How do you make your perfect martini? Do you like it with gin or vodka? Do you like it dirty, wet or dry?
The original martini, which dates back to the 1880’s, was a combination of gin and vermouth. By the 1950’s, vodka was introduced to the martini and rose to fame with James Bond. By the 1990’s, many variations of martinis were made, using a martini glass and adding fruit juices and other modifiers. This was the time that Lemon Drops, Appletinis and the Cosmo became popular.
But, let’s got back to the basic martini. A martini is made with 3 ounces of spirits. Pick your gin or vodka and your vermouth (fortified wine) of choice and do what ever ratio combination you want (2:1, 3:0, 1.5:1.5). At a recent event at Big Bar with Absolut Elyx, we got to play with different combinations to come up with our own preferences.
Absolut Elyx is a premium vodka made from winter wheat from a single estate that dates back to the 1400’s. Everything is grown and distilled on property and the vodka is copper distilled, removing trace compounds. The result is a smooth, silky vodka.
To make our perfect martinis, we could select from:
- Noilly Prat Vermouth – a dry, straw-coloured French vermouth
- Lillet Blanc – a wine aperitif made from 80% semillon, 15% sauvignon blanc, 5% muscadelle, it has aromas of candied oranges and honey
- Cocchi Americano – a wine aperitivo of fortified moscato d’Asti with bitter, quinine-rich cinchona bark, citrus peel and other botanicals
- Amaro Montenegro – a traditional Italian amaro made using over 40 herbs, including vanilla and orange peels
- Dirty Sue – premium olive juice
We played with different combinations using the aforementioned ingredients. As I prefer my martinis wet (meaning more vermouth) and liked combinations that are 50/50 (1/2 vodka and 1/2 vermouth), these were my two favorites:
Bartender Flo at Big Bar made the first one: 1.5oz Absolut Elyx, 3/4oz Amaro Montenegro, 3/4oz Cocchi Americano. Instead of using 1.5oz of one vermouth, Flo spilt the portion between two brands. The result was a smooth, rich martini with notes of vanilla and citrus fruit and a creamy mouthfeel.
I made the second one: 1.5oz Absolut Elyx, 3/4oz Noilly Prat, 3/4oz Dirty Sue. The result was light and smooth with savory notes.
If you don’t know how you like your martinis, start playing! It’s alot of fun to try different combinations!