By The Martini Whisperer
(Phillip A. Jones)
As the Martini Whisperer, I’m fortunate to experience new gins every week to review, and sometimes get to offer some free advice on local prototypes in the works. That is why I recommend trying the recipe samples below with an Australian Craft Gin. They’re all made with passion, love, a commitment to quality and sometimes a touch of weird science! They are also deeply informed by place. In wine they talk about terroir informing the flavour and nature of the wine, and I think it’s the same with Gin. Whether its local water, botanicals, or being inspired by their location, the distillers have brought something of these inspirations into what your drinking.
It’s your Gin, you’re welcome to enjoy it as you see fit (responsibly naturally), but certain Gins work best in different ways. Here are some classic suggestions on how best to enjoy them.
The timeless and iconic cocktail. Here’s how to craft the perfect martini from home
• 50ml Gin – very chilled
• 10ml Dry Vermouth – chilled
• Orange Bitters
• Garnish – green olives or lemon twist
• Mixer jug, strainer and spoon
• Glasses (very chilled)
Preparation – Stirred of course.
Pour in Vermouth. Add chilled Gin, then add plenty of ice. Stir gently clockwise until the mix is very, very chilled. Prepare your garnish and place in glass and strain into your chilled Martini glass, add a couple of drops of Orange Bitters. Find a comfortable place and drink responsibly.
• More Vermouth creates a fuller flavoured + spicier cocktail, also suits a juniper forward gin.
• Gibson Martinis are made using cocktail onions for a garnish.
• Go easy on the brine if making a Dirty Martini until you get the mix right, add a teaspoon at a time to the mix, before pouring into the glass
• If using a flavoursome Gin, go easy on the Vermouth, no point competing
Try a few drops of Orange Bitters too!
Try the so called “Perfect Martini”: equal quantities of dry and sweet vermouth (5mL each in above recipe) thus the gin.
Designed as an aperitif, a good Negroni is the very definition of balance and simplicity.
It’s the classic Italian aperitivo hour cocktail. The components are simple (gin, amaro, and sweet vermouth), but the outcome is far from basic. For all of its simplicity, the Negroni is a complex drink, at once sweet, bitter, and wholly satisfying.
• 25ml Gin (we recommend a bold gin to cut through the strength of the bitter orange. London Dry styles such as Archie Rose Signature Dry Gin, Patient Wolf Melbourne Dry Gin, McHenry’s Classic London Dry Gin or House Gin by Seppeltsfield Road Distillers.
• 25ml Sweet Vermouth (we suggest Adelaide Hills Distillery Rosso Vermouth or Regal Rogue Australian Rosso Vermouth).
• 25ml Bitter Orange (we suggest Adelaide Hills Distillery Bitter Orange).
• Garnish – Orange rind without the pith
• Single Old Fashioned Glass
In a mixing glass, give all three ingredients a few quick turns over very cold ice until blended. Strain into a single old fashioned glass over large dry ice blocks and garnish with an orange twist.
Whichever ice you use, make sure it’s not dripping wet.
After your Negroni is ready to go, grab an orange peel for garnish. First, you’ll want to “express” (aka twist) the peel over the glass, to release oils into the drink. Then, place it in the Negroni standing up so that the outer side of the peel is facing you. This will create the most aromatic drinking experience.
The Classic Gin + Tonic
The British Empire prospered due to this creation that saw the malaria beating tonic water married in perfect harmony with gin to take the edge off any situation. You should move beyond the lemon slice garnish and into a world of new flavours with the introduction of new touches like rosemary, blood orange slices, even a slice of green or red capsicum! Remember to choose a premium tonic water, like the Aussie Capi or the English Fever Tree to ensure your G+T is top shelf experience. Long glass or short, really doesn’t matter, though I think the former is more elegant.
Few people drink more Gin than the Spanish, and they’ve perfected a refreshing way of drinking it by inventing the Copa de Balon. A large, rounded wine glass of sorts, that designed just for a G+T. One advantage of the stemmed glass is that the ice doesn’t melt as quick and dilute the drink. Another touch is lots of garnishes! Not a sliver of tired lemon here, they add all sorts of things that compliments the botanical make up of the gin, strawberries, cracked pepper, juniper berries, dried slices of blood orange, fresh mint. They look and smell terrific, which is all part of the fun.
Some gins are that complex or richer on the palette that they can be treated like a good Single Malt. In the European tradition they are drunk neat, or on ice. Remember, you’re not drinking alone if your sipping on a quality spirit, you’re communing with all the craft and time that went into making it.
About the Martini Whisperer
Phillip A. Jones has been writing and talking about craft spirits since 2012 via his popular website and social media. He frequently presents masterclasses on Martinis and Australian craft spirits around Australia and even presented a TEDx talk on the cultural history of the Martini. He’s a National Judge for the Australian Tourism Awards, and an Associate Member of the Australian Distillers Association and has a background in hospitality, consulting and event management.
He’s currently co-producing a new documentary series about craft distilling and cocktail culture in Australia.
Please visit his website for over 100 in-depth reviews and interviews of spirits from around the world, and contact details of every Australian Gin, Vodka, Rum and Single Malt distiller. www.martiniwhisper.com and tune into his daily inspiration on Instagram and Facebook @themartiniwhisperer