The Perfect Martini

How do you make a Perfect Martini? Everyone has different tastes and preferences. Many people will have a different idea of their own perfect martini. Some people might like it with vodka. Others might like a Gibson.

However, The Perfect Martini TM is an actual, specific recipe.

What is The Perfect Martini?

Quite simply, a Perfect Martini is made with two parts gin or vodka, with one part sweet vermouth and one part dry vermouth.

This recipe was referred to in Harry Craddock’s 1930 cocktail book as a Medium Martini, presumably because of the equal measure of gin and vermouth, and tempered equality between sweet and dry vermouth.

It has sometimes been referred to as a Somerset Martini, which is lovely, but the connections to the county of Somerset are hazy. It has also been referred to as the Queen Martini, perhaps evoking elegance, fair balance and a measure of sweetness.

How to make a Perfect Martini

Ingredients

  • Gin or vodka depending on your preference (around 50ml / just under 2 US fl oz per drink you intend to serve).
  • Sweet vermouth (around 25ml / 1 US fl oz per drink you intend to serve).
  • Dry vermouth (around 25ml / 1 US fl oz per martini you intend to serve).
  • Either a fresh unwaxed lemon, or olives preserved in brine.

Equipment

  • A freezer.
  • Martini glasses. If you want to do this properly, the glasses should be conical shaped with a size/volume of around 100-130ml / 3.4 – 4.4 US fl oz.
  • A peeler and a sharp knife if you are going to use lemon.
  • Toothpicks / cocktail sticks if you are going to use olive.

Instructions

  1. At least six hours before you intend to drink, put your gin/vodka plus the relevant number of glasses into the freezer.
  2. Put your vermouth into the refrigerator at the same time to make sure it cools down as well. Once a vermouth bottle has been opened it will need to stay in the refrigerator permanently or it will spoil more quickly.
  3. When it’s time to serve, take the glasses and gin/vodka out of the freezer. They should be nice and frosty.
  4. If you are serving your martini with lemon, peel some fresh zest and gently twist and squeeze it inside the glass. This should spray a fine mist of lemon oil onto the glass that will make the drink taste beautiful.
  5. Use a sharp knife to shape the lemon peel and make it neat (depending on the strip of lemon, a rhombus is usually the most efficient shape).
  6. Pour the sweet vermouth into the glass, then the dry vermouth into the glass.
  7. Top up the glass with the gin or vodka.
  8. Use the lemon peel to stir the drink, or if you are using olives, skewer one or more olives onto a toothpick or cocktail stick and use this to stir the drink.
  9. Drop the lemon peel or olives into the glass as a garnish.
  10. Serve, preferably with some nibbles.

As well as using a sweet, white vermouth, you can also use a sweet red vermouth (such as martini rosso) in the drink, giving it a darker colour than a normal martini. If you do this, I would recommend a lemon peel garnish rather than an olive garnish. You can serve olives on the side instead.

Enjoy your Perfect Martini TM !

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