1 ounce of Dry Vermouth. Dirty: Add a bar spoon of olive juice to the shaker. Extra Dirty: Add two Bar Spoons of olive juice to the shaker. Filthy: Use blue cheese stuffed olives as garnish and a bar spoon of olive juice to the shaker.
Creating Great Craft Cocktails
Over the years I have made a large number of cocktails, but it was not until about the last year I focused on making great ones. Previously, I made the usual drinks. Like a blender full of frozen strawberries, a bunch of rum, lime juice and sugar, for a strawberry daiquiri sort of thing. Around a 2018 I began seriously studying cocktails in earnest. Because of this deeper dedication the quality of my cocktails improved to craft mixologist level.
There were three things that helped the most, and two of them were probably not surprising. The two that are simply logical are high quality ingredients and knowledge of technique. The final element was a study in depth of cocktail history. I found I needed a base of knowledge to guide me and my ability to make amazing cocktails others will like.
The Similarity Between Cocktails and Cuisine
Creating an excellent meal is similar to creating an excellent cocktail. In contrast though cocktails are faster and much less forgiving. Rarely do cocktails have more than 6 ingredients. Also as rarely, they are not prepared over a long period of time usually less than 2 minutes. Similar to cuisine, people like what they like. If someone hates lobster, no mater how well you prepare it, its still lobster. I have found the same goes for alcohol, gin haters can taste gin, and will hate it.
Cocktails, like cuisine, are about balance. Balance in food comes from 6 profiles, which are, sweet, sour, spicy salty, bitter, and unmami. Cocktails balance on only four, those are sweet, sour, boozy and dilution. Therefore by paying attention to the balance it is far easier to make a great cocktail.
Three Aspects of a Great Cocktail
High Quality Ingredients
High quality is harder in cocktails than one might expect, the non alcoholic ingredients have shelf lives, and take effort. The alcoholic ingredients can be very expensive and, at times of a limited usefulness. Making syrups, and always having fresh fruit on hand is important. As is having the proper liquor. But if you want something like a Corpse Revivier #2, possibly one of the most balanced and perfectly made cocktails, you will need Lilet, but how often will you use it? In a vesper maybe,or a Lilet cocktail, but it’s not a common ingredient. High quality is hard in cocktails. It took me over a year to build my bar, which is currently well north of 100 different bottles. I really had to commit. Not everyone has to go to this level, but having expensive straggler bottles is a side effect.
I came to realize that professional mixologists have a huge leg up on me. They mix many more drinks than I ever will. To learn technique I had to make, and most times drink a bunch of cocktails. Also I had to buy a full kit of real bar stuff. Things like shakers, mixing glasses, bitters, ice cube trays, its a long list. But it helped.
Finally, I needed to research the history, which is important for me. I have built a little society of friends who are “cocktail historians” like me, and it really helps. I also have quite a few historical books I draw upon. Knowing what something is, and where it came from is powerful. Especially in knowing how to make it, and how to develop a wholly new cocktail.
So please join me on my journey, with whatever effort you want to put in. I will be doing, and drinking, the research, and trying new things. So we can all enjoy a cocktail together.