I have come up with a simple rating system for martini service which can be applied around the world.
Using the following indicators I can assign a venue with a 0-15 rating on how good it’s martini service is.
15 = sublime
0 = devastatingly atrocious
Then divide by three for a very simple 0-5 scale.
I use the following six categories:
Temperature, the use of lemon, accompanying nibbles, service, setting and value for money.
If you read to the end you will also discover a very important secret about the whole martini experience.
The gin and glass is kept in the freezer: 3 points
Either the gin or the glass is kept in the freezer but not both: 2 points
Neither gin nor the glass is kept in the freezer but the server puts ice in the glass to chill it momentarily and/or uses ice in a cocktail shaker to chill the glass: 1 point
No effort is made to chill any part of the drink: 0 points (this does actually happen in some venues)
If the server squeezes lemon peel into the drink (or at least provides you with the option: 2 points
If lemon peel is served as a garnish only, with no squeeze: 1 point
If a variation such as olive brine, or a pickled onion are offered but a squeeze of lemon peel is not available as an option: 1 point
If lemon (or an alternative flavour-enhancing garnish) plays no role in the drink: 0 points
The martini is served with a variety of good quality nibbles: 3 points
The martini is served with either a variety of mediocre nibbles, or one type of good nibble: 2 points
The martini is served with a single, mediocre nibble: 1 point
The martini is not served with any nibbles but good nibbles are available at extra cost: 1 point (or a discretionary 2 points if they are especially impressive)
No nibbles are served with the martini and any paid-for options are standard: 0 points
The very best martini service (see Dukes bar for an example), attentive, good personality, engagement, passion for the martini and its enjoyment: 3 points
Good service, personality, engagement, care and attention: 2 points
Tolerable service but nothing special: 1 point
Bad service: 0 points
For a sublime setting, maybe with tasteful decor, a good view, ambience and a very good atmosphere with discerning clientele: 3 points
For a lovely setting, a rooftop bar perhaps, or a traditional tavern, somewhere with charm or an excellent crowd: 2 points
For a standard bar or pub: 1 point
Anything less: 0 points
Value for Money
If you thought the martini was good value for money: 1 point
If not: 0 points
For my first rating I will take Dukes Bar in St. James’, London.
Dukes Bar: 5/5
Value for money: 1
“A sublime, classical setting with expert martini service.”
An Unprepared Pub (anon): 1/5
Value for money: 0
“Room-temperature gin in a glass. Standard pub service and setting.”
But I think one of the most important things to be pointed out here is the following:
Your Kitchen (potentially): 5/5
Service: 3 (you might not be dressed as a bartender but you’ll still be able to give your guests a personalised service which equates to 3 points)
Setting: this will depend entirely on your home, but I would imagine most people would be at least a 2. Furthermore, the rating can be increased, not just by furnishings and views, but also, perhaps more importantly, by the company that you keep.
Value for money: your own kitchen is normally the best value for money. You don’t even need to take a taxi home.
“Chilled martini with a lemon garnish served by host/hostess, accompanied by assortment of nibbles (such as olives, nuts, etc), with good company and a nicely put together home.”
So with that in mind, perhaps the best thing for you to do would be to get your own kit and drinks and start making your own martinis at home.
The quick guide to making your own martinis at home is available here.
And you can see more detailed instructions here.