Let’s talk about the martini for a moment now, shall we?
Yes, I’m talking about the martini, otherwise referred to by some of my friends as Christmas in a cocktail glass. The classic definition of a martini is a cocktail that I will order at a bar time and time again. A lot of trial and error has resulted in my finding an ideal martini formula for me, although I’m sure many out there can find reason to argue my ratios –
Gin Martini (SJ’s personal preference)
- 2 parts Gin
- 1 part Dry Vermouth
- Dash Angostura Bitters
But, alas, over time and with an influx of new spirits entering the marketplace, the definition of what makes a martini a “martini” has changed. The term has been attached to nearly any combination of cocktails served up in chilled stemware. While judging by the rainbow-colored appearance of some beverages it isn’t nearly an accurate definition, I’m more than OK with using the term “martini” en masse.
Rather than scoffing those for ordering the berry concoction on their local watering hole’s cocktail menu, I would prefer to use the term “martini” as a way to segway my friends into trying those cocktails found only in those out-of-print cocktil guides us cocktail enthusiasts earnestly covet and study.
I took this same approach on a casual night out recently with a girlfriend of mine; she was looking to learn more about dark spirits and turned to me – and our bartender – as her guide (this particular joint caters to Bourbons). We started our with a cocktail off their beverage menu, imparting such sweeteners like honey, before stepping away from this category and ordering a Manhattan for our next round. She felt she was able to learn so much more about the spirit from this approach, rather than being dissuaded from starting with such a powerful beverage as a Manhattan.
The thought to end on in this somehow long-winded blog post is that it’s OK for a martini to be diagnosed with multiple-personality disorder. Here’s a suggested recipe I’ll use from the Hiram Walker portfolio that uses gin – not vodka – as the foundation for its martini recipe and then another option to make your way back to that Gin Martini I mentioned at the beginning. A small dosing of fruit flavor complements the profile of the gin and would serve as a great transitional cocktail back to a traditional martini recipe.
Pom Gin Martini
- 1 part Beefeater Gin
- 1 part Hiram Walker Pomegranate Schnapps
- ½ part fresh Lime Juice
Shake over ice and strain into martini glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Perhaps next is to try a Gimlet:
- 1 3/4 part Gin
- 3/4 part Rose’s Lime Juice
Serve in a cocktail glass with a squeeze of lime.
And then try that Gin Martini again I mentioned up top.
I hope you enjoy this National Martini Day, whatever your martini may be.