Our Guest Post for all Generations – The Martini

Our friends over at The 50 Plus Male – a blog for men of the baby boomer generation – asked us to write a guest post about cocktails and the role of the cocktail hour in social life. We chose to write about the cocktail we most identify with the baby boomers – the Martini. You can find the full post over at The 50 Plus Male. The boozy part is provided below.

martini1One of the best parts of writing about cocktails and spirits is that the audience is nearly universal. I actually come from a technology background where, with a few exceptions, there wasn’t much diversity in the crowd. But writing about spirits on Spirited Cocktails, I’ve met so many people from so many different backgrounds and walks of life, and it truly enriches my experience.

All of that being said, there are a few mainstay groups of the cocktail world, and one of them includes men of the baby-boomer generation. When I meet these guys at various bars and events around New York City, they’re generally the type that appreciate the classic cocktails – Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, Gimlets and so on. And of all the cocktails that the 50 plus male seem to appreciate, none comes up more frequently than the Martini.

There’s a folk lore surrounding martini. It’s probably something we should blame on James Bond, but it seems that everyone has their own recipe for the perfect martini. To be clear, though, in my mind, a martini is not any cocktail served in a martini glass (Appletinis are most certainly not martinis). Again, in my mind, a martini is a cocktail made with gin, not vodka. Many of you may prefer vodka, and that is certainly your choice, but if you’ve never prepared a classic gin martini with a quality gin, I strongly urge you to give it a try.

So for those of you who may not be used to preparing your own martini, I wanted to share two variations that might help you get started.

The first is the classic dry martini. This recipe dates back to around 1895, and is my preferred method when preparing martinis for my guests. The recipe is as follows:

1.5oz gin (I prefer a London Dry gin, such as Beefeater 24)
1.5oz French dry vermouth
1-2 dashes orange bitters

Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with fresh ice, stir well to chill, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a peel of orange or lemon.

Those that prefer the extra dry variety may prefer this more modern recipe:

3 oz gin
1/8oz French dry vermouth

To make this extra dry, add ice and the vermouth to your mixing glass. Swirl to coat the ice with vermouth, and strain off the excess. Add your gin, stir well to chill, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. The traditional garnish for this variation is a pitted Spanish olive.

A Few Notes

  • Yes, I said stirred. The general rule of thumb is that any cocktail made with only spirits (no citrus juice, sugar, etc.) should be stirred. A shaken martini is a cloudy martini, and probably a bit too watered down as well.
  • The orange bitters in the classic recipe may be unfamiliar to you, but trust me – it’s a worthy addition. A dash or two of bitters in any cocktail can go a long way towards providing the depth and character that makes a good cocktail great. If you can’t find orange bitters in your local grocery or liquor store, you can order them online from my friend Greg at Cocktail Kingdom.
  • As with any cocktail (just as in cooking), the quality of ingredients matters. Use a cheap gin, and you’ll get what you paid for. Gin has seen a wonderful resurgence in the past decade, and there are some wonderful, high quality gins for you to chose from. For a martini, a classic London Dry like Beefeater or Tanqueray probably works best. But some other brands worth trying for your home bar include Plymouth, Hendricks, and my favorite hometown gin, Blue Coat (distilled in Philadelphia!)


Tags: dry vermouth, gin, martini, orange bitters

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