Have you ever wanted to order a martini with the confidence of James Bond? It might be difficult if you don’t have a grasp of basic terminology. The ways in which you can customize a martini are virtually endless. However, knowing the foundation of a good martini – and the most common ways that people enjoy them – can make you a better host at your next get together. Here is what you need to know about mixing the perfect martini.
Start With the Base
There are two main types of martinis – vodka and gin. Historically, the original martini was created from gin and named a Martinez. During the San Francisco gold rush, a miner came into a bar and asked for a cocktail in exchange for a gold nugget. An enterprising bartender mixed a combination of dry gin, a dash of bitters, maraschino (cherry liquor), and sweet vermouth. He named it for the city in which the miners found gold, and a cocktail was born.
The idea of a vodka martini would not come around until an author named Ian Fleming would have a certain British special agent order one – half gin, half vodka, and Lillete – inspired by his love interest, Vesper. Today, this concoction is still called a Vesper Martini.
Shaken Versus Stirred
Shaken or stirred – is there a difference? A true bartender might tell you that stirring is the only way to have a true martini. Shaking the martini will make the vermouth less oily, and ice fragments in the glass will naturally dilute the drink. In other words, James Bond was asking for a weaker martini.
Wet Versus Dry
Whether a martini is “wet” or “dry” depends on the amount of vermouth you use. The more vermouth in the recipe, the “wetter” the cocktail will be. A dry martini, by contrast, has little vermouth and more vodka or gin.
Straight Up or On The Rocks
This one is pretty simple: when a drink is “on the rocks,” it’s served in a glass with ice. When it’s straight up, it is shaken or stirred with ice to bring it to temperature, then poured in a glass, leaving the ice behind.
Common Martini Variations
Today, the customization options for martinis are seemingly endless. Try one of these variations to impress your guests:
- A naked martini. In this variation, there is no vermouth or dilution with ice. It is simply a thoroughly chilled, high quality gin or vodka, garnished with a twist (generally of lemon peel).
- A Gibson martin. This dry martini calls for a garnish of pickled or pearl onion.
- A dirty martini. You make a martini “dirty” when you add a splash of olive juice to the mix, complete with an olive garnish. To really wow you guests, consider offering olives stuffed with garlic or cheese.
Though martinis are historically made with gin and sweet vermouth, today there are several different ways to make them. No matter how you choose to mix, make sure you chill the glass and the liquor thoroughly before serving. Stop by Payless Liquors to find your perfect martini combination today!