The Fiery Ginger Martini

   
Serving a cocktail in a martini glass and adding a -tini suffix to the end of its name does not make it a martini.

   
A real martini should contain a small amount of vermouth and a large amount of gin or vodka. If you start messing around with this too much you no longer have the genuine article.

   
Acceptable variations include the dirty martini, served with olive brine, or the Gibson martini, served with pickled onion instead of lemon or olive. These are very simple alterations to the classic. 

 

The above Rosemary Martini uses no syrups or fruit juice. It is the same alcoholic strength as a classic martini but with a sublime taste and aroma of a rosemary herbaceous border. It’s a little bit more fancy than a classic but I still consider it essentially a martini.

  

I sometimes blog about certain cocktails if they have become accepted into popular martini culture as having a -tini suffix (the Appletini perhaps, the above Espresso Martini or the Breakfast Martini for example).

   
Otherwise though, I like variations to the classic martini which involve only the tiniest, most subtle alterations. Above, the humble caperberry can turn a classic martini into a full blown filthy martini.

  
With this simplistic philosophy in mind, I wanted to make a martini very close to a classic, but which incorporated the sharp and fresh essence of ginger. I subsequently tried scouring the Internet for existent recipes.

  

Indeed, a ginger martini recipe already exists (it’s referred to as the ‘zen-tini’) but I was disappointed to find that it involved quite a lot of preparation, it was far to complicated, and the finished product, using syrup, wasn’t nearly as strong as a classic martini.

  

Such fuss is hardly my idea of ‘zen’.

  

So I had a think, and decided to put together my own recipe.

After much thought, I came up with something very simple, even comparable to a dirty martini.

The crucial difference is that instead of olive brine it’s made with the juice of freshly grated ginger.

  
Grate a thumb-sized piece of ginger then squeeze the pulp to release the liquid.

   
Take a teaspoon of the juice and pour it into a chilled martini glass.
Add vermouth to taste then top up with chilled gin/vodka and stir.

  
Garnish with a slice of ginger with a small wedge cut out so that it slips over the glass.

Serve.

  
The drink is as strong as a normal martini, but with an added fiery kick of spice and warmth. It’s very good in winter.

  
You can also garnish the drink with a slice of Japanese pickled ginger, which looks very delicate and is a little easier on the palate than a raw ginger slice. If you like the taste you might like my Japanese pickled ginger martini.

  
I’m trying to think up a name for the raw ginger martini. The hot and fiery martini comes to mind.

Perhaps I could name it in honour of Jamaica, the residence of martini fan Ian Fleming and a great producer of fiery ginger goodness. The MontegoBayTini perhaps?

  
I wanted to name it after the distinctive and deadly Jamaican Bond girl Grace Jones but sadly a cocktail has already been named in her honour (one of the most expensive in the world no less…).

  
Someone also suggested that the raw ginger garnish looked a little bit like…

  
…one of Russell Tovey’s ears so I could also name it after him. 

More predictably though, it could also be named after all manner of famous gingers: the Prince Harry martini perhaps, or the Julianne Mooretini.

All suggestions in the comments below will be gratefully received.

Green Tea-infused Gin

Here is a quick guide on how to infuse gin (or vodka for that matter) with green tea for you to use in a martini or an unusual gin and tonic.

Simple, perfect, temperature-dependent, conducive towards mindful introspection… Am I talking about green tea or martinis here?
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I’ve previously made one or two gins infused with tea, such as Earl Grey but I wanted to try it with green tea, something I drink regularly.

While powdered matcha green tea is exquisite for making a cup of tea, I wanted to use something that wasn’t powdered to infuse the gin so that it didn’t leave a lot of sediment, so I picked a high quality sencha green tea, which involves dried green tea leaves that haven’t been ground into a fine powder.

Given that better quality green tea tends to impart it’s flavour very readily the infusion process was simple.

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For every 100ml of gin you want to infuse, use one tablespoon of green tea for a really strong flavour.

Add the tea to a jar, top up with gin, seal it and give it a really good shake – and I mean it: be really rough! In a traditional Japanese tea ceremony the host will use a whisk to stir up the tea and infuse it. You need to partially replicate this process with the jar.

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Once your arm starts to hurt from the shaking, leave the jar to infuse for 10 minutes, giving it a rigorous shake once or twice more. However, don’t leave it too long or it will become bitter.

Strain the liquid and either discard the leaves or use them to make a gin-flavoured cup of tea (although I tried this and it tasted pretty nasty so feel free to leave this stage out). Put the strained green gin into a container and store it in the freezer.

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When it’s time to serve you can make an earthy/grassy green tea gin and tonic. Alternatively serve it as a martini. You can either follow the classic martini recipe and replace the gin with your green tea infusion, or you can do as I do and replace half of the normal gin with your green tea infusion to keep it subtle.

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However, I would like to make a confession: I am not completely satisfied with this whole concept. While the thought of combining green tea and martini works very well in theory, the traditionalist in me simply prefers to have a good cup of hot green tea, followed by a clean, cold classic martini later in the day.

Perhaps we shouldn’t try to improve two separate things which are already simple and perfect in their own right. Or maybe I’m just a traditionalist. You decide.