My love for a good martini began at Dan Tana’s, the famous, old-school Italian restaurant on Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood, CA. They’re probably more famous for their bartending staff than for the classic, red sauce food itself.
I got into martinis just before quarantine. The spirit-forward beverage quickly became my go-to at home cocktail. When the pandemic ended, I went back to ordering them at a bar – and I didn’t know what I was doing. So I’m here to break down all the martini basics for you. What’s my preference? My perfect dirty martini recipe is made using gin, vermouth and plenty of olive juice is shaken until it’s ice cold (ideally with small shards of ice in it). Pour it into a chilled cocktail glass ahead of time for an extra cold martini.
Even if you’ve never ordered a martini before, here’s a quick guide so you can act like you know what you’re talking about next time you manage to grab the bartenders attention:
A martini made with the addition of olive juice to give it briny flavors. Serve garnished with olives for added brine (and a little snack).
A martini garnished with a lemon peel twisted and added to the glass.
Make a Gibson by stirring together gin with dry vermouth garnished with a small pickled cocktail onion. They are made by pickling pearl onions, which are naturally sweet, in a brine and then added to the cocktail for flavor.
This means the martini has little to no vermouth, making gin or vodka the only spirit.
This means the ratio of gin (or vodka) is equal to the vermouth added.
A martini made with a rinse means the glass is first chilled and swirled with about a tablespoon of dry vermouth. Next, the vermouth is discarded and then chilled gin is added to the glass. It scents the martini without a strong flavor of vermouth.
We all know James Bond prefers his martinis shaken – but what difference does that make? Shaking the ingredients in a cocktail shaker aerates and mixes the liquor, thoroughly chilling it and creating a frothier drink before straining into a glass. This method also dilutes the liquor more than stirring it. In addition, stirring the martini in a beaker creates a much more smooth, silky cocktail.
Martini glasses are their own section of glassware with dramatic sloped sides. My favorite cocktail glasses are Waterford crystal glasses or this less expensive crystal version. The Italian version of martini glasses are more similar to small espresso cups on a delicate glass stem while a coupe glass is much wider and more shallow.
If you enjoyed this classic cocktail, give these a try:
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What a great post! Quick question. How much olive juice? 1/2 an ounce? Thanks!
Yes that should say 1/2 ounce!! Thank you for that catch! Hope you enjoy! x