CRAFTING THE PERFECT MARTINI AT HOME
The simplest and most elegant of cocktails, but so many things can go wrong, but here’s my take on getting it right. Who’ s making the drink is a deal breaker: their skills, mood, haste, attitude, all add up to affect the mix. Always be sure why you’re drinking, your intention can really shape the experience….know thyself drinker and then let it work its magic.
If you do one thing by the book it is this: chill your glasses and mixer in the fridge an hour before cocktail hour, and place the gin in the freezer for a bit. That one thing will help ensure your Martini sing. In a bar they should be either using a chilled glass from the fridge or filling it with ice as they mix your cocktail.
Why? Because you want that crisp austerity to sip on as long as possible. Warm gin is an acquired taste.
When it comes to Dry Vermouth, try local vermouths by Regal Rogue and Adelaide Hills Distillery. Imports include French Dolin or Noilly Prat. The Martini is best suited to a classic London dry gin style rather than a flavoursome contemporary craft gin gilded with Aussie botanicals with as they tend to clash or one dominate the other. Examples are McHenry Classic Dry, Melbourne Gin Company Dry Gin, Patient Wolf Melbourne Dry, Archie Rose Signature Gin, Never Never Triple Juniper and many more.
A Martini’s evolution over the decades has seen the ration of vermouth to gin change from basically 50/50 to the uber Dry Martini we see hanging about bars at the moment.
The key thing is, when drinking out, it’s the only cocktail made in collaboration with the bar staff: they’ll ask how you like it, what gin, what ratio, what garnish. At home, it’s just how you like it too.
When in doubt use less Vermouth, and be careful not to dilute the cocktail with melting ice but letting it sit too long in the mixer. For my part, the more flavoursome the gin, the less Vermouth I use as there is no point competing in flavours. Remember to keep your vermouth in the fridge to ensure it doesn’t go off too quickly.
The garnish is an essential punctuation mark in the cocktail. Pimento stuffed olives are a no-no unless you’re being ironically retro. You want nice plumb green Sicilian types. Always use an odd number: 1 or 3 in the glass only. You just do.
Watch out too for lemon twists that can dominate a drink. There is a trend is some bars to present your cocktail with a generous slab of rind. This can look great and smell fabulous but if left in the Martini will give you more than a Vitamin C overdose and dominate the drink.
Cocktail onions are for Gibsons; a dirty martini will have a smidge of the olive brine for a savoury version. Depending on the gin I’ve used fresh Lemon Thyme, Rosemary or Sage leaves that worked quite well.
Finally, a word about glasses. There’s nothing wrong with the classic cocktail glass, I always put mine in the fridge or freezer an hour before use. Some bars use champagne coupes or other vintage glasses, and my favourite is the elegant Nick and Nora style from the 1930s which is rounded on a stem.FIND THE PERFECT MARTINI RECIPE HERE