The Martini. Sophisticated, classic, and a perfect note on which to end the Gin Thursday series. I am a tad particular about my martinis. In fact, I've felt the urge to jump the bar and make my own when I'm out. Ice crystals floating in the glass? Minus points. Too weak? Minus even more. And don't even talk to me about so-called "martinis" that involve anything other than gin and dry vermouth.
The gin to vermouth ratio I prefer was inspired by a magazine article I read a few years back. I planned to link to the mag, but the write-up I found online yammers on to instruct the reader on how to make a martini "like a man does", and apparently the gin to vermouth proportions I favor make a "man's drink". Who knew? I don't feel like a man and neither do my martini-loving women friends.
So let's move on from that unpleasantness and examine some tips for a good martini.
Use a small cocktail glass, not the giant ones popular in recent years. Two reasons. Your martini warms up too quickly in a giant glass. Also, serving a "double" means you're halfway through Dorothy Parker's famous quote with your first drink. Pace yourself and be a kind bartender to your friends; serve singles.
Chill the cocktail glass in the freezer for at least 10 minutes. If you are reading this on Gin Thursday, just pop one in the freezer now so it will be ready for happy hour on Friday!
Shaken or stirred? Frankly, I often shake my martinis because it seems silly to haul out my tall pitcher for such a small batch. Plus, the shaker's ca-chunk, ca-chunk is a pleasing part of the ritual. But, I prefer stirring for visual appeal. Stirring doesn't result in a cloudy, aerated drink and prevents ice crystals which dilute your cocktail. Plus, you can use a really cool pitcher. I love mine from Gringo Jones, with the lily stirring rod. Obviously, you must weigh the pros and cons and make a personal judgment call here. If you choose to shake, you know your 'tini is ready when the shaker becomes uncomfortably cold to your fingers.
Select a good gin. My current favorite is Bombay Sapphire.
Experiment to identify your preferred ratio of gin to vermouth. I like a 6 to 1 ratio. The Mr. Boston Official Bartender's and Party Guide tells me this falls somewhere between Dry and Extra Dry, so I'll call it Quite Dry. (I suppose a certain magazine would call it manly.)
A Quite Dry Martini
1 1/2 ounces gin
1/4 ounce dry vermouth
Stir over ice cubes in a pitcher. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with queen-sized olives. If you want a Dirty Martini, add a drop of olive juice to the glass. My current favorite 'tini drinking music is by Bitter:Sweet.