Pleasure to meet you, dear readers! I’m Bob, one of Taylor’s occasional shooters in her extensive photo crew. However, in addition to being Harrison’s less bearded blog counterpart, I’m also a retail tobacconist in a local cigar shop and cocktail aficionado, and lover of the good life. Today I’m going to take on one of the most iconic cocktails of all time—the Martini.
Now the Martini has always been the subject of fervent debate and it seems as though every bartender adds his or her own unique touch that makes theirs the best. Be that as it may, I’m going to share with you some of the boozy Martini philosophy that I’ve picked up from bartenders, distillery owners, and enthusiasts alike.
While the vodka Martini has risen in popularity as of late, there is a traditional way to make a Martini which is with gin. While Martin Miller’s, Hendricks, and Boodles are all personal favorites with offensive price tags, my go-to gin is Tanqueray, London’s iconic, green-bottled standard. The newer Tanqueray No. 10 is a bit more forward with the citrus, adding notes of grapefruit, orange zest, and fresh lime, but it’s also considerably more expensive. The original Tanqueray is incredibly smooth with licorice and lime flavors on the palate and a very balanced spice tingle on the finish. Very elegant, very clean.
Next up–lastly actually– is dry vermouth. Again, the personal preference lies in Martini & Rossi Extra Dry but everyone has his or her own brand. What makes a Martini wet or dry is the ratio of gin to vermouth. A Wet Martini will contain a bit more of your dry vermouth while a Dry Martini will have less. I’ve found the sweet spot to be around 5:1 for Tanqueray. With a more aromatic gin, I recommend keeping on the drier side of things so as to not mess with the flavor profile of the gin. Try a few wet and dry to find out what you prefer.
Finally (!!!), we’ve arrived at the preparation. Grab a chilled cocktail glass (I keep clean glasses in the freezer), your show measure or jigger, a pint glass, a strainer, and your bar spoon. Fill your pint glass to the top with ice cubes and add the vermouth. Keeping with the 5:1 ratio I usually use a half-ounce of vermouth to two and a half ounces of gin, which makes for a nice volume without overfilling the glass. Add your gin and, while holding the pint glass, give it a whirl. What you want to feel for is the chill through the glass so as to not over-stir, which will burn the ice and dilute the drink. It’s also important to note that you always want to stir a martini rather than shaking it; again, this is done to avoid melting the ice.
Grab your strainer and strain into the chilled cocktail glass. I like to garnish with a twist of lemon peel, however you want to make sure that you avoid cutting off any pith (the white flesh just under the surface of the peel) with your lemon peel as it’s very bitter. If you want to tone down the citrus flavors a bit and bring in a savory note, throw an olive or two on a cocktail pick and drop them in. If you add a cocktail onion, it’s now a Gibson rather than a Martini but as long as you enjoy it, that’s all that matters.
I encourage everyone to find a well-stocked and local liquor store with a knowledgeable staff to help you make that perfect selection. If you’ve got a tip to share or a brand to recommend, let us all know by dropping it in the comments below. I’m hoping to have the opportunity to lay some more spirits knowledge on y’all in the near future, pending approval from the boss. Until then, cheers!
Written and Photographed for the LCC by Bob Schaeffer, two19 creative