Monday, August 3, 2009

The Perfect Martini?

First and foremost – a Martini is made with Gin, NOT Vodka! As a matter of fact, if one goes to Wikipedia and pulls up the page on the Martini, the very first sentence is “The Martini is a cocktail made with Gin and Vermouth”. Yes, the “Vodka Martini” has had a surge in popularity in the past decade or so…but make no mistake – a Martini is made with Gin, a “Vodka Martini” is made with Vodka.

Rant over… is how I make the perfect Martini (for me). First, a little background. My Dad was a Gin drinker (he has since switched to Vodka), and for years he would have Gin when he came home from work. This got me wondering about Gin, but when I tried it in my teens, I found it quite repulsive. Then, in my mid-twenties, I found myself in a Martini bar in San Antonio, and figured…what the heck, let’s see what all the fuss is about..I ordered up a Tanqueray Martini. I have not looked back.

Over the past 20 years, I have tried just about every Gin on the market, and stylistically I have found that I prefer a clean, less aromatic gin for my Martini. Of course, this is how I like ‘em…many people love an abundance of Juniper (or other infused flavors)….I do not.

Another interesting point is that over the years I have eliminated Vermouth from the elixir….opting for strictly Gin. I find that the Vermouth takes away some of the crispness that is so alluring for me.

Anyway…here is what I do…

• Put a Martini glass in the freezer (it should be there at least ten minutes). Get big ones….why make two?

• Take your shaker and fill halfway with ice (more if you are making two).

• Pour in the Gin, seal up the shaker and give it a good shake or three

• Place the shaker on the counter and wait for 5-8 minutes. This is subjective....If I am in the mood for it stronger, I will pour it out earlier…weaker…later.

• Take out the glass and insert garnish of choice. More options here…me, I prefer olives stuffed with jalapeno. I always use olives of some kind…but NEVER use olives stuffed with any kind of cheese – it ruins the taste of the gin.

• Pour your Martini…..admire the frosty glass for a moment and then take that first magnificent sip!

Depending on my mood, I will add some of the olive brine into the glass making it a “dirty” martini (as I have in the picture above).

One last note…if you do like Vermouth, use as little as possible. I used to pour some into the glass and then, empty it out, so just a film was left.
Most importantly – enjoy!

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