The martini is one of the world’s best known and most popular cocktails, having been immortalized by such drinking greats as Winston Churchill, James Bond and Frank Sinatra. However, nowadays, half the martinis made in a bar use vodka instead of gin, totally exclude vermouth, are shaken like hell rather than stirred and owe most of their flavor to olive juice. A tragedy indeed.
As vodka is a relatively neutral spirit, and olive juice tastes like, well, olive juice, this poor beverage has become a bastardized victim, a shell of its former self unable to live up to its potential.
If you want to taste what a martini is supposed to taste like, use a good gin (Plymouth always treats me right) and a solid vermouth like Noilly Prat. Since the vermouth balances out the gin and is very important to the flavor profile of the drink, I like to use three parts gin to one part vermouth.
A lesser known but classic addition to the martini is orange bitters. Add two dashes of Regan’s #6, Angostura Orange or Fee Brothers for a nice touch of orange that blends perfectly with the other ingredients.
3 parts gin
1 part dry vermouth
2 dashes orange bitters
Stir (seriously, don’t shake it. Cocktails made with all spirits are meant to be stirred) all ingredients with ice until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Skip the olives and twist a strip of lemon over the top to release its oils. Drop it in, if you’d like, and enjoy.